We lived in our 2-bedroom apartment well before we were ready to have kids. When I became pregnant with our first son in 2014, we knew that we would turn our second bedroom – which was currently our office – into the nursery. With a lot of decluttering and rearranging, we had successfully turned that work/storage space into a room fit for our baby.
When I became pregnant the second time around in 2016, we had a decision to make. Do we stay where we are? Do we look for a 3-bedroom unit in our building? Do we move to a whole new place entirely?
We mulled over the ideas and in the end decided that for many reasons it would be best to stay where we are. The rent here is very affordable (which helps us save money and live comfortably), my husband can commute to work very easily (which means less time being away from the family), and the building is situated right on a forested park (which means easy access to fun things for me and the kids). While we knew that living here probably wouldn’t work for us as the children got older, there was no reason why we couldn’t stay here for the time being and make it work.
The one thing that living here with two children under 2 years old meant was that they would eventually need to share a bedroom. When my youngest came home from the hospital, he slept in our room in a bassinet. By 5 months old he was outgrowing the bassinet and ready for a crib. We were ready to have our bedroom back to ourselves too!
So, we made the big transition. At first, the baby waking up for his night feedings disturbed my oldest – but he would simply lift his head to see what was going on and then roll over and go back to sleep. It may seem like an exaggeration, but within the first few weeks things were going smoothly. My oldest son was no longer woken up by the baby during the night, which was one of my biggest worries with the room sharing. The baby continued to have his good nights and bad nights (teething, sleep regressions, etc.) but it never bothered my oldest. Also, I think being in the same room with my oldest comforted my youngest during the night.
We did a few things to make sure it went as smoothly as possible. For starters, we only moved the baby into his brother’s room when he was only getting up once or twice at night to feed. This meant less disturbance for everyone. Also, we kept my older son in a crib longer than we probably would have if he didn’t share a room with his brother. We were worried that if my oldest were in a toddler bed, and able to get up and walk around during the night, that he may try to put something in the baby’s crib while he was sleeping. While it was a bummer to keep him in a crib until over 2.5 years old, it gave us peace of mind and kept them both sleeping safely. Once my youngest was rolling over and sitting up on his own, we felt confident to turn my older son’s bed into a toddler bed.
Today, over a year later, the boys continue to share a room and thrive in their room-sharing situation. Their bedtime routine is a shared experience and helps them both wind down when they see the other is getting ready for bed too. They giggle to each other as they lay in their beds and drift off (or until I tell them that it’s time to stop talking and sleep). In the morning they are excited to see each other awake – and if the youngest is still sleeping, my older son knows to tiptoe out of the room quietly so as not to wake him.
In the end, it has been a great set-up for the boys. Having my children share a bedroom wasn’t something I thought I would do when I envisioned having children in the future. While there is nothing wrong with kids having their own rooms (and these boys will have their own rooms once they get older), there is also nothing wrong with kids sharing a room with their siblings (and it comes with many untold benefits).
So, if you have one child and have another on the way (or are thinking about it) and wonder if you could have your kids share a room – the answer is yes! There are many unique ways to safely have your children share a room. Don’t be afraid to at least give it a try. You may be surprised with how much your children love it. Our oldest son is already looking forward to the day when we buy them bunk beds!