Two Kids, One Room

Posted by  | Thursday, February 25, 2010  at 9:13 PM  
Thanks so much to the ladies of Prayer of Hannah for letting me tell my story! Please feel free to ask me any questions—I would be more than happy to share what little I know ~Leah Finn

When my husband Nathan and I bought our home, one of the selling points was a large bonus room over the garage. The family who had lived in our home used it as a bedroom for two of their children, and that was always our ‘eventual goal’. Two years ago, though, I was pregnant with my second child (our children are 23 months apart—Georgia is 3 and Baxter is 17 months right now), so we made the bonus room our guest room/office/general junk room. Once every six months or so, we would walk into the room, look around, and plan what we ‘really’ wanted to do with it. And it changed every time. Our eventual goal was to put our children in the room, but they were just too small, and we thought we would wait until we had two of each gender…so we kept telling ourselves.

Last fall, I started thinking about the possibility of moving my kids into the bonus room together. The timing wasn’t right, though, because Baxter, my youngest, was waking up at inconsistent times in the morning. Every time I thought “Hey, they could share a room,” he would wake up at 5:30 in the morning, and I would say “nevermind—I can’t have both up at that time.” When Baxter was 14 months old, I weaned him, and his wake up times immediately stabilized, going from very erratic to almost always waking up between 6:45 and 7:15. At the same time, I was getting very tired of their toys overriding my living room and spilling out everywhere. Since they had separate rooms, most of their toys were in the living room just for ease of access, and I was READY to get them in a central place.

As Nathan and I talked about it, we both felt that the kids were ready to be sharing a room. Since we spend 8 days visiting our families over Christmas, we planned for B and G to share a room while we traveled as kind of a ‘test run.’ We drilled into Georgia that she was sharing a room with Baxter, that it was going to be lots of fun, that Baxter might cry, but that it would be okay. And the first night we were out of town—they did great! Baxter cried, Georgia told him “It’s okay, Baxter”, and they both settled down. The second night out of town, they talked and played and squealed at each other for a while, but eventually settled down. One night, one of the kids woke up screaming, and we had to comfort both children, but it worked out. After our time out of town, and the overall good experience that it was, we decided to make the big switch at our home.

A couple of weeks after Christmas, Nathan and I spent most of the day moving furniture and getting the kids’ room set up. G and B were thrilled with sharing a room, and with the large space they have to terrorize, I mean, play in. I am amazed at how much more they are playing together now. It is possible that Baxter has just hit a developmental stage where he is able to play more with his sister, but I truly believe that it is partly because they share a room. Nathan and I prayed a lot over this decision, and we regularly pray that the children would continue to enjoy it, to learn and grow from it. The room is large enough that at some point we could put bunk beds on one side and a single bed on the other, so it can be the kids’ room for a long time! As a side note, moving the kids into their shared room has freed up two bedrooms that we now use as a REAL guest bedroom and a study, and we love that. Should the Lord bless us with more children, we will use the guest room as a nursery until we can move the child into the big kids’ room.

Here are some nitty-gritty details for those who are curious. Georgia sleeps in a big girl bed with a rail, while Baxter sleeps across the room in a crib. We are greatly blessed in that Georgia DOES NOT get out of her bed. She stays put, sometimes screaming for Mommy and Daddy while doing it, but she stays in the bed. Both kids go to bed at night at the same time. Georgia could stay up a little later, but it is easiest to put them down together. That means there are times when they are talking, playing, singing and squealing for a while after the lights are out, but that’s okay. We rarely go in and tell them to be quiet, as we prefer for them to wind down on their own and work it out themselves if possible. Baxter normally wakes up first, and starts calling out and squealing for us. That normally wakes Georgia up, but since it is around 7 a.m., we don’t mind it. They do not nap together—Baxter naps in his room, while Georgia naps in our spare bedroom. That is just the easiest for us right now, though at some point I would love for them to nap together. We have had two or three occasions where one of the kids woke up the other one in the middle of the night, but it has not happened much. Georgia was sick one night, and though she cried out for me, her little brother did not stir when I moved her out of the room into the guest room. When I have checked on Baxter in the middle of the night, Georgia often talks to me to let me know she is awake, but if I check on her and give her a kiss, she usually falls right back asleep.

I am not an expert. My kids have only been sharing a room for 6 weeks. However, I would highly recommend room sharing if it is possible in your house! My advice: bathe the transition in prayer. Talk through all aspects of the move with your husband. Think about the entire day, not just the nighttime. Once you make the decision, talk about it with your children—a lot! Give your oldest child instructions on how to be a helper, warn them that the younger child might be upset at times, and let them know what to do when certain things happen. Make it fun and special to be sharing the room. Have them play in the room together by themselves during the day so they adjust to the space. Decorate the room to suit them (we haven’t completed that process yet, but are on the way). Allow for a trial period, and be willing to change back if that is what is best for your family. Pray pray pray that the kids would love sharing a room, and that it would be a character developing time for them.

A picture of G & B's room. I have a lot of ideas for decorating, but haven't implemented them yet. Right now the important stuff is G on one side, B on the other, toys in the middle!

The cuties who live in the room


Justin & Gi said...

great ideas..I hope to one day do this as kiddos are a girl then boy and a bit older in age, but thanks for sharing!

Katie said...

Thanks for sharing! We have been praying about this transition too lately. We have 3 kids. The girls are 5 (almost 6) and 3. My husband leans towards them sharing because of their gender. My youngest, a boy, is only 15 months younger than his middle sister and they are BEST friends. They nap at the same time, bathe, read stories and go to bed at the same time, and are just generally on the same schedule. I am leaning towards them sharing. I guess my husband is thinking further down the road whereas I am thinking of their schedules right now. We are becoming foster parents and want to free up a room for that. Thanks!

Dinglefest said...

Our two have been sharing a room since August. Robbie is 10 months, and Jocelyn just turned three. It wasn't planned, as my sister-in0law moved in with us for a short period of time and we did it out of necessity without much preparation ... however, it has worked wonderfully, and when she moved out in mid-fall, we realized that we had no good reason to separate them.

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