Sunday, August 2, 2009

Requests From Our Readers: Week 11

This week we are talking about sleeping arrangements with children. Check out what our reader said:

"My second baby is due in about three months, and I have a bunch of questions related to having two kids.

Sleeping arrangements: The baby will most likely sleep in my bedroom with my husband and I for the first little while, but I am wondering about later on when she moves into the other bedroom with my older daughter (she'll be 2 by then). Any suggestions on a toddler and an infant sharing a room?"

This is an excellent question! So help her out:

Does your baby share a room with your toddler?
If not, what are the sleeping arrangements in your house?
Do you put your kids (that share a room) to bed at the same time or at different times?
Do your children keep each other awake or wake each other in the morning?
How do you combat common sleeping problems with children sharing a room?
How do you deal with nursing in the night if your baby is in with another child?
Give us some general tips on kids sleeping in the same room.

Look for more awesome questions about having more than one child (these will be coming in the weeks ahead). This question came from a reader named Laura Wampler who will be joining the panel. Thank you Laura for your awesome questions and for being willing to jump into the authorship of The Village.


Jared and Delia said...

I would like to know more about this. Luckily we have been able to keep both kids in separate rooms. I will put them together when the baby is about 2 and moves to a bed...I think. I would like to know how this works out though. I have just been nervous about doing it so we have kept them apart.

Megan said...

I don't have two kids, but my sister does. Because my 4 yr. old niece doesn't always take a nap and my 2 yr. old niece does, the 2 yr. old always naps in my sister's room. This leaves the room with the toys and other things unoccupied so my 4 yr. old niece still can play. Also, both girls go to bed at the same time. Generally my 2 yr. old niece is awake before my 4 yr. old niece is and my BIL gets her and puts her in bed with my sister when he is getting ready for work so she doesn't wake up my 4 yr. old niece.

Jessie said...

I have two daughters, ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. They've been sharing a room since the youngest was just over 2 months (when I couldn't take having her in the bassinet in my room anymore). I was really worried about how they'd do in there together, but things have gone surprisingly well. My younger daughter has been a great sleeper most of her life, which has been a huge help, though.

I put both girls to bed at the same time, with the same routine every night. I think putting them in there together when they were younger actually helped, because they adjust so quickly when they're young. They don't seem to wake each other up much in the night, and because I've always put them to bed while they're awake, they seem to go back to sleep just fine if they do wake up. I actually think my older daughter, who was always the worse sleeper of the two, has become a better sleeper because of the example of her sister--she wakes me up significantly less when she knows her sister is asleep in there too.

My girls also seem to wake up at the same time in the mornings, but they entertain each other, which gives me a little extra time in the mornings, too.

The worst part of having them in the same room was when my older daughter neared 3, as she started to want a nap less and less. She started keeping my younger daughter awake, or would wake her up with her playing (I would just put her in her room for "quiet time" even if she didn't want to sleep), so I had to stop putting them in their room at the same time for naps, which meant I never really got that break. Eventually, I just gave up on giving my older daughter a nap, and now she just has some quiet time either on the computer or watching a movie (not a great solution, but the one I could handle).

The only other thing I've really had to worry about is my older daughter putting toys and things in the baby's crib, and that is just something we have to discuss.

Good luck! I honestly feel like this has been the best thing for us (with only 2 bedrooms in our house). I worried a lot about it, but it has worked out so well, I couldn't have imagined it going better.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I have to agree with Jessie that having my kids share a room has gone much better than I thought it would.

If given a choice (IE - more rooms in the house than two :) I would ALWAYS have a nursery so that my baby can have his/her own room. Sometimes that doesn't work out.... Here's our story.

My son was in our room until he was 4 months old and by then I was SOOOO sick of being crowded in there and listening to him sleep and having to tiptoe around him when we wanted to get in bed.... etc. So I bit the bullet and put him in his sister's room. The first few nights were really rough - he woke up a lot (but hey, he woke up a lot in OUR room) and cried REALLY loud. I was so nervous that he would wake my little girl, but he rarely did. When she did wake up to his crying she would just look at a book by nighlight and eventually go back to sleep. Now when he cries in the night she never wakes up.

I think that children have the ability to sleep deeper than adults do. With that being said my little girl is a stellar sleeper and my son is NOT. But if both were bad sleepers I think it would be harder. I like what Jessie said about the kids helping each other sleep better too though.

To answer the other questions:
I nurse my son around 7:30 PM and he is asleep by 8:00, my daughter then comes in at 8:00. She sometimes does not go to sleep for an hour or two (just depends on the day) and she reads books, talks to her stuffed animals, and sings quiet songs. She RARELY wakes him up with her little noises (he's just used to it). When they are older I am certain I will put them in the room at the same time - I just don't now because I nurse my son and he needs to go to bed earlier than my daugther.

My children wake at VERY different times. It is a rare occasion when they wake up together. My son wakes up between 5:30 AM and 6:30 (sometimes on unlucky days it is earlier). But my daugther doesn't get up until 7:00 or 7:30. I was nervous that he would wake her in the morning, but he usually doesn't. If he does, then I just tell her to lay back down and she usually goes back to sleep. If my son wakes in the morning too early and seems sleepy, I nurse him and then put him in bed with my husband and I for an hour.

Nursing at night with my kids sharing a room was also not a problem.

As for naps - my kids both still nap in the afternoon (and my son does in the morning). They do this at the same time. I therefore have the pack 'n play constantly up in our room and that is where my son takes his afternoon nap while his sister sleeps in their room. This has worked perfectly for us.

I hope that helps!

Amanda said...

My kids have been sharing a bedroom since my second was 4 months old. My oldest was *almost* 2 at the time. I will admit, it took a few days for them to get used to each other--but they have learned to sleep with noise. And, since we plan to have more kids, this is a priceless benefit.

I don't remember how we did bedtimes at first, but I'm sure they were staggered a bit. Now, they go to bed at the same time, and generally get up at the same time. They even still nap at the same time, although sometimes I have to stay in the bedroom until the younger one falls asleep--otherwise, she'll get up and play and keep her older sister awake.

It's been a great thing to have our kids share a room. I think they are learning to share and be respectful of other people--which are great life lessons.

Heather said...

I have a 3 1/2 year old and a 2 month old. They have been in the same room since I brought my son home from the hospital and it has worked without any problem. My 2 month old usually goes to bed around 9 and my toddler goes to bed between 8 and 8:30pm. She is rarely asleep by the time I bring my son in, but it isn't a problem.

My baby wakes up to eat in the night, but my daughter sleeps right through it all. However, my son goes right back to sleep after eating, so I'm pretty lucky that way. In the morning, she usually wakes up about 45 minutes to an hour earlier than he does. But she just comes out of her room.

I have tried from the beginning to not make my 3 1/2 year old be too silent when the baby is sleeping so he can become a more sound sleeper. I don't know if it has made a difference, but he does well.

For naps, I sometimes have the baby sleep in the pack 'n' play or on my bed in my room and sometimes he is in his crib in the room with his sister. It depends on the day and whether I think she will really fall asleep or just take a rest (which entails a lot of singing to herself). If the baby is sleeping in my room, I can still go in and out to put laundry away, get things, etc. so it doesn't really bother me if he doesn't nap in his crib. Besides, I prefer for him to be able to sleep in a variety of places. It just makes traveling easier. My focus is keeping the time schedule consistent from day to day.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I just thought of one thing with older kids.

My BIL and SIL have two kids - one is a boy and 6 years old and the other is a girl and almost 4. They've always shared a room, but when they got older they started to play in their room at bedtime and woudnl't go to sleep for a long time. So this is one thing that they do - they put their kids to bed at the same time, but in separate rooms. They put their daughter on their bed to fall asleep and then as soon as she is out they move her into the bedroom with her brother. They've liked that, and it doesn't take long for their little girl to fall asleep if she isn't with her brother.

Jared and Delia said...

SOme of your guy's kids are way better at going to bed than mine. I wonder if temperament has bearing on a lot of this. If my sons were together they would keep each other up playing and laughing even if they were dog tired. They are 3 1/2 years apart but love to play with each other. My four year old does not just stay on his bed singing songs to himself either. He reads {sometimes really loudly} and plays on his bed and jumps and we come in at least a couple of times per night to reign him in. He doesn't nap and I try to wear him out so he will fall right to sleep but that only happens sometimes. I can't imagine HAVING to have my kids together. I just don't know if it would work at this point. Does anyone have tips for two rambunctious boys and putting them in the same room? I plan on rooming them together when #2 gets a little older.

Christina said...

We have 2 year old twins. Had to separate them at 6 months because they woke each other up. Many siblings sleep blissfully in the same room though.

mistybown said...

I have 3 kids in 1 room b/c that's all we have ava. upstairs & my daughter is too big a wimp to move to the basement & I don't want to put my 1 yr old down there yet.
I was worried how it would work, but so far so good.
My baby goes to sleep anywhere between 30 min & 1 1/2 hrs before the other two do (on a rare occassion they all go at the same time). My older 2 are just quiet when we take them into bed. They have bunkbeds so they aren't right next to each other. I think if they were in a full size bed & next to one another or in the same bed, I'd have a whole different story on my hands! Both the older 2 like to read a book before they go to sleep. Usually they read pretty quietly. Sometimes I have to go in & tell them to read quieter. I think they've been sharing a room for so long that they're just used to it & they can sleep through each other's noises now. It was a bit more difficult when my 2 older were both in their own toddler beds but as they've gotten older things have really mellowed out & bedtime really isn't an issue at our house.

JeriLynn said...

Two is way better than one. It's a lot more fun! :D