Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bring It: Room Sharing Opinions

The situation:

Our current home has an abundant four bedrooms. Currently there's the master, one for Katy, one for David, and the guestroom. As you know, we're getting ready to add Number Three to the mix, and there's some question in our minds as to what we should do with the bedrooms.

The facts:

-We use our guestroom pretty frequently. So frequently, in fact, that I tried to add up it's number of uses in the past year and I can't even remember the past few months. It's somewhere between 1 and 2 weekends a month, on average. Plus the occasional during the week visitor.

-We want these people to keep coming to visit, especially since each subsequent child makes it more challenging for us to travel. I'm worried that not having a good place for them to sleep will (perhaps even subconsciously) keep them from visiting as often.

-We usually keep the baby in the room with us for about 3 months. Beyond that, I'm ready for them to be in their own space. And in my experience, the infant needs their own sleeping space for at least a year, because my kids have never slept through the night before 10 or 11 months.

-David is a much better sleeper than Katy at this point. He's still in a crib. He sleeps about 11 hours at night and takes a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, and I rarely hear from him at night. Katy, on the other hand, sleeps 9-10 hours at night and only takes a nap about half the time and only for an hour. And she doesn't go to sleep quietly - she's bouncing all around the room for an hour, in and out of the potty, talking, singing, playing, etc until 9 or 10 in the evening.

-We have 2 cribs, so that's not an issue.

-Katy's current room is certainly large enough to add a second child. David's room and the guest room are smallish.

The options as I see them:

Option A: Move David into Katy's room, Number Three into David's room, and keep the guest as is.

Option B: Put Number Three in the guest room, moving the queen bed out entirely. Guests would have to sleep on the double size futon downstairs. (or elsewhere?)

Option C: Do some kind of combo guest/kid room, for example, put the queen size bed in Katy's room, and then when guests come, Katy bunks in with us or one of her brothers. Or other combinations might be possible, like moving the queen and #3's crib into the big room, so that the baby can easily sleep in a pack n' play when guests come.

What I want from you:

First, which option would you choose if you were us? Not that I'm necessarily going to go with the majority, but I'm just curious what others would pick.

Next, what is your experience with kids sharing a room, especially at these young ages? Do they eventually adapt their sleeping habits and sleep just as well as before? Or does everyone just get less sleep and you have to deal with it?

Finally, do you think there's a certain age at which it would be ideal to start sharing rooms? I would envision sometime in the future having the 2 boys share, but when?


Jen said...

I vote for putting David and baby in the same room after about 3 months. They will both adjust to sleeping with another person in the room. I shared a room with Andy and Katie until I was in 7th grade (you remember, right?!). Sure, there will be nights when no one sleeps, but those are far outnumbered by the nights when everyone sleeps well. Our girls have shared a room since Emmaline was born and they both sleep fine. Better to get them used to having someone in their room sooner, rather than later. =)

Giselle said...

We were faced with the exact same situation 2 years ago. But Lily was still in a crib also, so there was that whole added challenge.

My whole thing was thinking that even if we had guests one week each month, that meant there were 3 weeks where the kiddos could have good sound sleep and their own space to play and keep their treasures. And that room was just sitting there...collecting dust and all our extra crap. So Lily's room is the guest room...we just moved her from a crib to a queen when the time came (she is so cute in that big old bed). When visitors come, we get out the kid-sized inflatable mattress and put it in Andrew's room. Lily and Andrew are thrilled with the novelty of sharing a room and it adds to the fun of having guests. I highly recommend the Aero kid mattress...it has little sides so the kids don't slide off in the night.

This seems to be working for us right now. I'm glad my kids have a room of their own for the majority of the time...it just seems silly to have it sit empty 80% of the time. But, then again, our bedrooms are soooooooo small that sharing rooms full time is difficult (no room for dressers with 2 beds in the room).

Whatever you choose will be fine. Your visitors will only worry that they are making it difficult on you. So if you do what feels right, then they will sense their visit isn't stress-inducing and will come back again and again.

Physibeth said...

I don't have any personal parental experience to add to the mix but I will tell you what my parents did when my sister was born. At the time my brother was 3 and I was 6. Sarah went in Dan's room until she was 3 and then my parents redecorated my room and moved her in with me when she was 3 and I was 9. I have other friends that have moved the older kids together and let the baby have a private room. If it were me I would probably put the baby in with David though.

Pam said...

Mmmm, that's a tough one. Right now I couldn't put Jack (3.5) with Danny (13 months) for fear of Jack getting in the crib, which he wants to do all the time. But David is young enough that he wouldn't do that, for the time being at least?
I'd say put the baby in with David after 3 months and monitor the situation as you go along. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd done what your friend Jen said she did with her daughters. Since David is such a good sleeper AND you plan to put them in the same room eventually, putting them in together younger seems like it will be easier. And you get to keep the much-used guest room the whole time. I really wish I'd done that with B and Maddie now that I want them in the same room anyway. Bet D will adjust fast.

old neighbor Steph :)

bluedaisy said...

We really struggled with this decision but ultimately, I am happy with what we worked out. However, if I had 4 bedrooms, I would definitely have each child in their own bedroom at this point...mostly because of Michael's sleep difficulties (he is bringing Liam down with him). So I like option C...like Giselle pointed out, you don't use the guest room every day but if you can work it out so there is space available when people visit, that would be my first choice. You can always reserve the right to put the boys together when they get a little older. Good luck finding the right fit :)