How do I get my kids to fall asleep in the same room without losing my sanity?
It’s a question that I asked myself 7 years ago when my oldest 2 were sharing a room at 3.5 and 2.5 years old. Day by day we would conquer the issues only for new ones to crop up as they got older. And just when I thought I finally had it figured out, the boys started sharing a room (at age 5 and 2) and I started all over! Honestly, the question is fair. How do I get my kids to fall asleep in the same room without losing my sanity?
It’s by far the biggest question that I got when I wrote the post How to Get Your Kids to Stay in Bed. And I can understand why. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. I’ve even had a season where 3 of my kids were sharing a room. I get it. As a single mom, I long for quiet moments as soon as those little sweeties are tucked in and I find it very difficult to deal with their jousting, getting out of bed, or other disobedience with a smile on my face.
Fortunately those days are mere memories, but the sharing of rooms is not. The girls still share a room (age 9 and 8) plus the boys share (age 6 and 3). Most nights are without issue, but it wasn’t without a lot of effort on my part. And of course, there were so many nights that didn’t go quite so perfectly.
So, how do I get my kids to fall asleep in the same room without losing my sanity?
1. Stager bedtimes—> This is not my favorite option, but sometimes it has to happen. When I had 3 kids sharing rooms, the youngest went to bed first. He really needed the extra sleep. The girls just crept in about an hour later. It really worked well. This option works especially well if you have an older kid sharing a room with a child under 2.
2. Consistent expectations—> Our bedtime routine is the same every night. It’s quick and easy. I don’t do books and songs and stuff like that on a regular basis. (We often read together after dinner and all day long since we homeschool.) Our routine looks like this: get a drink of water, go potty, brush teeth, pray, lights out. I expect them to stay in bed quietly and there are consistent consequences if they don’t: they have to go to bed earlier the next night. Remember, my kids are between 3-9 years old so this works for me and might not work for you. You may need to find creative consequences for kids that work for you!
3. Door open—> For my boys, this was the best trick. The closed door was a license to party. As long as it was open, they had a much easier time staying in bed and falling asleep quickly. My girls were the opposite. Their door was always closed and still is. They have an harder time sleeping when there is noise in the family room.
4. Bed Tents—> I can not tell you how awesome this one thing has been for us. The kids all love being enclosed in their space. It blocks out noise and extra light. It’s a beautiful thing. The kids on the top bunks have bed tents and the bottom children have curtains.
5. Book lights—> my girls are in their rooms by 8:30pm every night, but they are allowed to use a book light to read. This is great for older children who share rooms. As long as they are reading, I allow them to stay up a bit longer and the book light keeps the others from being disturbed.
6. Books on tape or music—> My mother-in-law first suggested this to me as it worked so well for her kids. When falling asleep, I played a Patch the Pirate CD or a classical music CD. Here are several of our favorites.
Tips from moms like you:
—>When they were younger they listened to Patch the Pirate every night. Now they each have a book light and read for a while. We don’t mind some talking, but they have to stay in their beds. If we can hear them in the living room they get 1 warning the next time they are punished. They love sharing a room and probably would have a hard time sleeping in a room by themselves. ~Sherri
—>Well we’ve always had at least two or three in a room, and currently have all FOUR sharing a room (but they are older now and it’s not as big of a deal). When they were newborns (0-9 mos??), no matter what our living situation was I kept the baby separate even if it meant them sleeping in the living room. Which totally happened. But after that we had to be super rigid. Absolutely no talking or getting out of bed after lights out. It made the boundary super clear. (Hard though cause its cute to hear their giggles. We have always put them all down at the same time. After the expectation was solidified and they got older we were able to allow some soft talking/giggles for a few minutes. Now at ages 8,9,10,12 we have a “lights out” time. After that, if they have a tough time settling down the bedtime is earlier the next night. (This is all on our “best” parenting days, but many times were fall into the “losing our temper, yelling, and threatening dept.” This also works, lol.) ~Tiana
—>If they don’t go to sleep they can’t play games in the morning. Makes them fall asleep fast. ~Jennifer
—>When my were little I had them all in the room together. Three kids, 4 years apart. Everyone was on a schedule. ….but bed time was 8:30pm. No deviation from that. We had a routine. When It ended. I blew kisses and off I left them. It was very rare if we heard anything. Though there were several mornings where I would find them in the bed together. I later found out it was due to scary dreams. And if the baby whimpered….or they thought he was going to cry…they just took him out of the crib and in the bed with them to sleep. ~Virginia
—>Give it time and they will stop being entertained by the novelty of it? My boys have always shared a room. ~Ticia
—>We have three that share one room (7.5, 6, 3.5). We read story books, then turn on an audiobook for them to listen to at lights out. The audiobook cuts down on the horsing around because they are focused on the story. This is also a great way for me to get in classic children’s literature when I don’t always have a lot of time to devote to read-aloud. There are tons of children’s audiobooks available through the local library. ~Martha
—>Mine all share. None of them really like sleeping alone, so if they don’t go to sleep separating them is something that they hate. I can’t even remember the last time I had to separate two. ~Kyle
—>We haven’t had much of a problem with it. My boys are 4 and 6 and they will talk for a bit sometimes, but we are okay with that. Some of my fondest memories are talking to my sis at bedtime when we shared a room. However, if they are laughing and giggling or being rowdy, they get a warning. If they continue, then whoever we feel is instigating it the most goes to “time out” in the kitchen (we have a tiny house and limited options…lol), for a few minutes until he can calm down a bit. Usually the other calms down while he’s gone and by the time the instigator goes back to bed all is well. There are some nights, of course, when we have issues at bedtime, but for the most part it works out fine. ~Crystal
—>Mine share and I haven’t really had a problem. They know they are expected to go to bed. I usually read for a bit while they are settled in their beds. Little one falls asleep 75% of the time. If there is an issue they know they will be disciplined. ~Latoya
—>For us, it hasn’t really been a problem, because of the age difference. We put the younger kids to bed earlier. For example, my 8 year old goes to bed around 9 and her older sister is 16 and goes to bed around 11 or so. ~Joy
—>I will usually stay in the room the first few nights that a little one is out of the crib for the first time, to make sure everyone stays where they’re supposed to be. After that we don’t usually have problems. They know bedtime is serious business & if I have to come back in there because they’re being loud they’ll be in trouble! ~Stephanie
—>I have 3 girls in a room. They get 5 minutes of talk time then it’s time to sleep. We also play music. ~Kelly
—>We did all the tricks in the books, nothing helped. Our pediatrician finally recommended melatonin and after some soul searching we gave it to the boys and magic happened. It was beautiful. We used just the 1 mg. if you have done all the ideas research it. It really helped our first two when nothing, even separation, helped. ~Jennifer
—>Depending on your sleep strategy…. I have put the older kiddo to bed first & then place the little one down (I have had easy sleepers) or vice versa; wait until the baby is sleeping and then have the other child quietly go in to bed later. If the kids are both older and go to bed at the same time we usually give a 20min lights out limit. That way they have time for quiet chatting or reading. We have 5 kids, 14-2yrs 2 kids in each room, the baby is in the nursery still. ~Tori
—>My 6 and 3 year old share a bed (their choice). Our dog actually barks “telling” on them if they are talking or playing in there! They are both good sleepers though and bedtime is always 8-815. We haven’t had much trouble at all. ~Kaslynn
—>We have a 7, 4, 1 year old in the same room. They go to bed at the same time. We have a routine of baths, brush teeth, read one book per child (we separate the oldest from the 2 younger ones), bible story together in their beds, and then prayer. This routine hasn’t failed us yet! There are some nights they talk, but they usually go to sleep on their own! ~Danielle
—>Our 6 & 3 year old have been sharing a room since the little one was 18 months old. I can count on one hand the number of times there’s been an issue. Dad and I sing them several songs, then we play a lullabye CD on. They are usually out by track 3. ~Brianne
—>White noise. Seriously. It’s the best thing ever. Buy a white noise machine or just play an mp3. We have used it since the kids were babies. Helps block out small noises like snoring or moving around in beds during the night and helps them fall asleep faster too! ~Rachel
—>I lie with my 3 yo to help her fall asleep after reading. Her 8 yo sister reads with a small flashlight. ~Ellen
So, how about you? What are your best ideas for helping your kids fall asleep in the same room?
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