When we first started toying with the idea of a house extension, it was with the idea that we would be living here a long time and our children – girl and boy siblings with a 20 month age gap – would eventually need to have their own rooms. Until that time, they would share a bedroom.
The kids have shared a bedroom ever since the smallest moved out of our room at around 8 or 9 months old.
The pair have slept (or not slept, as is often the case) in bunk beds since the small one turned a year old.
Much to our surprise at the time, it worked OK. The smallest woke up unreasonably early most days and got out of bed in search of us, and the oldest would somehow manage to sleep through it.
Even with the promise of a new bedroom we were hesitant to rock the boat; and besides, we had plans.
The spare room would become a guest room.
There was a very small glimmer of light at the end of the ‘dead social life’ tunnel at long last. We might be able to offer out our delightfully welcoming guest bedroom to willing babysitters, and go out – as a couple!
But the best laid plans and all that…
As it turns out, once there were two rooms all there and ready to use (albeit not yet decorated, still aren’t. Oops) and the time came to buy a bed for the ‘spare room’, both kids were going through developmental ‘stuff’. More often than not, one or the other would be up in the night and it was exhausting; one would wake, the other would wake, they’d cry, their sibling would cry, we’d all cry.
Fortunately with the new bedroom we had the option to separate them, and so we decided to trial putting the children in separate rooms.
We knew that although it might work, it might not, but we had to try!
The four year old would remain in the larger room, in the bunkbeds, and the two year old would move into the smaller room.
First of all we had to decide what kind of bed to get him.
For a few days, they had been sleeping on kids’ mattresses on the floor in the new bedroom while the wall in the old bedroom was having building work, but we realised that we’d have to get a nice new bed to soften the blow of moving away from his sister.
We settled on a single guest bed with a frame that could be pulled out and, with a second mattress, be used as a double bed.
This was important for several reasons; firstly he is often still up in the night. The easiest way to get him to sleep is to climb in and sharing a single just isn’t comfortable. Secondly, if we were ever to get that elusive night out, the kids could share (“It’ll be like a holiday!“) and it could be used as a guest room.
The dream isn’t quite dead, yet, even if it is now covered in Spiderman bedding.
How has putting the kids in separate bedrooms gone?
Surprisingly well actually!
Often a pain to get to sleep, requiring us to sit on the floor and wait until he was out for the count, something has changed since Christmas and now he’s happy to have his Sleepy Light on, snuggle into his Elmo and go to sleep on his own after a story and a goodnight kiss. #Smug.
It could be the fact that the bed is more open than the bottom bunk, the room is lighter, it could be the noise of his sister kept him awake for longer or maybe he’s just that bit older now. It could be his new attachment to Elmo. Or perhaps we’ve just worn him down.
Although it wouldn’t be fair to say that he sleeps well now, although we live in eternal hope, he is less likely to be woken in the night by his sister and vice versa.
More sleep is probably being had all round (by them, not by us!), which results in less frequent overtired tantrums from my oldest!
Does being in separate rooms impact their sibling relationship?
One of the oft-cited ‘pros’ of having siblings sharing a room is that they are supposed to have a better sibling bond and learn to share and accept each other in their space.
I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference in the two months that they’ve been sleeping apart. They are as tight as they ever were, they have their bedtime routine together and give each other big kisses goodnight and they can’t wait to see each other in the morning!
All in all, I would say that it’s been a success!
If you have the space, why not try it out and see if it works for you?
This is a collaborative post with Happybeds.co.uk.