David and Wade started sharing a bedroom in August even though we have three bedrooms on the main floor and a guest bed in the basement. I admit my motives for moving them in together were a bit self-serving.
First, I wanted to get the toy situation under control. David’s toys were all over David’s room and Wade’s toys were all over Wade’s room. Some days I could barely walk through either. The train table was in the living room, because it wouldn’t fit in either room the way they were arranged.
David has a loft bed, and Wade’s regular twin bed fits underneath it perfectly, making an L-shape. We also moved Wade’s dresser into the room, and the boys share a closet. Since they’re boys clothes storage isn’t a problem. Jeans, t-shirts and sneakers don’t take up that much space.
All the toys and books went into Wade’s old room. I spent half a day sorting through everything. I got rid of a lot of stuff, and managed to fit the remaining toys in the two toy boxes. Since everything fits into boxes and on shelves that go against the wall there was room for the train table and floor space for playing. When the floor isn’t covered in toys that it is. Is the toy room messy most of the time? Yes, but I don’t mind since it’s contained in one room, and I can close the door.
So the boys sharing a bedroom helped get the crazy toy situation under control. You don’t know how happy that makes me, and when Mama’s happy — well, you know.
My second reason for letting the boys share a room was that Wade was waking up almost every night scared of the dark and climbing into bed with my husband and I.
I like to sleep. I don’t like getting woke up at night, and I don’t like getting pushed out of bed by a four-year-old. How can someone so tiny take up over half a king size bed? I don’t know, but Wade does. When Mama doesn’t get to sleep, Mama isn’t happy. And when Mama isn’t happy — well, you know.
And sometimes instead of climbing into bed with us Wade would go get in bed with David. David actually didn’t mind, but I worried about him being tired at school the next day if Wade woke him up. And I have no idea how they managed to sleep comfortably together in a twin bed.
Eventually both the boys started asking if they could have “sleep overs” in David’s room all the time. So I said why don’t you just share a room? And they said yes. If they didn’t want to share, I wouldn’t make them.
Wade moved into David’s room in August, and he hasn’t woke up scared of the dark since. David told me he likes having Wade in the room with him at night too.
Am I creating a co-dependent relationship, and one of them will end up living in the other’s basement someday? I don’t think so. They’re four and eight. I imagine eventually they’ll outgrow wanting to share a room. In a few years when David’s a teenager he may want more privacy and ask for his own room. And that’s OK. For now, this works.
Would this work for everyone? Probably not. David and Wade are close and get along well. I think the four and half-year age difference helps. David feels very protective of Wade, and Wade really looks up to David. There’s some competition between them, but not a lot because they’re in such different stages.
You’re probably wondering if they go to bed at night or if they stay up playing until mid-night. So I’ll tell you how we made the transition, and how we handled that and some other issues.
We moved Wade into David’s room in August, a month before school started. That way they could get used to sharing a room and get any sleep adjustments out-of-the-way before the first day of school.
They did talk and play around those first few nights. If it got too rowdy we got after them, but mostly we just let them get it out of their systems. After a week or so the novelty of sharing a room wore off, and they started going to sleep without much trouble.
They’re almost three months into sharing a room now. They do still talk quietly for a few minutes after we tuck them in. But when school started we began putting them to bed about 30 minutes earlier than needed. That gives them time for a few night-time shenanigans before they drift off.
I have to tell you, they aren’t as quiet as they think they are, and I like listening to their after-dark conversations. They say some pretty funny things and some pretty sweet things when they think Mom and Dad aren’t listening.
The biggest problem we had to find a solution to was how to keep little brother Wade out of David’s stuff. David has a few toys and things he’s collected that he doesn’t want Wade getting into. So David’s dresser is off-limits to Wade, and David also has a special shelf for things that are off-limits to Wade. Once in a while we have to remind Wade of this, but he’s learning. David getting into Wade’s stuff isn’t really an issue since David is older.
It’s true that if one gets up in the morning the other usually wakes up too. That’s not really a problem. A few times Wade’s slept in when David had to go to school. I just quietly get David’s clothes out of his room, and he gets dressed in the bathroom.
The last two weeks both boys have been sick. That’s probably the biggest disadvantage to this. If one is up coughing he may wake up the other. I just solved that by letting the sick one sleep on the couch in the living room a few nights.
Maybe your kids share a room not by choice, but out of necessity. I hope this makes you feel better about it or gives you some ideas to make it go smoothly.
Like I said, this is what works for us. David and Wade aren’t just brothers, they’re friends. In this case sharing a room has helped strengthen that bond. I’m a happy mama, because I get to sleep at night! And if Mama’s happy — well, you know.