When & How Can Siblings Share A Room?

when and how can siblings share a room

Are you considering your children sharing a room? Whether it’s due to practicality and space, or because you want them to have the bonding experience of a shared bedroom, the transition can be both exciting and a little daunting. 

In this blog we’ll share tips on how and when to move your children into the same bedroom to help make the process as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

When can you move siblings into the same room?

There are going to be circumstances that are individual to your family that will influence the timing for when your little ones start to share a room. But there are some things to consider, and ways you can prepare, that can make it an easier change for you all.

First, and most important, are their ages. Safer sleep guidance is for your baby to sleep in the same room as you for at least the first six months. So, wait until your youngest is at least this age before moving siblings into the same room.

The next best piece of advice we always share is to hold off room sharing, if possible, until both children are sleeping well. If bedtimes are a battle, you’re experiencing lots of night time wakings, or very early wake-ups are an issue, then working on those sleep challenges first can make the experience of your children sharing a bedroom much smoother for everyone.

We want them, and you, to be as well rested as possible, so helping them get the best sleep they can independently can help them sleep much better together too.

If you need help with any sleep challenges, with you baby or their older sibling then our sleep courses will help you get their sleep on track:

    • Our 1.5-4 year course is perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers, so you can get a great bedtime routine in place, tackle middle of the night wake-ups and crack any early waking issues.

    • If your baby is 6-9 months or 10-18 months old then we have a course for each age group that will make sleep more predictable and feel confident your baby is sleeping well before they start to share their room with a sibling.

    • And you can get great sleep foundations in place from the start with our 0-5 month sleep course, so you’re all set for when they are old enough to move into a bedroom with their older sibling.

    • (If you have more than one child who needs help with their sleep, then check out our course bundles and you can get more than one course with a discount applied).

When you’re planning to move your children into the same room, think about the timing and anything else that might be happening around the same time. Try to avoid making the move while other significant life changes might be happening, such as the arrival of a new baby or starting nursery, as this can make it a more stressful experience.

Tips for preparing for siblings to share a room:

1: Communication is key: Talk to your children (or the older child at least if one is still very young) about the upcoming change and involve them in the process as much as possible. Explain why they’ll be sharing a room, set expectations, and reassure them that you’re there to help if they need it.

Make it clear to them what you need from them and what they can expect from you. Let them know that they can still call out for you if they need you, and reassure them that you can hear them, and the baby, so you will be there for either of them if they need you.

2: Talk about sharing and boundaries: Moving siblings into the same bedroom is an excellent opportunity to teach valuable lessons about sharing and respecting each other’s space. Be specific about the boundaries that you want to have in place and explain them in simple language so your children can understand what it means and why it matters. For example:

“If you hear your brother wake up, you can go back to sleep and get the rest you need. I can hear them and I will help them”

“You both have your own spaces to sleep in, we don’t climb in and out of each others beds/the cot. We all need to keep safe and get the rest we need”

“If you wake up in the morning before your sister wakes up, be nice and quiet so they can carry on sleeping”

3: Sync up sleep schedules: To minimise disruptions, try to get your children on the same sleep schedule. Aiming for them to go to bed and wake up around the same time, reducing the chances of one waking the other before they are ready.

4: Stagger Bedtimes if Necessary: If your children have different sleep needs or routines, it’s okay to stagger their bedtimes. For instance, if an older child needs to go to bed later, they can spend some quiet time outside the bedroom until it’s their turn to sleep.

5. Make it feel like a shared space. Even with a small room, you can create a room that feels personal to both children. They can choose their own bedding and have designated spaces where they can store their favourite books or toys. They can be part of setting up the room so they feel involved in the move.

Other things to think about...

As children get older, their need for privacy and their own space can become increasingly important. Some things to think about as they get older:

What is their relationship like? Do they get on well? They might need to know they can get space from each other from time to time, either by having some times they can be alone in their room to play or do homework, or have a designated spot somewhere else in the home where they can get some alone time. Talk to them about what they need and how you can help them, so you can keep the relationship harmonious.

Help them have some privacy. It can take some creativity in smaller rooms, but a curtain or screen can help give some separation so they feel like they are able to get some privacy when needed.

The NSPCC has some extra advice that can be really helpful for things to consider with older siblings sharing a room.