Hi there! Thanks so much for showing up to Smallish again. This journey is so much more fun knowing that all of you are happily exploring intentionally living small with us! 🙂
Last week in Part 1 of “Four Kids Sharing One Room” I showed you how we set up the kids’ room furniture and how we contain the stuff. Today I’ll share the slightly dicier aspect of how we actually accomplish four kids sleeping in one room, and the successes and difficulties we’ve encountered.
Four Kids Sleeping in One Room
The bottom line of children sharing a room is this: yes, sometimes they wake each other up. And yes, they do learn to deal with it and (most of the time) go right back to sleep.
The bottom line of children sharing a room is this: yes, sometimes they wake each other up.
Of our four children we are blessed with two excellent sleepers who rarely wake up after nodding off. The other two, well, their many and unique strengths simply lie elsewhere. 😉 I’ll speak separately about nighttime and naptime because they take very different approaches to accomplishing sleep.
With the exception of the baby, putting our kids down at night isn’t that difficult. Our children are close enough in age and developmental stages that it works for the older three to share the same bedtime routine and schedule. Basically the steps we take each evening are: clean up house/room, baths, pajamas, read books, brush teeth, tuck in beds, pray/story/sing, lights out. It’s a pretty predictable plan. The older three are in bed and peaceful by 7:30. If they are super tired they won’t talk or make noises. If they all had good naps that day, then we usually have to *ahem* “remind” them a couple times to be quiet and stop making toot noises. 😐
The most difficult part of having all four kids sleeping in one room is that Kid4 doesn’t consistently sleep through the night yet. Usually his wake ups don’t pose a problem to anyone but me; I can sneak him out, nurse him, and sneak him back in without waking the other children. This routine became an issue when recently he started fussing 2-4 times a night—that’s when momma not sleeping turned into a problem for everyone. 😉
While we’re on the subject… look how cute he is! 🙂
We sleep trained all our children to some extent or another and, for the most part, giving our kids the gift of learning how to self soothe is one that has paid off throughout the years. With Kid4 however, it’s been a little more difficult. We haven’t allowed him to cry it out at all because I felt it just wasn’t fair to the other kids. (And one baby awake at 3 a.m. is better than four children awake at that time!) In order to allow Kid4 to cry it out, we recently moved him into a different room to get some practice soothing himself back to sleep. Helping the baby sleep through the night without jeopardizing the older children’s REM cycles is the biggest challenge so far, but we continue to take one night at a time and work it out.
For the most part, when one child wakes up, they all wake up. And usually it’s early. Too early. Our rule is that they have to stay in their beds until “the first number is a six” on the alarm clock. 😐 Thankfully I am a morning person, so most of the time I can roll with it. As long as coffee is involved.
Many mornings the younger children vie for a chance to snuggle into Kid1’s big bed because it’s still a novelty:
In the very early days of being a mama to two boys and a new blog I wrote this post on how naps elude when two boys share a room. (Look how teeny my older boys are in the Shoebox!!) It was a crucial observation that nap times are easier when the children are separated. I haven’t changed my stance on the subject much except to perfect the exact science of accomplishing four children relaxing and quiet at the same time. 🙂 My sanity depends on at least one hour of me-time in the afternoon. So here’s how we do naps.
Whoever is supposed to be actually sleeping for nap time gets snuggled into their own bed in the bedroom. Usually that is Kid3 and Kid4, but every once in awhile one or both of the older boys will need some serious sleep and rest in their bed(s) as well. Kid1 and Kid2 are allowed to stay awake during nap time but they separately rest and look at books on either our bed or the Murphy bed.
Sometimes quiet time looks like this:
And sometimes it looks like this:
The secret to getting all my children down and asleep at once is staggering when they go down, from youngest to oldest. I wrap up Kid4 and tuck him into his crib and then read to Kid3. Usually the boys enjoy the younger children’s stories as well. Then I tuck Kid3 into her bed and return to read a couple books with the older boys. Then I help them make nests on the beds they will rest on, remind them to be quiet and shut their doors. Then I immediately brew a cup of tea and sit down to read the Word. If I have time left over, this is when I get to write for Smallish. 🙂
Having four kids sleeping in one room isn’t easy all the time, but we believe that the benefits of having children share their space outweigh any drawbacks.
What about you? Do you have children who share a room? How does your family accomplish mass-sleeping-time? Did I answer all your questions?
Comment below and ask away!
As always, feel free to share if you know of someone who might appreciate encouragement in living small with a big family. 🙂