Author Topic: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?  (Read 2255 times)

brandino29

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3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« on: April 17, 2018, 02:02:59 PM »
Hey folks,

I've been off the boards for a couple of years but I'm coming back seeking input/creative ideas. The short version is that we are expecting our third child this fall and we currently live in a small 2 bedroom 1 bath house.  It doesn't look like we'll be able to find a new home before the baby comes and I'm trying to figure out a way for us to fit comfortably with 3 little kids, two of whom currently don't sleep great as it is.

A little more background: we have a 5 year old and a 1.5 yr old that will be turning 2 when the new baby comes. We live in a small 2 bedroom 1 bath that we bought before having kids. Our mortgage is dirt cheap ($515/month) and we like the house and our neighbors.

We've managed to get by since our second was born with them sharing a room. Fortunately our bedrooms are very large so it doesn't feel like we're on top of each other in the house.  Our impending issue however is that they are not the greatest sleepers, especially the younger one and adding a screaming infant into the mix makes me dread the nights to come especially as I start my medical residency this summer working 70-80 hours per week.

We've been looking at larger 3 or 4 bedroom houses for several months but have not found anything that works for us in our budget in the neighborhoods we much prefer to be in. It's getting crunch time before we have to find a new house if we want to be in it before starting my new job this summer and the baby is born shortly thereafter.  So, it's looking more and more likely we'll need to plan to just assume we're not moving and figure out how to fit a family of 5 into a 2 bedroom 1 bath home.

Is anyone currently doing this or have you been through it? I've thought of moving us into the living room on a Murphy bed but that would leave us essentially without a living room plus we like to invite family/friends over for dinner on a pretty regular basis.  For at least the first few months the baby will sleep in our room anyway but I'd like to avoid that beyond 6 or 9 months.

Just curious to hear of others' experiences.

Thanks!

shelbyautumn

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2018, 02:33:58 PM »
Disclaimer: I don't have children. Take what I say with lots of grains of salt.

Could you try getting a white noise machine and/or fan to see if that helps the kids that don't sleep well? Blackout curtains might be a good idea, too. If you could start those things now, it might train them to sleep better and will drown out the extra noise when the baby joins their room.

Could you add on to the house? That's costly and time consuming, but worth considering if you want to stay in the area. I'd guess as a doctor you'll be able to afford something bigger in the next couple years, so if you don't want to stay in your current house it might not be worth it.

I will say that living in a small house is doable. I'm friends with a family that had 6 children (5 girls, 1 boy) in a 3 bed, 1 bath home. And it had TINY rooms (big enough for a twin bed and a dresser). They just got really creative with a den area. The kids all grown now, and when I would ask how they lived with 8 people using one bathroom they all have fun stories to share about growing up so closely. They loved it.

jeromedawg

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 02:43:10 PM »
Is it viable to potentially add-on another room to your house and perhaps a bathroom? This may cost some $$$ but it might cost less than getting into a new place. And you know what they say: moving into a bigger place somehow results in the acquisition of more stuff to fill up the space ;)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2018, 02:45:07 PM »
@furrychickens has lived with 3 kids in a 2 bedroom for a long time IIRC.

And comedian Jim Gaffigan had five--yes, five--kids under 8 in a two-bedroom apartment. (They have since upsized.) He had a bit about putting them all to bed in different places that I could not readily find, but might give you a chuckle!

Blackout curtains and a weighted blanket for the older one (he's my insomniac) have helped my children sleep better (currently I share a one-bedroom apartment with the two of them, ages 7 and almost 6, but they live with dad half the time). No magic answer, though. Sometimes we sleep well and sometimes we don't.

robartsd

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 03:00:23 PM »
If there is space for the crib in your bedroom, I'd have baby sleep there for the first few months. After baby starts sleeping through most nights have all the kids share a room if possible. You could probably delay up sizing for several months or even a few years. When I was young I shared a queen bed with 2 or 3 siblings (oldest was about 8 when we started sleeping in separate beds - we always remained 2+ to a bedroom).

slappy

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 03:02:42 PM »
Can the third child stay in your room for at least the first year?

charis

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 03:06:30 PM »
This might not be relevant to your situation, but someone might use this idea.  Some friends of our live in a tiny, very expensive  two bedroom apartment.  They installed a removable, partial wall in the children's bedroom with loft beds on other side of the wall.  They needed loft beds for the space (desks under the beds), but you could install a wall (two bedrooms for the price of one) with bunk beds one side for older kids.  If you stay, the older child could be moved to a loft bed on one side and the youngest to the bottom bunk.

ontheway2

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 03:20:22 PM »
I would also try to keep the baby in your room for the first few months to year with the older 2 in bunk beds once they all share

KCM5

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2018, 03:39:25 PM »
If you get to the point where the youngest is ready for a bed, this was my parents solution:

https://www.theclassyhome.com/Product/CST-460394T/Coaster+Furniture+Rogen+Twin+Triple+Bunk+Bed?g=t&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIpNCmyKHC2gIVDFqGCh2apQ2FEAkYASABEgJ56vD_BwE

The youngest was 1.5 and the oldest was 5 when we had this set up. Until then we had normal bunk beds and a crib. We moved to a three bedroom almost 5 years later and I’m not scarred by it or anything. It was normal to me as a kid.

NV Teacher

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 03:52:51 PM »
I've seen some people with small places put the new baby in the closet.  That's assuming you have room in the closet for the crib.

SimpleCycle

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2018, 04:35:20 PM »
Any reason you want to avoid it beyond 6 or 9 months?  I'd keep the baby in your room until he/she's sleeping through the night, then move all the kids into one room.  No way to predict when they baby will STTN though.  Our 12 month old is still in our room, and we haven't figured out how to do the transition into sharing a room with his sister because he has crazy separation anxiety right now.

I think bunk beds and a crib that will turn into a toddler bed is the solution to fitting everyone.  I'd try really hard to keep the living room as living area, but I'd also consider having a second baby sleeping device (probably a pack n' play) available in the living room to give everyone maximum flexibility about sleeping arrangements.  When our first was little I took the baby overnight in the living room while my wife slept an entire night in our bedroom.

And when all else fails, think of people like my mom's extended family who have six people in a two room house with two beds.  Makes most American living arrangements seem absurdly lavish.

mm1970

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2018, 06:20:10 PM »
I have a small 2BR 1 BA house and 2 kids.  (both boys)

My neighbors across the street have a 2BR 1 BA house and 3 kids. (all same sex)

My neighbors next door have a 2 BR 1BA house a 3 kids.  (mixed sex)



So...kid #1 was in a crib in our bedroom for 3 months, then got the spare bedroom.
Kid #2 was in a crib in our bedroom for 9-10 months, then joined his brother. Mostly, we did this so crying baby wouldn't bother him, but needn't have bothered, that kid sleeps like the dead.  And likewise, little one eventually was a good sleeper and likes his own bed because he's used to it.

Neighbor across the street and 3 kids - they have a bunk bed and a single bed in the second bedroom.  They converted a corner of the garage for a play room.  The house itself is 962 sf.  Right now they are adding a loft in that bedroom for 2 of the kids to sleep in.

Neighbor next door - house is about 1000 sf.  Not sure where the youngest is sleeping (2 yo), but the older 2 are in the spare bedroom.  I've been to their house, and I know that their living room is kind of divided, so there's always an option of a bedroom in the corner.


I'm one of 9 kids and for much of my life, we had 4 in the house at a time, and I always shared a room, for a long time with my 2 sisters.


Anyway, just recently, as I was longing for another bathroom and bedroom (but am too lazy to move, and right now too cheap to add on), we swapped rooms with the kids, and gave them the big room.  If your bedrooms are plenty big, you can probably stay there forever.  Bunk-beds.


Long ago and far away, spouse was in grad school.  Family student housing, 2BR, these were TINY - 700 sf?  750 sf? 

Neighbors across the way had 4 kids.  Bunk bed, bottom bunk had a trundle, and a crib.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 06:26:44 PM by mm1970 »

aetheldrea

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2018, 06:45:54 PM »
Only 3 kids? Piece of cake. Your third baby will probably not scream as much as the earlier ones, now that you are learning what the hell you are doing. A 2-year-old, though, ay ay ay.
Until recently, we have always been in much too small places, previous place was a 3-bedroom with 7 kids.
Also, remember that kids are not all the same and small kids don't take up nearly as much room as teenagers.

furrychickens

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2018, 07:36:44 PM »
@furrychickens has lived with 3 kids in a 2 bedroom for a long time IIRC.

Yep, 2/1 house that’s 730 sqft. Has a full, partially finished basement though. Kids are currently 11, 10, and 8. 2 girls and a boy, so mixed genders. Currently the sleeping setup is bunk beds with a pull out “trundle” mattress for the youngest.

We homeschool too, so we’re in each other’s personal space all the time. It works pretty well but it’s definitely nice when we can send them out to play :)

TheWifeHalf

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2018, 09:29:00 PM »
1200 sf house, 2 bedroom and 1 bath upstairs (also a space off the stairs, that just fit a king sized bed, it has no door), half bath downstairs
Bedroom A and B, about 15 x 18

Started out
Bedroom A parents
Bedroom B  son, from infancy on
Space by stairs  daughter, infancy to 1, in crib

This worked until youngest son came.
So then, daughter, 1, joined oldest son, 3, in Bedroom B
Infant son was in crib in space by stairs.

Oldest son, 5, in Bedroom B, youngest son, 2 there too
Daughter, 3, in Bedroom A
Parents move to space by stairs

This worked for maybe 1 1/2 years. During that time TheHusbandHalf got a new job at an oil refinery and STUDIED a bunch of stuff that he had to learn. In his mind, he had to know the whole refinery, and did. I'm serious, he studied like I would think anyone in college would study., and a lot of times would do it up in bed.

With the new job came our financial situation changing and being able to add on. It took another 9 months before the parents could move to the new bedroom in the new addition.

If we hadn't been able to add on, we probably would have added a wall and made the space by the stairs, a room (and parents moving back to Bedroom A)

slappy

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2018, 06:06:09 AM »
Theres a blog I heard about called 5 kids one condo or something like that. It's about raising a family in a tiny NYC apartment. I read it quickly one time and the thing that resonated with me was that living in such a small space teaches everyone to be respectful of others and to notice the implications of their actions on other people.

asauer

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2018, 06:22:41 AM »
I grew up this way and have good friends who have 5 kids in a very small 3 BR.  One great idea to keep people from feeling on top of each other and having their own space is to get loft beds (starting at age 5 when they can get up and down the ladder at night).  The ones with a space underneath.  As a small child, put up a curtain over that area.  that's their private space that nobody can come into.  As teens, this will probably be their homework/ study space.  In the closet, we each had a row of hanging shelves and 3 hangers.  Worked out pretty darn well.

BAM

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2018, 07:18:06 AM »
We have 9 kids - 7 home full time, 2 home on college breaks - in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath.
In the current rental, we gave 6 of the boys (4 full timers, 2 college part timers) the master bedroom. They are in 2 triple bunks. Our 2 girls (ages 10, 5) and the baby boy (2) share another room.
We are moving soon as we will be buying a 3 bed, 2 bath. The arrangement will be the same but DH and I get the master as the other bedrooms are big enough to hold the 2 triple bunks.

Our kids have always shared rooms - anywhere from 2-6 in a room with various bed arrangements.
Used to have a 3 bed, 1 bath with 7 kids. Major issue there was having littles who had to use the bathroom NOW when someone was in the shower. Solved that by putting a non-see-through shower curtain up and by checking for all potty-ers before jumping in the shower. The one that had to go NOW knocked so the one in the shower could reach out to unlock the door (very small bathroom) so the little could come in to go and then leave. No shower curtain touching allowed : ).

We keep our littles with us until they are sleeping through the night or wake when DH/I get up in the morning - depends on which comes first as my kids have slept through the night anywhere from 8 weeks to 2 years old but they tend to wake when we do between 9 months and a year. The older ones in the bedroom they are moved too either adjust and don't wake or wake and learn to go back to sleep quickly.

All in all, it's a fairly short time so worth dealing with to save the money.

Sibley

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2018, 01:04:01 PM »
A friend of mine has 3 boys and a big dog in a 2/1 small house. The picture I saw was bunk beds with the 3rd bed attached at the floor. I think she sends them outside a lot to run around.

JLR

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2018, 05:58:20 PM »
It can definitely be done.

Our three children shared a room for a very long time while we (slowly) renovated our third bedroom. We've since moved into a 4brm place, but two still share a room. Just a few weeks ago they were talking about all three sharing a room again. I was surprised, as I thought at their ages (15, 13, 10) they would want separate rooms, but apparently not. They have great memories of sharing.

I have friends with 7 kids. When the baby got a bit older and moved out of the parents' room she slept in the lounge room for a while. In time she moved in with some of the other kids. Perhaps once their sleeping patterns aligned a bit better.

Tuskalusa

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2018, 06:13:33 PM »
We only have one kid, but I love maximizing space! 

I think the idea of having a Murphy bed in the living room could be a good interim solution until you can get all 3 kids in one room. At the very least, it provides a “bailout” for when everybody just needs a little more space and a place to sleep. They make Murphy beds that have a couch when the bed is folded up. The. You still have a place to entertain guests when the bed is up.

Good luck!

brandino29

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2018, 08:56:39 AM »
Wow, thank you guys for all the input!

I've definitely gotten more on board with this idea over the last couple of days. I think a lot of the initial driving factor is simply the culture that we live in and the feeling that we absolutely NEED a bigger house/more bedrooms.  So many other cultures don't think twice about all kids or entire families sharing a single room, and obviously even many of you have experienced or are experiencing this first hand.  I was worried about it before our 2nd came along but it has really caused very little problem with the two of them sharing. Hopefully a third will be just as easy.  As I told my wife yesterday, our life is going to be a shitstorm of crazy for the next couple of years regardless of the size home we live in so might as well save $1,000 a month by staying put.

Adding on isn't a great option for us because we still don't view this as a long term home, 3 more years max, and I don't think we would come anywhere near recouping the cost when selling, we are in a very down market.

There are some very cool bunk bed options out there that I've been finding so I think we may go down that route and have the youngest in the crib once we move our toddler out of it in the months to come. 

Thanks again. And to all of you coming from large families or with so many kids (9!?), I salute you!

AMandM

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2018, 06:23:05 PM »
I would definitely encourage you. This is totally doable, especially when your kids are so little and you only think to stay another few years. We had seven kids in a 4-br house till the two oldest got married. At one time all five girls, at their request, shared the room that the house plan called the master bedroom. Each had a loft bed with shelves below, and they created private cubicles using curtains hung from the ceiling.

Google Ikea hack triple bunk bed, too. A friend of mine did that.

abhe8

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2018, 08:04:41 PM »
Op, you can totally do it! We had three in 900 sq ft 3/1 when I was a resident and it was fine. The kids shared 1 room, were had one and the third was a guest,/office. I studied and worked a lot a night, so I didn't want any kids sleeping in there. We did keep dc3 in our room until he was almost 3, but that worked great for us. We had bunk beds in the kids room. DD was 6 and 7 yrs old, top bunk. Ds1 was 4 and 5 yrs, bottom bunk, and ds2 shared with ds1 when he was 3 (ds2 was 5). I was planning to buy a trundle, but they liked to share. They each had two toy boxes that fit under the beds. All clothes were in the closet, so even with a small room, they had some play space. They each had two clear plastic boxes on the floor of the closet, 1 for undies, socks, PJs and 1 for shorts/pants. All shirts, dresses, jackets hung up. I actually think managing the clothes was harder than the sleeping spaces. We did often use our bed and sometimes the guest bed as nap options. 

merula

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2018, 10:37:26 AM »
You may want to factor in some time between moving #2 out of the crib and moving #3 into it. That worked well for me (kids 2 years apart) and it made it so the focus was on the "new big bed for a big kid" rather than on "new baby is taking YOUR crib".

When I was looking at solutions for two kids in a 1 bed, 1 den condo, I really liked the Ikea Kura bed (https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80253814/) as a bunk since it's not super high off the ground and if you put a mattress on the floor of the bottom it's seemed like a good transition for a toddler transitioning out of a crib.

2 years down the line, you could get a second one, #1 and #2 get the tops, #3 gets the bottom of one and the bottom of the other is a play space.

This ended up not making sense in my situation given windows and radiators, but I loved the concept at the time.

TVRodriguez

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Re: 3 kids in a 2 bedroom?
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2018, 11:10:01 AM »
You may want to factor in some time between moving #2 out of the crib and moving #3 into it. That worked well for me (kids 2 years apart) and it made it so the focus was on the "new big bed for a big kid" rather than on "new baby is taking YOUR crib".

When I was looking at solutions for two kids in a 1 bed, 1 den condo, I really liked the Ikea Kura bed (https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80253814/) as a bunk since it's not super high off the ground and if you put a mattress on the floor of the bottom it's seemed like a good transition for a toddler transitioning out of a crib.

2 years down the line, you could get a second one, #1 and #2 get the tops, #3 gets the bottom of one and the bottom of the other is a play space.

This ended up not making sense in my situation given windows and radiators, but I loved the concept at the time.

This is a lot of what we did. 

We moved the older kid out of the crib and into a bed well in advance of the baby's birth.  No need to add to reasons for sibling rivalry.

We kept the baby in our room for several months.  Older two shared a room from when DD was about 2 and older DS was about 4, I think (hard to remember now).

Sometimes DH slept on the couch if he wanted to avoid any nighttime crying/waking.

We used the Ikea Kura bed as a "loft" for our girl (with the tent-cover thing) and a bunk bed for our boys in the same room.  Both boys' beds had either a tent-cover thing or a curtain so everyone had some privacy.

DH built a wall in the back family room to make a third small bedroom.  Our oldest just moved in there (he's 11) and now has his own room.  Our other two (ages 7 & 9, boy and girl) share the other bedroom, each in a twin bed with a tent for privacy.  That room feels huge now that only two kids are in it.

In future, we might give our boys our bedroom and take the back smaller bedroom for ourselves, leaving DD in the bedroom she currently shares with her younger brother.