Author Topic: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other  (Read 1494 times)

jeromedawg

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Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« on: August 21, 2018, 10:30:27 AM »
Hey all,

We recently moved our 1.5yr old and almost 3yr old into the same room to try to get them to sleep together. We put them down pretty late (past 10pm) and generally they wake up later (usually past 9am). For the most part it has been working well except recently they've been starting to wake each other up frequently. I think we've nearly conditioned the older one to expect food right before he sleeps. He always says "I'm so hungry" right before we're about to put him down. Then he'll sometimes wake up in the middle of the night wailing because he's "hungry" and subsequently waking up his sister unless we sneak in and get him. It's awful but we're working on the no food right before bed thing - I think there's the fear of him not eating enough or going through a growth spurt, but I think at this point it's more the fact that we've been giving him cheese/snacks so consistently in the past month that he expects it.

If it's not him, it's her waking up earlier (7am-8am) and wailing, thereby waking him up. By the time she stops, he'll already be up and will start wailing on/off, thereby keeping her awake as she tries to fall back asleep. It's a vicious cycle. Obviously he doesn't understand the concept that he should just not cry upon waking up (whether it's him waking up on his own or her waking him up), especially at this age, yet he seems to want to do it anyway. Usually if we try to get her, he'll sense it and wake up immediately, so it's a total catch-22 with trying to keep them both quiet and sleeping.

We are ready just to split them back up again to have them 're-learn' how to sleep normally. Has anyone else gone through this? I figure some people just write their kids' sleep off as a loss when their kids share a room but I'm guessing most people have figured out how to get it to work so their kids aren't waking each other up constantly and screwing up their sleep schedules.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 10:32:20 AM by jeromedawg »

Cassie

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2018, 11:21:23 AM »
It might be better to split them up until they are 6 months older. 2 of my 3 kids always had to share a room and never had this problem.  Lack of sleep sucks!  I put my kids to bed early and they always got up early. I always gave all 3 a snack before bedtime.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2018, 01:05:19 AM »
Try the book and blog Precious Little Sleep. It's mostly aimed at younger children but has some good advice on sleep props and toddlers and bedtimes.

farmerj

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2018, 10:39:12 AM »
It may also be worth trying to put them down earlier.  Aligning the cycle more with the sun sometimes helps sleep issues, except when it doesn't, or they resolve coincidentally on their own. Kids are weird, man.

historienne

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2018, 11:25:33 AM »
You might try an OK to Wake clock, or a DIY version thereof.  Our kids don't share for precisely this reason, but it has helped a lot getting our early rising toddler to sleep until a reasonable hour.  We started at 20 months, and he took to it surprisingly well.

Also, how dark is the room?  If it's not super blacked-out, then the light might be part of the culprit. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2018, 11:34:05 AM »
Some children will wake regularly during the night and make noise regardless of what you do.  Our son did this most nights of the week until he was three or so.  If your other child isn't an extremely heavy sleeper, you just may have to come to terms with them having a few years of poor sleep when keeping them together at night.

ixtap

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2018, 11:44:09 AM »
How long have you been trying?

shelivesthedream

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2018, 12:40:33 PM »
Also, why are you trying to get them to sleep in the same room? I'd still expect a 1.5yr old to need some kind of help sleeping properly (either night waking or enforcing appropriate bedtime hours). You had them split up before, what changed?

Cassie

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2018, 02:51:51 PM »
I kept my kids in a crib until about 2 1/2 so no escaping.  By age one both went to bed at 7 and got up about 6. I think the bedtime snack helped too. Usually only woke up if sick.

tyrannostache

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2018, 04:11:46 PM »
My 1.5 year old and 6 year old have been sharing for almost a year now at the 6yo's request. (Our house has 2 BR on each floor, and the 6YO didn't want to be alone). There have been ups and downs. It took some time to get them used to the process, and when we went through periods of sleep training, we had to move the 6YO's mattress to the floor in our room.

Overall, it has gone pretty smoothly. The toddler still has occasional night wakings, but the big kid mostly sleeps through them.

6yo has always been an early riser, so she tends to wake up whenever the toddler does. This morning, though, the toddler woke up at 5, crying with a super wet diaper. 6yo rolled over, groaned, and went back to sleep.

Blissful Biker

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2018, 04:18:47 PM »
Kids are resilient.  IMO, they will get used to being in the same room and learn to sleep with some activity in the room.  My boys are 16 months apart in age and shared a room from the time the youngest was 6 months old and moved out of our room.

At 13 and 14 they now have their own rooms, but most mornings I still find them sleeping together.  Adorable.  :)

Reading together before bed was a nice routine when they were little.  I think it helped settle them.

tyrannostache

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2018, 11:14:23 AM »
I forgot to add that we use a white noise "machine" (broken old phone with white noise app plugged in to a cheap cd player/radio).

The big kid goes to bed later than the toddler, and the white noise allows us to snuggle and have a quiet chat without waking the little one.

Blissful Biker

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2018, 12:20:15 PM »
I forgot to add that we use a white noise "machine" (broken old phone with white noise app plugged in to a cheap cd player/radio).

Ah yes!  We used a white noise machine too when the kids were little and it worked very well.  Good advice.  In desperation we blew out a coffee grinder and a blender before seeing the light and investing in a proper white noise machine.

Sibley

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2018, 09:46:20 AM »
With the food, yes it might be a delay tactic, but it might also be an actual "I'm hungry". Kids need a ton of food sometimes. Try offering a snack about an hour before bedtime, with the rule that if he's not hungry then, then clearly won't be hungry at bed time. If he's actually hungry, it'll be apparent pretty quickly.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2018, 12:32:23 PM »
I've never given any of my kids a bedtime snack.  Is this a thing?  If a kid is hungry at bedtime, I imagine that he is either not getting enough food during the day or is stalling.  Going to bed hungry will, if given enough time, likely lead to the child eating more the following day. 

It will probably take a few days or a week to break through the cycle that has been established.  The child is not likely to starve in a few days.  I'd tell the kid, "you're hungry for breakfast, so you'd better get to bed so you can wake up and eat tomorrow." 

Then be sure to serve a big breakfast with lots of yummy food choices (fruit, protein, dairy, grains, even veggies) so that they can really learn to fill up in the morning and look forward to breakfast.

My older two shared a room from ages 18 months & 3 yrs, and I guess we were lucky or I have a bad memory, but I can't remember any major sleep disruption issues.  Then all three of mine started sharing a single bedroom at ages 2, 4, and 6, and again, no major issues.  They had the same bedtime and wake up time as each other, as do yours, although our times were earlier.  But if you keep rock star hours, as long as they all keep the same hours, I thing that should be fine.  Good luck!

Edited to add:  We also used a white noise machine for a while.  Seemed to help pacify at bedtime.

ixtap

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2018, 12:44:30 PM »
Make food part of the routine, rather than waiting for the child to let you know they are hungry. Bedtime snacks are something of a tradition, but whenever I have seen them offered, they are presented as part of the routine: bedtime snack, brush teeth, PJs, peed, read a book or say a prayer, go to bed.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2018, 02:28:38 PM »
I agree with making the bedtime snack part of the routine. When I was a child we had a bedtime snack for years - half an apple each, cut into pieces. I have memories of both eating it in the kitchen and eating it in bed during my story. Pick a healthy snack and give/offer it every single night. Then, no more "hungry" delaying because he definitely just ate!

Cassie

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2018, 03:48:46 PM »
I think their little tummies definitely need food as part of the bedtime routine.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2018, 05:42:08 PM »
My three year old just sneaks downstairs and watches Netflix in the morning. His older cousins have been sharing his room all summer and he doesn't wake them up. Sometimes I have to tell them to stop talking at bedtime. Maybe I am a hardass but if he asks for snacks at bedtime I just tell him he needs to learn to eat more at dinner.

 My baby is nine months and still in our room. He sleeps all night but sometimes gets woken up when I get ready for work in the morning. We have a white noise machine in each room. I want to move him to my son's room once the cousins move out (long story).

catccc

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2018, 08:36:36 AM »
We moved our 2nd out of our room and into her big sisters room at 18 months.  It went well.  Here's what I would try...

I would tell the 1.5 year old that there are no more snacks after going to bed, but he can have water if he wakes up and wants something.  Put a water bottle by his bed and he can help himself if needed.

Put a dim light (or perhaps a small string of christmas lights?) on an outlet timer and tell the 3 y/o that she can quietly wake up and check the lights.  If they are on, she is allowed to get up.  If they are not on, she needs to go back to sleep because it isn't time to get up yet.

Also, maybe try moving the bedtimes up a bit.  It's pretty dark at 10, and if you start earlier, you'll be taking advantage of more darkness.

Good luck!

Cassie

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2018, 12:02:20 AM »
Mrs Wolfe, their tummies are little and need a bedtime snack. Build it into the routine so it doesn’t delay bedtime.

elliha

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2018, 01:52:12 AM »
I agree that offering a snack might be the solution to some of the screaming. Some kids will just burn through whatever they eat and need more food than you can imagine. We eat dinner very late so we have never had a bed time snack but my kids do get a pre-dinner snack almost every day. There is a possibility that the screaming is a processing of change thing too. Not all kids will start processing the moment something happens and the changes in behavior comes after a while. My daughter for example did very well initially at daycare and was the model kid for a couple of months. Then she started protesting and cry when we left her and had trouble sleeping at night at home. It took a month or so and then she was back to her normal self again. They might just need a little time to work things out and while moving in together might have been mostly positive it is still a change that might take some time to work out for both kids.

MrsDinero

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2018, 07:26:34 AM »
Ours have been sharing a room for well over a year now, they are 3 and 2.  It was tough at first, because they would wake each other up and my husband was ready to put them in separate rooms, but I really wanted them to share.  They have, for the most part, worked it out.  They turned from light sleepers to heavy sleepers.  Now they have settled into more of a routine and waking in the middle of the night is less frequent*.  In the morning (around 6:30am), though, whoever wakes up first tends to wake up the other.   

What kept me motivated from the first few months of them sharing was reminding myself of my friend whose sons shared a room the day the little one outgrew the bassinet.  Her sons are now 9 & 5 and have shared all their life. 

*My 3 year old is potty trained but still wears a diaper to bed.  The past couple of weeks she has been waking and calling for us in the middle of the night to change her diaper because it is wet.  We will probably switch her from a crib to a toddler bed soon'ish.  I want to keep them both in the crib for a while longer though.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Getting kids to share a room without waking each other
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2018, 08:28:38 AM »
Is there a reason for the hours your kids sleep?  It's pretty unusual for kids to go to bed that late because their natural body clock tends to have them wake earlier.  You are seeing this with your 1.5 year old (who still is sleeping pretty late for her age even when she wakes up "early"!)  Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if that is causing some of your sleep issues.

My kids are the same ages as yours and share a room.  We waited until the 1.5 year old could sleep pretty well independently before we tried both of them in the same room.  It works out fine - they both go to bed around 7 or 7:30 and wake around 6.  The 1.5 year old might wake up once but we try to respond quickly so that he doesn't fully wake his sister.  If he does wake her, we just tuck her back in and she goes back to sleep.  If the 3 year old wakes, it can be harder to get everyone back to sleep, but we basically just put the 3 year old back to bed and then rock the 1.5 year old until he's sleepy again.

We don't do a bedtime snack because dinner is close to bedtime.  We never have the 3 year old waking because she is hungry, but different kids are different.  It sounds like "hungry" has become the go to reason for avoiding sleep in your household, so I agree that you don't want to encourage it with middle of the night snacks.