Why My Boys Share a Room (and tips for making it work) - Intentional By Grace
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Why My Boys Share a Bedroom {and Tips for Making it Work}

My boys share a bedroom. They are currently four years old and 19 months old. They’ve been sharing a bedroom since my littlest was four months old.

There have been times in the last year that I’ve wondered why on earth we decided to subject ourselves to this torture, but in the end, it’s always a craving for temporary comforts rather than long-term benefits.

The majority of the time there isn’t a problem with their sharing a bedroom, and honestly I think they both are better off for it even now at this young age.

I’ve been asked by more than a few people why my boys don’t have their own bedrooms (we’ve always had enough bedrooms for them to have their own), as well as advice on making it work. Therefore, I thought a post would be a good way to share more about our arrangement as well as the why behind my boys sharing a bedroom.

Why My Boys Share a Room (and tips for making it work) - Intentional By Grace

Why My Boys Share a Bedroom

1. Promote family togetherness

We are currently in the process of finding a new house to make into a home. Our top priorities for the house we will buy is for it to have an open floor plan in the living areas, have office space for my husband and I to work (we both work from home), a bedroom suite for Mommy and Daddy, a bedroom for the boys, and a place we can dedicate to corralling our homeschool supplies and books.

We’re not looking for a house that allows our children ample space to getaway and be alone behind a closed bedroom door. We want our home to promote family togetherness. Our children’s bedrooms are for sleeping. That’s about it.

As they grow, we will carve out time and a place for quiet and solitude because as a fellow introvert, I get that need. I’m sensitive to it, and I know it’s important to have that time. However, the answer for us is not a bedroom all to themselves.

day in the life bedroom

2. Establish accountability

I don’t get my own bedroom as a married adult. I didn’t have my own bedroom as a child. I shared a dorm room in college. I had roommates post college.

When it comes to the life stages the Lord has placed me in, I believe room and space sharing is a natural way in which He has provided accountability for me.

We’re created to live in community. We’re created to love our neighbor as ourselves, and though there are ways we can do this that don’t involve sharing a bedroom, I think it’s a great way to learn to love our neighbor.

Our children sharing a bedroom will bring greater accountability into their lives as they grow into mature adults. They learn to serve another in how they share the space (because I’m likely training a husband over here). They have to deal with conflict and grow through biblical resolution. They have less time alone for secret endeavors. And the list goes on and on!

3. Stay within our means

We currently have two little boys running around our home, but we do hope to add more children to our mix. At least it’s our prayer as we trust the Lord with our family size.

By having our boys share a bedroom, we limit the house size we need. This helps us to live within our means instead of extending ourselves too far to provide bedrooms for everyone in our crew.

4. Makes transitions easier

This one came to me after the fact. I had completely finished outlining this post when this thought came to me.

We move a lot as a family. We’re not military. We’re just strange and keep saying, “Yes, Lord.” It is my prayer that the Lord has us where He wants us for the long-haul, but we’ll see. I’m not holding my breath or putting my hope in my earthly residence.

But I digress a bit. The point is that our lives are a constant transition right now. We have found that our boys sharing a room together has made all of these transitions easier for them.

It only took them a couple of nights to acclimate to their surroundings because they were together. They weren’t alone in a big, new room. Sharing a bedroom eased our transition and will hopefully ease the next one as we move into our own home soon.

Why My Boys Share a Room (and tips for making it work) - Intentional By Grace

Tips for Children Sharing a Bedroom

1. Start them young

Once my youngest moved out of our bedroom because he was sleeping for longer stretches at night, he was ready to move in with his brother.

However, I wasn’t ready for him to move in with his brother just yet. I was scared that it wouldn’t work. I set my littlest up in his own room for another month or so. It was horrible. It didn’t work for us at all.

I moved my youngest in with his brother and even though some nights were hard, it was easier to have them together than separate. I can’t really explain why. It certainly didn’t feel easier at the time, but hindsight says that it was.

Starting them young has helped sharing a bedroom to be a normal part of their life. It’s just the way things are for them and it has never occurred to them that it could be different.

2. Be in it for the long haul

When you first put them in the room together, it will seem pointless. It’s all so new! They are children and they will act like children.

They’ll talk and giggle and maybe even climb in bed with one another. They’ll have a harder time falling asleep, and you’ll extend the bedtime well past the mark you prefer.

But it’s short lived. The new will wear off and they will get used to being together. It will be routine soon. It gets easier with time.

3. Choose bedroom furniture that fits

When my oldest was born, people kept asking me what sort of nursery he’d have and what my colors were and on and on it went.

We didn’t have a nursery. I didn’t slap a beautiful color of paint on the wall or have pretty monogrammed blankets. Quite frankly, we couldn’t afford it, and we didn’t have the space!

As they have grown, I’ve found that the temptation to have Pinterest-perfect rooms grows with them. I love to decorate! I love Pinterest too! I like themed-birthday parties and choosing color pallets for my kitchen.

However, my children’s bedroom (or any room) is not mandatory for it to be fancified (I’m making that word up) from the start. Sometimes you just have to choose what works from season to season. Live within your means and be okay with it.

IMG_7224

Right now, my boys have a cute (to us) primary color theme (with superheros and random car rug thrown in) that’s simple and changes with them as they grow. Choosing beds that fit the room and dressers to hold their clothes that are modest and fits safely into the room is important to making it work.

4. Stick to a bedtime routine

Just like we have a morning routine for our boys, we also have a bedtime routine for them as well. Our bedtime routine starts after dinner around 6:30pm, and we’ve stuck to it pretty closely since my oldest was about four months old. Yep. My oldest. You read that right. We’re big on routines around here! 😉

Our Children’s Bedtime Routine:

Once we start the routine, we move from one thing to the next without a lot of stalling in between. Occasionally, bath time will go quickly and they’ll get some wrestle time with Daddy before stories. This helps our youngest get all of his extra wiggles out as he’s much more active than our oldest.

We don’t put our boys to bed at different times. They go to bed together. There have been nights that my oldest falls asleep while the youngest pitches a good little fit about the sadness he feels over bedtime. Other days they’re both wailing until they giggle at each other for crying too. But most nights, they whisper their good nights and settle right into sleep!

We have found they both fall asleep faster when they go to bed together rather than separately.

5. Train them to obey

Obedience is a constant work in progress in our home. I’m sure it is in your home too.

I think bed time obedience starts with day time obedience. Training our children to obey our instructions is important to making bedroom sharing easier.

6. Use a fan or white noise machine

A big concern we had was whether or not our youngest would disturb our oldest’s sleep when he woke for a night feeding. We needn’t have worried. Not once did my oldest seem disturbed by the little one’s cries. If he did wake up, he merely smiled at me sitting in the rocker and went right back to sleep.

We did find that a box fan in the room helps to cut down on any extra noise either of them makes (or we make from outside the room).

This is what works for my family.

If your children don’t share a bedroom, this is in no way of a judgment of you. I definitely see the benefits of both ways, and this is what works for our family. We’re free in Christ to choose for our own families!

I think my issue comes with entitlement. The thought that my children deserve to have their own bedroom and I need a bigger house to provide it bugs me.

Sometimes people try to make me feel guilty for “forcing” our children to share a room. I can guarantee you that right now my children don’t see it that way. They love it!

What about you? Do your children share a bedroom? What pros and cons have you found? What tips do you have for making it work?

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25 Comments

  1. I think room sharing is the most normal thing in the world. I mean it is probably more common that kids share a room then not in the whole world. It is only the last few decades that we have been all about this private room business.

    I think it is great that your boys do share a room and I am sure they will thank you in the end.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I think it’s wonderful that your boys share a room. My husband and I have 9 children. Our 3 of 4 youngest boys share a room. It works for us. They love it. Will be adding our youngest son soon.

  2. Thanks for always helping open my mind to new things! God uses your blog in our lives often! I have thought about moving our children so they would share a room. Just curious what your thoughts are about different genders. Our 5 year old is a boy and 2 year old is a girl. Interested in your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. I don’t have a little girl, but it’s our plan (if the Lord gives us a girl this side of Heaven) to have them (all) share the room until they are older. How old is yet to be determined, but we would definitely start them out in the same room! Then, I would take it year by year. 🙂

      1. I stumble upon this and thank you.
        I am putting my boys all together and my husband and I work from. Home as well, so this is inspiring and very encouraging. Thank you again

    2. As a girl, I first shared a room with my older sister until I was around 5 years old…had my own room for a couple years and then had my little brother move into my room when he was done with his crib.
      I definitely remember that sharing a room with my sister made the transition to a new house much easier, but I was pretty young to really remember much beyond that.
      I remember begging my mom to let my little brother move into my room and would say that is a large part of why we are so close. (Don’t get me wrong, I love both my siblings, but I have more in common with my brother and our inside jokes sometimes verge on a secret language.) We shared a room until our older sister went to college – shortly before I started high school.
      Very rarely, someone outside of our family would comment that it was weird that we didn’t segregate our family by gender…but it worked much better for us. My sister and I tend to argue more because we have very different personalities, so it is worth considering the temperament and tidiness of siblings before deciding how they will room-share. Additionally, as a middle child, I would have been very resentful/hurt to have to move out of my room for it to become a “boy’s room”. Plus, if anyone is likely to need/want personal space, it would make sense for the oldest child to keep their own space.
      As far as how to make it go more smoothly…Make sure you manage the children’s expectations for what sharing a room means (who gets to decorate what areas or how to settle disputes when one of them wants to put up a giant 3×5 ft poster that the other finds horrendous!) Also, what are your plans/suggestions when one child wants some alone time? (We had plenty of outdoor space and an extra bathroom for when I wanted to get away.)
      Just be thoughtful about how you set up room-sharing for your kids and considerate of their feelings…gender was never an issue for us. If anything, I think it tended to make both of us more comfortable with the opposite sex and less prone to stereotyping or gender expectations.

      1. I love this! I have thought about room sharing a lot ( I am a first time mom and don’t quite know what we’ll do when our second comes along) and have always wondered when is “too old” for boy/girl siblings to share a room. Nice to know it worked out well for you guys.

  3. Love this post! We have wanted our girls to share a room, but waited until the baby was totally weaned from nursing. We had the space and this worked for us. They are 1 and 2.5, and they move in together in 2 weeks! I admit I am nervous because they do so well in their own rooms, so I really appreciate your encouragement. Also, we knew we wanted them to share a room, but couldn’t put all the reasons into words. Your list is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I don’t have a little girl, but it’s our plan (if the Lord gives us a girl this side of Heaven) is to have them share the room until they are older. How old is yet to be determined, but we would definitely start them out in the same room.

  4. I agree with a lot of your thinking here, but am also curious if you would feel the same way if it was a boy and a girl. Also, one key to making it work in my mind is making sure morning wake up time is reasonable. When my kids have shared they would wake eachother up too early (630) and get loud quickly instead of sleeping in until their usual 730. when they are separated, when one wakes up early it is no problem for them to play or talk quietly to themselves until it is time to get out of bed. But maybe the early waking problem would go away with time?

    1. I don’t have a little girl, but it’s our plan (if the Lord gives us a girl this side of Heaven) to have them share the room until they are older. How old is yet to be determined, but we would definitely start them out in the same room. As for morning wake up time, oh my, yes! It can definitely be a challenge, but our oldest is learning to leave the room quietly. He has to sit on the couch quietly when he gets up until “go time.” So I think it’s still in the training and getting through that first bit of challenge. At least that’s how it has worked for us. 🙂

  5. Our girls have also always shared a bedroom. Like you, we put them together when my oldest was about two and her sister was 4 months. I worried about them waking each other up or keeping each other up, but they each sleep through the other’s noise no problem. With our latest move, our oldest has her own room (but she has to give it up when we have company over) and our youngest two are sharing, which has been good because our youngest (now two) really likes having her big sister (four) there when she’s going to bed. Usually the 2-year-old old drops off no problem while the 4-year-old takes a bit longer to fall asleep. Last summer, when my oldest two shared, they’d talk for an hour or two at night together before falling asleep. It made me laugh but they were in beds and quiet so it wasn’t a big deal. We’re expecting again so our oldest will have to share a room soon, but she wanted to have her own for a bit and we had the space here to do it so we decided to. Otherwise, I completely agree with your reasons and tips. Sounds similar to things we’ve talked about. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  6. I shared a room my whole growing up years and it never bothered me. There were times I wished we had a larger room (we lived in a mobile home), but I never remember wanting my own room. My husband had his own room for most of his growing up years, so we don’t always see eye to eye on the topic. Our son is 5 and has his own room and our girls, ages 2 & 3 share. I never thought about having all three share, but my son would love that! And it would free up space for a guest room!

  7. Our kids (both girls, about 4 and 7) have shared a room for the past 2 years. I’m surprised that people say kids should have their own rooms; several of my friends seemed to imply that kids are supposed to share rooms. It hasn’t been successful for us because the younger one never got properly sleep trained. We couldn’t/can’t let her cry it out in her room because then the older one loses sleep but needs to go to school in the morning. So, the younger one sleeps all over the house — one morning, I couldn’t find her — she had fallen asleep behind the recliner in the living room. She’s also scared of the dark and of whining neighborhood dogs and ambulance sirens/police cars and often ends up falling asleep in my bed (I NEVER allowed this with our first kid, but having two and working outside the home all day has really made me compromise). So, yes, they share a room but often don’t sleep in it together.

  8. I’m a middle child of 3 girls and never had a room of my own until I was well into my teens and I just wanted to put out there that sometimes it was frustrating shareing a room with my sisters but overall it was the absolute best times. We grew very close to each other and understood each other far better than my friends who all had thier own room. Also a major plus was that most of the time you got into trouble together so when that ment being grounded you always had someone to play with anyways. Lol. Also you grow up knowing that you dont need what everyone else has to be happy or to have a good time.

    1. Oh my, yes! It can be frustrating sharing a room, especially with an age gap. The benefits always outweighed the negatives for me even then. Love your grounding story! haha!

  9. My three girls shared a bedroom until the oldest started high school. DD1 was nearly four when her sister was born and they shared a room from the beginning – although the baby co-slept with mum and dad until she was around 2and a half. When she decided she was ready to sleep in her own bed the transition was easy as she was never expected to sleep alone.
    DD3 was born when her older sisters were 7 and a half and almost 4. Once again we co-slept until she was around 2and a half and then moved all three girls into a larger bedroom. Now that two girls are teenagers and in high school, all three girls gave their own rooms – but the youngest still sneaks into bed with me if she is feeling frightened or having trouble sleeping, and I don’t mind because I never expected her older sisters to have to sleep alone at her age.

  10. We have 3 boys, 11, 9 and 2.5 who share a room and a girl who is 6 months and still in with us. We only have a 3 bedroom home so room sharing is a given here.

    1. Come to think of it even when we had less children they still shared a room once they left ours.

  11. Hi Leigh, So we are in the first week of room sharing now and I want to go back to separate rooms, but husband says I need to give it another few weeks. Another few weeks without adequate sleep doesn’t sound good. I have two girls; a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old. We just moved the 2 year old in there and put her in a big girl bed. So, yes she went from crib and her own room to bed and sharing a room all in a few days. We figured why delay it. My struggle is 2 year old is regressing in sleep and the 4 year old is a light sleeper and constantly wakes and cannot easily get back to sleep. What am I doing wrong??

    1. I doubt you’re doing anything wrong. I read posts often about kids who sleep through the night and all the secrets the parents share. None of them work for us. Our boys do well in their own rooms, but one or both of them still end up in our bed in the middle of the night. They will get used to being in the room together though if it’s something important to you and your husband. Just be patient with the process. You’re doing good work. 🙂

      1. I also wanted to reply that we did the same thing with our almost four year old boy and two year old daughter. In one fell swoop we moved her from her crib in her own room to her big girl bed in big brothers room. We are about to have our third and like to let the baby have his/her own space until they sleep well. Admittedly the first few days I wanted to rip my hair out and I told my husband I thought we would never sleep again. Even now a few months in, they still get up to some shenanigans occasionally, but once they fall asleep they sleep all night in the room together with no issues, and the time it takes to get there has shortened significantly. I would say don’t give up! If you really want them to share, hang in there and they will most likely get used to it even if it does take a few weeks. You will be reaping the benefits later!