If your kids are sharing a room – or about to be – you’ll know how tricky it is to keep their sleep on schedule! If they don’t keep each other awake chatting (or sometimes crying!) then they wake each other up throughout the night. But if you’re in desperate need of a good night’s sleep, Sleep Coach Cheryl Fingelson can solve your room sharing problems….
The mere thought of transitioning your children into a shared room scenario can be a terrifying one for some mums, and even something to completely avoid. In fact, the concept is so distressing for some I’ve even known people who went to the trouble and expense of buying a bigger house so each kid in the family could have their own room!
But despite the fears around the idea, in truth the benefits of room-sharing may just outweigh the problems!
In my practice as a Sleep Coach, I often get asked, ‘How on earth do we implement this? Where do we start? My kids are going to fight and keep each other awake all night long. It’s going to be a nightmare’. While some families don’t have a choice about whether children will share rooms, because space is an issue, others don’t make the move simply because of their worries about how it will work. These worries often prevent people even trying to have their children in the same room. But as the old saying goes, you’ll never ever know until you give it a go!
Benefits of room sharing
Although a lot of people seem to think sharing a room with a brother or sister is something to avoid, there are endless benefits to shift your thinking.
- Room sharing teaches siblings to develop patience and understanding, while reinforcing how to share, negotiate, and compromise with another.
- Room sharing can be a major bonding experience, as kids share giggles, whispers and secrets after dark
- Room sharing can help children with feeling comfort and secure because they’re sleeping in the same room with a brother or sister
Yes, kids living in such close proximity may mean encountering occasional problems, but it also means children learn to fix those problems by compromising and working out a solution so that everyone is happy. Children learn to help each other and not be selfish. It doesn’t take long for them to discover that in a shared room, the world doesn’t only revolve around one person and that in itself, is a valuable life lesson.
In the long run, the bond siblings develop in room-sharing teaches kids how to be friends with each other and not just siblings. It gives them time to be themselves without parents around, and the space to talk about whatever they want. Their shared bedroom space is like their own world, their own kingdom that they rule over together. One can even look to later on in life when your kids become adults and they’ll probably have to share a dorm room, office space, or a tiny first apartment with another person. Guess what? They’ll already have experience learning how to make it work.
Solutions for common room sharing problems
However, some situations can prove trickier. Perhaps, if you have a toddler and a baby that share a room, and the baby still wakes at night, you may consider using white noise to muffle the other child’s snoring or mumbling throughout the night as this is a great way to keep your toddler asleep.
For teenagers, if there’s an option to separate opposite sex siblings before the first one hits puberty, so that they can have the privacy they need, that’s great. If this is not an option, perhaps try to create other areas in the house where they can change in private and have personal space.
As a general rule, as long as your children are mostly getting along, there’s no need to separate them. You can never underestimate teaching your children some valuable life lessons. Whether it is to share, negotiate or empathise, there is something worthwhile in it for us all. And if they learn that respect often is earned through kindness and sacrifice and doing things for another, I can assure you that sharing may be the best thing you ever do!