Monday, March 2, 2015

How to Make a Shared Bedroom Work

When I got pregnant with Saidey the first thing that popped into my head was a scramble of mental notes of all the things we needed to do to sell our townhome. I never envisioned having children in this house, let alone two children so I was bound and determined to prepare our house to sell, put it on the market, sell it, pack it all up and move happily ever after to a new home- all before baby number 2 was born. Wishful thinking you may say but my pregnancy brain was telling me all this was going to be possible.

We set off with to-do lists and got to work. We had a few touch ups of paint to do and a little re-organizing and de-cluttering to do but the prepare aspects of our list were thankfully, minimal. We contacted the realtor group that sold us our townhome and they came over and we sat down and talked numbers. After talking numbers, we received the contract and I found myself brainstorming ideas of how we could stay in our townhome. I asked, "What if we added a third bedroom and bathroom in the basement?" I also started thinking about the actual logistics of selling a house- having to keep it show ready at all times, leaving the house in case of a showing at odd hours with a toddler, and then actually packing and unpacking and getting settled into a new place all either very pregnant or with a newborn. Raise your hand if you want to check out just by reading that. **RAISES HAND** 

After a reality check talk with my mom- and only as moms can do- she talked a little sense into me. Would it really be the end of the world to stay in our townhome? Generally we weren't outgrowing it yet- the only thing missing was an extra bedroom. BUT- as she pointed out- the baby would be sleeping in our room for a little while anyway. She also brought up that if we still had the urge to move after baby was born, that may be a better time. OK- so with my second guessing and reluctance to sign the contract burning a hole in our kitchen counter and having your mom sending a virtual slap to the head- we contacted our realtors and said, "hey thanks but no thanks!"

After we decided to NOT sell our townhome, began the process of figuring out exactly what we were going to do with baby once she got here. We knew she would stay in our room for awhile but then what? We started tossing the idea of having the girls share a bedroom. Would it work? How? I pulled up trusty Google and did a search on infant/toddler bedroom sharing and couldn't believe the amount of information that was out there. So we decided that when we were ready to move baby out of our room, Sophia and her would share a bedroom. We would put Sophia in a big girl bed and use Sophia's crib for new baby.

Two years later and I would say GENERALLY, having them share a room has gone well. It works for us. It works for them. Here are just a few tips I have if you are thinking of having your kiddos share a room...

1.) Timing- When we decided that we were all ready for Saidey to move out of our room (around 10-12 weeks)  we started the transition slow- we started her with naps in her bedroom- and by then, they were on different nap schedules so if one was taking a nap, the other was up and not in the room keeping the other awake. We then prepared Sophia by saying that Saidey was going to start sleeping in the crib next to her. We made it fun- saying what a big sister she was and how she could look after her baby sister at night. The first night was successful- they both slept well and did not wake the other up. However, this mama did not get much sleep as I was just waiting for Saidey to wake up and cry and wake up Sophia. So every little noise I sat straight up. And when she did cry, I was like a sprinter getting to their bedroom so I could snatch Saidey out of her crib and bring her into our room where I would nurse her back to sleep and take her back in her room. Eventually, I was able to relax once I realized that Sophia slept like a rock and did not wake up through the crying. In the rare instance she would wake up, I would quickly pat her back and say, "It's ok, Saidey just woke up, go back to sleep." And she would.

2.) Bedtimes- Once Saidey got into a routine for bedtime, we were able to do baths, read stories, and then I would nurse/rock Saidey while Will either read or watched some TV with Sophia. I would get Saidey to sleep and then put her in her crib, sleeping. Around 8PM, we would quietly take Sophia in and she would go to sleep. This allowed Sophia to get some alone time with us as well as make her feel like a big girl, getting to stay up a little later than Saidey. We still follow this bedtime routine now and even as Saidey has gotten older and is not sleeping when I put her in her crib, and sometimes not by the time we bring Sophia in, we have had just a handful of occurrences where they stay up and play.

3.) Naptime- As Saidey has gotten older, both girls' are on a nearly similar routine. During the weekends, the girls eat around noon and are both ready for a nap by 1. We found out early on that naps were going to be tricky and by the third naptime in a row where there was a party going on in their room, complete with flying stuffed animals, jumping on the bed and peels of laughter coming from their room- we decided to divide and conquer. We moved Sophia's naptime/quiet time to our room- and Saidey got the bedroom. This has worked SO much better especially as Sophia has started to be inconsistent with naps.

4.) Create personal space: This is a big one especially for Sophia, who right now, demands her privacy and says, "I want to be alone right now." We allow it. We let her go in their bedroom and let her shut the door and occupy Saidey with another activity. Since they share a space, it is only fair for her to be able to gain the personal space and privacy she needs/wants. She also has special toys in her bedroom that she is allowed to not share with her sister. She knows that she needs to keep them up and off the floor, otherwise, they are fair game. But if she keeps them up and put away, I help her in keeping her sister out of her toys. Even within her room, her bed area is her own safe space that she can go to and know that I will keep Saidey off of. Sometimes it is hard as Saidey is slowly becoming much more interested in big sister's toys. I try my best to distract Saidey and occupy her while encouraging sharing and playing together too.

5.) Organization- Thankfully our second bedroom is a pretty decent size but with that said, I think it's all about how you organize it.  We are able to fit a large twin size bed, crib and dresser in the room. We put another dresser in the closet and with Sophia's under the bed storage, all of their clothes and necessities fit in the room.

One of my favorite little corners in the whole house

Dresser in the room containing Saidey's PJ's, socks, and diapers/wipes

Saidey's side of the closet

Sophia's side of the closet

Happy :)

Saidey's side of the room

Sophia's side of the room

So, there are my five tips for making a shared bedroom work. We know that this is not our forever but for now, it has worked for us and our family. I will say that it's been pretty amazing to watch the bond created between the girls and I think sharing a bedroom has helped with that. Saidey has started to wait up in her crib for me to bring Sophia in until she will lie down and go to sleep. A few times recently, you could hear giggles and jumping around for about 10 minutes before they both settled down for sleep. A few times, you heard an angry mom yell up the stairs, "GO TO SLEEP GIRLS!" but secretly smiling and shaking her head. If you are thinking if a shared bedroom will work for you, maybe reading this will reassure you that it can work out. :)

And now, get Pin-spired! I love these shared bedrooms!