When my Bunch was very young, we had the luxury of separate bedrooms for each baby and this was a LIFESAVER in the early days. But once their younger brother came along, they were forced to bunk together due to a shortage of bedrooms. We've moved three times in the three years since The Caboose was born (long story) and each time, the bedroom configurations have necessitated room sharing, but the roommate configurations have actually shifted due to a variety of factors (ages, sleep schedules, child's propensity to goof off and rile his roommate, etc.).
We're now in what we hope will be our "forever" (or at least long-time) house and while we have the space for each boy to have his own room, we opted to reclaim our study/office and our Bunch is back to bunking together. My guess is in a few months, The Caboose will realize he's being cheated out of bedtime shenanigans with brothers and the eldest will be sick of his little brothers in his stuff, and we'll play musical beds once again. But 2 of the 3 will always be roommates.
Now, room sharing with bigger kids is one thing, but room sharing with babies and toddlers and all of their various special sleep needs is a whole 'nother ball of wax. I will admit that the only time we shared rooms in the early years was when we were forced to while traveling (and even then, we would literally stick a pack-and-play in the bathroom to ensure that each baby had their own separate 4 walls). But lots of moms do it and make it work. Here are a few tips we've picked up over the years for roommates of all ages.
- Always put your two best sleepers together OR the ones that are on the closest sleep schedules (dictated by nap or school schedules, usually), to minimize the accidental wake-up calls.
- If you've got babies/toddlers rooming together, get a white noise machine so one doesn't wake the other with crying. Many little ones tend to sleep like logs - once they're down. It's getting them down that's the tricky part...
- Speaking of that, stagger bedtimes and get the easiest or youngest child settled first (depending on the temperments of your kiddos). Get one out like a light, crank up the white noise, and slide the other in.
- Daytime is a little harder because it tends to be light out, which encourages goofing off. Darken as much as you can with darkening shades and stagger nap times like bedtime. If all else fails, consider letting the oldest child nap somewhere else - either in mom and dad's bed or a pack-and-play or in a baby-proofed room with a baby gate across the door. Too-few bedrooms mandates flexibility on everyone's part, including mom.
- If you've got more than two kids, be flexible on configurations. Depending on ages and genders, while your first instinct may be to put all older kids in one room or all girls in one room, that may not actually be what makes the most sense. And as kids get older and sleep habits/needs change, consider revisiting roommate arrangements - they're not set in stone forever.
- Finally, be patient. Even if you have superstar sleepers, introducing a change in any routine is going to involve patience. But keep in mind that kids have shared rooms since the beginning of time, and many of them are closer for it! They'll survive and you will, too!