Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Question for Parents of Multiple Children Who Share a Bedroom

How do you teach them to stop playing/fighting and go to sleep? Our kids were fine when Little Dude was in a crib--sometimes they'd make noise for up to an hour after bedtime, but they'd always fall asleep eventually. This summer he started climbing out of the crib, though, so we switched him to a toddler bed to prevent injury. Since then it's impossible to get them to go to sleep unless we put one down and then wait until he or she is asleep before putting the other down. Otherwise LD just gets out of his bed and into S-Boogie's--no matter how many times we go in there to put him back where he belongs--and they scream at each other for hours on end. Seriously, I know there are other children, even toddlers, who share bedrooms with their siblings. What is the deal with ours?


Janci said...

I don't have kids, but I know a mom who does exactly what you're talking about--waiting for one to fall asleep before putting the other down--for that very reason, and has been doing it for years, because they haven't found any other way to keep the kids from keeping each other awake and causing problems.

That's not helpful, I know, but at least you're not alone in your misery.

Scot said...

"A Question for Parents of Multiple Children Who Share a Bedroom"

That's easy, you two sleep on the couch and give one of them your bedroom.

Our boys shared a room for about a year around the 3 years mark. They did the same thing at first. I don't know how, but they just got sick of pushing that limit and after about 3 months it tapered off. We didn't have to go in there after that. Maybe it falls under the endure category?

Julie said...

Yeah, Scot is right. They eventually stop doing it as much. If it was me I would probably even just not worry about him getting into her bed. Let him fall asleep in hers if he wants and move him afterwards. It's probably mostly bad because he is still excited about being out of a bed and loving that freedom. That will eventually wear off. Plus if they are tired enough they usually fall asleep pretty quick in spite of the playing. I say just let them be and they'll work it out eventually.

markii said...

wake them up earlier and make them run on a treadmill or other rigorous labor before bedtime to tucker them out. just kidding, i have no idea, actually, but i will tell you that i slept in the same room as 3 other brothers and a sister for a while (a triple bunk next to a double bunk). sorry for the lack of an answer in my comment.

Mr. Fob said...

Janci--It's good to know there are others who share in our misery.

Scot--That gives me hope. If we hit the three month mark and they're still doing this, though, I'm sending one of them to you. Do you have a preference as to which one?

Julie--We try to do that as much as possible--we only intervene when she's screaming because he's kicking her or something. Do you think we should be even more hands-off?

Markii--The frustrating thing is that they wake up at 7am no matter what time they fall asleep. But yeah, I know kids share bedrooms all the time so I'm hoping this will work itself out sooner or later.

Cricket said...

mine did that crap too, so we did exactly what you are doing. But they wound up in separate rooms before we got any further...

Tina said...

Wish I had advice that didn't include corporal punishment...but I don't. So at 9 and 11 yrs old we still try and put ours to bed separately.

Scot said...

"Do you have a preference as to which one?"

Does one of them do housework? Our kids are in need of example in that area.

Mr. Fob said...


Tina--That is truly depressing.

Scot--Little Dude likes to drink cleaning supplies. Does that count?

Angie said...

We found 2 things that work:

1. Put one of them to sleep in our room and then transfer them to their own bed after they fall asleep

2. Sing to them until they fall asleep (for our sons this takes about 15 minutes).

So we have tried to make singing to them our families bed time ritual - which they love. But if we don't have the time or energy on a particular night then we just revert back to #1

TK said...

a: What's wrong with putting them to bed separately? It gives the older one a 'special privelege' to stay up later. If you don't want to deal with her being 'up and around' later, her 'extra time' being up could be spent quietly looking at books in either your room or your office, until LD falls asleep.

b: My personal 2nd choice is Angie's #1 - put SBoogie in your bed to fall asleep and move her after LD's asleep. Or put a small bed in your office, used only for sleeping. You could move her later - or not.

c: I agree with other comments that eventually LD will get over the 'newness' of being able to get up. But having someone in the room before he gets to that point only gives him an audience if not an accomplice, which may slow down the process.

d: If you really don't want to separate them, and want to go the "ignore it and it will eventually go away" route, maybe you could set a rule that quiet talking and bed sharing is okay, but quareling or loud noises will bring separation. The wisdom of this latter choice would probably depend on whether or not this is interfering with SBoogie's need for rest/sleep.

Mr. Fob said...

Angie--I like the idea of making singing a bedtime ritual, but I'm not quite the singer you are. To put it mildly. So we'll see. We actually have put S-Boogie down in our bed several times now when we just wanted both of them to go to sleep without hassle, and that may end up being the solution for the time being.

TK--Thanks for your input. The main problem with separate bedtimes is that for it to work we have to keep S-Boogie up an hour or two later some nights, depending on how long it takes LD to fall asleep. I do hope he grows out of this compulsive need to get in her bed and bother her--if nothing else, in a year or two we'll be able to reason with him a bit more, set rules and actually expect him to follow them.