Kids Sleeping in One Room (Four Kids Sharing Part 2)

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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! πŸ™‚

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 fourΒ 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. πŸ˜‰ I’ll speak separately about nighttime and naptime because they take very different approaches to accomplishing sleep.

Night Time

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 nightβ€”that’s when momma not sleeping turned into a problem for everyone. πŸ˜‰

While we’re on the subject… look how cute he is! πŸ™‚

smiling baby

 

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.

Morning

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:

kids room

Nap Time

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. πŸ™‚ My sanity depends on at least one hour ofΒ 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) Β 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:

sleeping child

And sometimes it looks like this:

Resting_watermark

 

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 toΒ read the Word. If I have time left over, this is when I get to write for Smallish. πŸ™‚

 

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!Β 

As always, feel free to share if you know of someone who might appreciate encouragement in living small with a big family. πŸ™‚

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25 Comments
  • Haley @ Hobson Homestead
    February 18, 2016

    Thank you for these posts! We are moving into an RV soon and figuring out the sleep situation for our three kids has been on my mind. I think it may take a couple weeks to figure out our routine but I believe that the kids will eventually adapt after the novelty wears off.

    • Evelyn
      February 18, 2016

      Hey there Hayley, wow it seems that you all have a great adventure ahead!! I can’t wait to follow along on your journey. And yes, I totally agree that the kids will sleep just fine once they’re used to it. Get ’em good and exhausted at a park and they’ll sleep like rocks! πŸ˜‰

  • Ashley M
    February 18, 2016

    Can I just say I love your blog? It is always inspiring me to be content with what the Lord has given us. Thank you for this series as well! Really insightful. I have two boys (3 years and 8 months) that are ready to share a bedroom at night (the baby has slept in a closet his whole life πŸ˜‰ ) . The 8 month old is doing well sleeping through the night, but occasionally will wake once for the dang paci. He’s quick to get himself back to sleep after that. However, my 3 year old is a really light sleeper and will often start crying when the baby cries…and will keep crying while the baby is trying to get back to sleep. Do you have any experience here? We’ve tried two nights now, but the baby always ends up back in the closet because it ends in tears (from everyone). Should I stay in the room to keep them both quiet until they are back to sleep?

    • Evelyn
      February 18, 2016

      Hi Ashley! Yes, we’ve had many nights like that. Usually the baby wakes up Kid2 or vise-versa and I’m right there with you– tears are abundant in those moments! This is one of those things that you’ll find out what works for you family and, ultimately, what you can handle at any given moment. πŸ˜‰ My husband sometimes will actually lie on the floor if it helps an older kiddo get back to sleep easier. Or we’ll pull the older one out for a quick cuddle and a glass of milk and then re-settle him once the baby is actually asleep again.
      I had fun browsing your blog. Your family is so cute! πŸ™‚

    • Jen
      August 5, 2016

      Have you tried some sort of white noise? I have 3 kids in one small room and a fan seems to make it easier.

  • Rachel
    February 18, 2016

    Love this inside look at room sharing for 2+ kids. We are in a similar stage but just with 3. Our baby had a brief stint in with the older two but he started waking them up more/they started waking him up so he now sleeps in our office/den. I’ve resigned myself to the room shuffle until he is ready to move into the bottom bunk of our toddler bunks and we get a single lofted bed for our oldest.
    What a great post!!!

    • Evelyn
      February 18, 2016

      In these early years, you find out what works for you and you stick with it. πŸ˜‰ Sounds like you’ve got a great plan! Thanks Rachel.

  • Annaleah
    February 18, 2016

    This is very similar to how we make it work with our five in the same room. They all go to bed together, and it usually works great, with occasional reminders to be quiet. Mornings can be tricky, since my kids wake up early, too. Several years ago we purchased a Tot Clock, and that was a game changer. They slept better and stayed in their beds until it was time to get up. We also have covered windows with blankets to make their room darker, and that has helped them sleep better as well. Kids that wake up early are allowed to get up and go potty, then return to bed, but we try to teach them to respect their sleeping siblings and do it quietly. Obviously some days are better than others. πŸ™‚ I don’t allow kids to talk or make noise when they are in their beds, and that is dealt with just like other discipline issues. We, too, do some sleep training, and babies stay in our room until they are sleeping well at night and grow out of the Moses basket (usually around 6 months), though we’ve also had kids that have slept together since birth. I have found that they get used to sleeping through noises, and most of the time even the baby crying for a little while at night doesn’t wake anyone up. For naps, I put any sleepers down together, just like at night, and the rest of the kids are scattered throughout the house with quiet activities. Thanks for sharing your experiences! I have enjoyed reading what works for you! πŸ™‚

    • Evelyn
      February 18, 2016

      Hi Annaleah! Your system sounds nearly identical to ours! High Five. πŸ™‚ I just Googled a Tot Clock– it looks like something that would really be useful for these little ones. Thanks for the tip. πŸ™‚

  • Laura
    February 18, 2016

    Great post! I have two 2 year olds and a 6 month old sharing a room so I can relate… I do agree that the benefits of having everyone together outweigh the draw backs in the end!

    • Evelyn
      February 18, 2016

      Hi Laura! I like to think, too, that when the little ones aren’t so little it might be easier… but I’m not sure if that’s just wishful thinking. πŸ˜‰ Overall, yes– totally worth it! Thanks so much for commenting!

  • Cheryl Smih
    February 19, 2016

    You are doing such a great job, Evelyn! It sounds like a wonderful, disciplined routine that you have established. God bless you for the encouragement and help you provide through this blog!

    • Evelyn
      February 21, 2016

      Thank you for your encouragement Cheryl!

  • Linda
    February 20, 2016

    I worked in a nursery school where we would put down twenty children between the ages of two and four for a nap. It always amazed me that they all went to sleep.

    • Evelyn
      February 21, 2016

      WOW! Linda that’s downright inspiring. πŸ™‚ Kids can be amazing creatures no?

  • Meyli
    February 20, 2016

    I work in childcare and help put 6-7 toddlers (12 months to 3.5 years old) to sleep for nap each afternoon. The two most helpful things:
    1. Dark curtains that block out as much sun as possible.
    2. White noise machine. A fan works just as well; the constant static sound means I can still sit in the room and eat my lunch, but I don’t have to worry about waking anyone up if I crunch a carrot too loudly!
    Its wonderful that they all still nap. I suppose I’ll have to figure something out when the older ones start to grow out of it πŸ™‚

    • Evelyn
      February 21, 2016

      Hi Meyli! I agree with your tips. We have darkening shades and run a fan almost 24-7. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  • beverly
    February 22, 2016

    Evelyn, I really like the way this is all coming together.

  • Diana Smith
    May 7, 2016

    Our two kids (4 and 2) share a room in our 900sqft house, and we have a third on the way. Everyone says we need a bigger house, but I think I can make it work here with three. Obviously, it’s been done! Your blog will prove useful to me, I think. One thing I’d like to ask is, what do you plan to do when the kids are older? Especially with the different genders?

    • Evelyn
      May 9, 2016

      Hi Diana, congratulations on the upcoming baby and YESS!!!! You can totally make your home work with three kids. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. We are aware that our daughter won’t be able to share a room with her brothers forever. We plan on crossing that bridge when we come to it, but we will probably move her out in a couple years into our “study”. We’ll have to reevaluate room usage, but that’s part of joyfully living small! πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting.

  • Elizabeth
    January 25, 2017

    This was really great! We have 4, ages 20 months to 6 and people constantly give us a hard time about them all sharing a room. It is nice to see that we are not alone.

    p.s. I am so going to show my husband that awesome toddler bed bunk bed, that is EXACTLY what we have been looking for!

    • Evelyn
      January 26, 2017

      Hi Elizabeth! So fun to hear of other families who make their kiddos share on purpose. It’s not a cake walk, but the benefits are many. πŸ™‚

  • M Woods
    March 14, 2017

    Greetings! I know I’m a little late, but I am coming upon a year since I began embracing a minimalist lifestyle. It began for me with people and things. I have always liked the aesthetic of a sparse space, however I began to feel that 1. I owned many more things than I needed and as a result they weren’t being used and 2. I was keeping things and people around for the wrong reasons.

    I recently moved from a large suburban home to a small two bedroom apartment downtown in my city and I absolutely love the transition. I am a divorced mom of 4 children and they share a bedroom. When I saw this post it gave me so much reassurance. Because my children are happy! And its nice to know that others think the way I do!

    Thank you!

    • Evelyn
      March 17, 2017

      Hi M! Oh girl you are on a good track. πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you’re loving your downsize and that this post encouraged you. Yes, living small will be a huge blessing to both you and your children in the future. Keep it up, friend!

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