Your house is just big enough for you and your two children when you find out you are expecting another baby. This scenario happens every day, and parents are forced to decide on moving or making it work in the home they have.
One option is to have the two siblings share a bedroom in order to free up a bedroom for the upcoming nursery. Teaching children, especially toddlers and preschoolers, can be a daunting task. Children crave stability, and this would be a big change.
“Sissy won’t go to sleep! Now she’s out of bed!” The screams can come over a baby monitor and make parents wonder if the whole room sharing idea was so great after all! There is hope. Room sharing is an adjustment, and, as with any adjustment, may take some time.
If the siblings tend to keep each other awake until they finally give up at 11:00 at night, consider trying the following while “in training”:
- Put the youngest to bed first.
- Put the sibling in another bed, perhaps yours, just until the younger one falls asleep, before transferring the older one back to his or her own bed.
- Play an instrumental soothing CD.
- Always try to keep a low voice. After all, this is bedtime, and loud screaming will only exacerbate the problem of already wide-awake children.
- If one child will not stop talking, thus keeping the other one awake, remove the talker from the room for a time-out. The purpose is to keep the bedroom a quiet place. Repeat the process as many times as it takes. Eventually, the child will tire of this and lay quietly.
- Do not make much conversation, and do not stay in the room. Keep an eye on the situation from out in the hallway for example.
This may seem a challenge for a while, but children adapt, and soon the bedtime rules will be established and understood.
In order to help the children feel as though they still have their own identities while in their new, shared room, it is important to try to have some of the following:
- Things that are their own, perhaps a dresser, a desk, or a corner where they can keep a few of their favorite things.
- “Personalized” bedding. Let them pick out their own sheets and blankets. Even the same bedding, but in their own favorite colors, would make things a little more “their own.”
The goal is to have the siblings co-habitating blissfully , or at least close to it, by time the new bundle of joy arrives. It is best to begin this adjustment as soon as possible during the pregnancy, so that there are not so many new adjustments to be made by the children once the baby is born.
According to Lynne Reeves Griffin, RN, MEd of parenting.kaboose.com, children themselves cite upsides to room sharing, the biggest plus being “nighttime company.” She further states, “For children who worry at night or don’t like to be alone, sharing a room with a brother or sister can calm a myriad of night-time fears.”
If the children are young, toddler beds may be a great way to save space, and can be found in local stores. Try one of these:
- Babies R Us: 6655 Strip Avenue NW, North Canton, OH 44720
- Once Upon a Child: 4641 Dressler Road NW, Canton, OH 44718
Otherwise, bunk beds may be another option if both children are developmentally ready for them. Safety precautions would need to be reviewed prior to having the bunks rush delivered to your door!
The new living arrangement will have its ups and downs, but in the end will help to promote the development of understanding in relating to one another, and hopefully, provide a more positive sibling relationship.
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