They should be asleep, but they're chatting instead. I hear little voices and loads of giggles and while part of me wants to rush in there and tell them to “Go to sleep already!” the other part of me just loves it too much to interrupt.
When we were expecting our second son I worried a lot about how it was going to be to have them share a room. How would it work for a baby to sleep alongside a four-year-old? Would it create sleep problems and resentment? With a two-bedroom house in an underwater market, we didn’t have any other option.
The transition wasn’t always perfect, but it also wasn’t nearly as difficult as I imagined it might be. And now three years and one fabulous bunk bed later, I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are a lot of reasons to have your kids share a room, below are my seven favorite.
1. Building Bonds. I love that my boys are so close. I remember when my eldest asked for the crib to be placed right alongside his bed. I resisted for fear his sleep would be disrupted by his often fussy baby brother, but when I finally gave in, the whole house got more sleep. From those early crib-to-bed moments to their current nightly bunk bed hangs, they are forming bonds that will last a lifetime.
2. Creating Comfort. My eldest has never been a big fan of being alone and my youngest is a very social dude. They both find comfort in sharing a room. In fact, when the littlest ends up in our bed, his brother often comes looking for him. And if big brother sleeps over at his grandparents, he is deeply missed.
Sharing a room has made them sounder, more flexible sleepers. And what mom wouldn't want that?!
3. Learning to Share. Sharing a room is about more than sleeping in the same spot. It’s also about sharing space. Out of necessity, they learn to cooperate, negotiate and include each other.
4. Sleeping Soundly. By sharing a room, in a very small house, my kids have had to learn to sleep through background noise and interruption. Sharing a room has made them sounder, more flexible sleepers. And what mom wouldn't want that?!
5. Making Better Roommates. When I went away to college after spending most of my life sharing a room with my younger sister, I was totally prepared for dorm life. I knew how to live with less privacy and more community. My hope is that my boys room sharing experience will help them be great roommates someday.
6. Saving Resources. We live in an area with very expensive real estate. Giving my children their own rooms would mean we would have to move them away from their family and friends or give up the little extras we currently enjoy. I would rather that my children see their grandparents weekly and attend summer camp than have more personal space. Plus, having a home with a small footprint is good for the environment.
7. Giving Them a Reason to Move Out Someday. When I look at my young boys I think it’s all going too fast and I want them to stay little forever. But I also know that they must grow up and I really do want them to strike out on their own someday. Eventually a shared room will cramp their style and maybe it'll be just the motivation they need to apply to college or look for a great job.
Room sharing may not be the best option for all families, but for us, it’s just right. h