A couple of months ago we moved our two kids into the same room together. Jude is 4, Wren is 2, and a new baby is on the way next month. Not only did they each acquire a roommate, but Wren also got bumped from the crib and into a Big Girl Bed.
I gave it a lot of thought before making the change, and here are some tips and tricks that we found to be most helpful.
1. Don’t make it a choice.
We made the decision to do this and so we didn’t ask them if they wanted to share a room. Instead, we told them that in a few days they were going to get a new room together. This included a special new bunkbed.
They got to choose what colors they wanted for their new quilts, and also helped pick out fabric for a flag bunting that we made for the wall. It gave them some ownership of the project.
I discovered it was a bad idea telling Wren that we needed the new room for the baby (or her paci, or her diapers!). These things were “hers” and she was resistant to giving them up. However, when we talked of her new room, she became excited.
4. Have a set transition time.
We decided that for the first 5 days we would allow for a no fuss, non enforcement of the new room arrangement. This meant that if Wren wanted to go back to her original room/bed during the night, we would let her. This worked for us since we understood that this was also a transition out of a crib to a bed. The first two nights after a few hours in her bed and not sleeping, she asked to go back to her crib. The third night she slept in the bed all night and never looked back.
5. Change the original room.
As soon as possible after the transition time, make changes to the old room. This will make regression less likely and curtail conversations about going back to the way it was. “Sorry babe, there isn’t a crib in there anymore.”
6. Make sure both kids still get alone time.
This has been by far the most important strategy for us. We have noticed that our kids are much more agreeable and are able to get along with each other better when they have had “quiet times.” For us this means that each day they spend alone time in separate rooms (or at different times in their own room). For so many reasons this is a good idea: self directed play, fosters creativity, provides security in the routine, gives parents alone time, helps kids decompress with little external stimulation, etc.
What are some other ways you have found helpful in transitioning into room sharing?