Two Kids, One Room
Thank you so much for all the great advice you’ve dispensed! You are awesome. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’ll have 2 kids by the end of July, and I’m going to need to Make Some Changes. We’re moving into a bigger house with actual for real off street parking (YAHOO!!!) and it has a whole extra room. We can use this room to host the numerous guests I hope will come and watch my 2 children while I sleep, or we can have a room for each child.
My daughter will be 2.5 when her sibling is born (don’t know what we’re having). What are your thoughts on sharing rooms? It seems like it would be easier to keep the cribs, clothes, changing table, books, rocker, all in one place, but the reality is that my daughter isn’t nursing anymore, she will hopefully be potty trained by the summer, and she will definitely have a very different sleep schedule. But maybe keeping the two together will help the younger one get more of a routine? I’m just not sure how to go about it, and I really would love to keep a guest room. We have no family where we live, and I’m not sure I can lure them out for childcare/cooking/cleaning with just the promise of 2 children and a fold out bed in the living room. Heh.
I actually have never done the toddler/newborn room-sharing combo, so I don’t have any first-hand experience with that. We moved Ezra out of his crib about three months after he turned two, skipped the toddler bed completely and went right to the bottom bunk in Noah’s room. (We used a safety rail for bit, then got rid of it. He rolled out of bed once. Meh, he was fine. Kid’s got an undentable head, after all.) I still feel a little guilty about how EASY the transition was and how quickly the two of them learned to co-exist with each other, and I gotta say I am HUGE FAN of the room-sharing concept in general.
So are the boys, actually. So don’t feel guilty about “choosing” the arrangement, even if it’s not technically 100% necessary. Little ones like companionship, for the most part. (And I’m assuming your daughter isn’t an impossibly light sleeper or prone to night terrors or some other mitigating circumstance.) Despite some days being a non-stop barrage of fighting/roughhousing/not sharing/omg he touched me sibling nonsense, Noah and Ezra are SO GOOD together in their room. They retreat to their beds with books and fall asleep just fine — even if the other one is awake and singing or kicking or making some other kind of insomniatic racket. Every once in awhile I find them snuggled up together like puppies in the bottom bunk. Noah claims that having Ezra with him “keeps the bad dreams away.” (OMG.)
We are in the early stages of “it might be time for a bigger house” discussions, and yet they are both ADAMANT that they want to continue sharing a room, even when offered the idea of having their “own.” I know this will change some day, most likely, but for right now, I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, I worry more about Ike feeling left out when he gets older!
So part of me is like, “You want a guest room? Go for it! Room sharing rocks.” I understand the worries, though, about adding a newborn to a toddler’s sphere — will she resent the intrusion on her “space,” will the baby keep her up, different nap schedules, etc. I know plenty of families have made that exact set-up work, either by choice or necessity, however.
A new baby might not even spend that much time in his/her room and crib at first, giving your daughter time to adjust to her new roommate gradually. You might find you much prefer keeping the baby in your room at night, in a bassinet or Pack-n-Play or co-sleeper, and if your daughter needs to nap in peace you can let the baby nap elsewhere. (Ike has only JUST STARTED to nap in his actual crib in the last three weeks or so, as opposed to his carseat, swing, stroller, etc. SEVEN MONTHS LATER.)
I can tell you that MY older two are both excellent at tuning the baby (and each other) out, so the different sleep schedules and night wakings have never been something I’ve stressed over. Ike is in a different room than Noah and Ezra, but he’s RIGHT THERE (the rooms are quite small — combined they’re about the size of Noah’s original nursery in our city condo) and the walls aren’t soundproof in the slightest. And both of them have slept through just about every midnight screaming fit to date.
One thing that does (I think) make a big difference: Keep the toys elsewhere, for the most part. Our boys’ room has a large, bolted-to-the-wall shelf for their books and one hanging storage-thing for some stuffed animals. And that’s it. When you’re in your room, you can choose something to read or to cuddle. All their other (many, multiple, oh God make it stop) toys are kept elsewhere in the house. (Basement playroom, back corner wall of the living room, etc.) Not only does this help with bedtime temptation to get out of bed and keep playing, it means 1) the sharing turf battles aren’t going to continue to rage when they are alone together in there, at night or in the morning, and 2) neither of them is ever denied access to their things because the other one is napping/sick/in timeout, etc.
At this point, now that we’ve belatedly gotten Ike’s sleep craziness under control (more on that another time, suffice to say thank you thank you thank you F-E-R-B-E-R) (YEAH I SAID IT) (COME AT ME BRO), the boys’ schedules are already coming together quite nicely. Ike takes an extra morning nap while the other two are at school. Ezra takes an afternoon nap about every other day, but Ike’s second nap usually doesn’t happen until Ezra’s awake again. Then all three of them are going to bed at 8:30. It’s lovely! Part of me is dreaming of a house with a big giant attic-level room where I could put all of them, together…especially if it meant I could also have a guest room instead of tripping over suitcases in the living room.
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