sleep routines with a shared children’s room.

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LOVE TAZA sharedroom bedtime routine3

i wanted to do a follow up post to my most recent nursery tour post all about sleep and how we manage it with our three kids sharing a bedroom here in the city. i actually did a blog post all about sleep a few years ago when conrad was just six months old, if you’d like to check that post out as well. much is still the same when it comes to how we structure it all and what goes down.

i find it so interesting how much i’m asked about how we make our two bedroom apartment work for our family, especially the shared bedroom situation for the kids. i think we must just be a really tight knit family who enjoys being together the majority of our time, because as of now, we’ve really had little issues with it. in fact, once when we were staying in our friend’s 4 story townhouse in Washington, D.C. that had countless bedrooms, we all ended up in on the same floor in rooms close together by the end of the night. haha! it’s how it usually goes whenever we travel these days. everyone just sleeps better when we’re somewhat close together.  i’m sure as the kids grow older, they will want and appreciate a little more personal space, but for now, they are just fine with their room and i can’t imagine doing it differently. of course every family and child and situation is different, and i’m always a little hesitant to share on these sorts of topics because of that, but since it’s such a frequently asked question, i wanted to just share how we do it in our family.

our kids have only ever known sharing a room. and in an urban setting no less where many of the city sounds often come through our windows at any given hour. i think this has actually worked to our advantage however, because once our kids are asleep, they don’t get woken very easily! they’ll sleep through a siren or car horn outside, and when one of them wakes up in the night, it is so rare they wake the others. this is what i also credit to my kids being incredible stroller nappers. they sleep so well on the go (when they did nap, now it’s only conrad!) regardless of how loud the bustling city is around us. it’s been a major plus of getting out and about to explore each day knowing we don’t have to run home for naps midday.

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OUR BEDTIME ROUTINE

we try to stick to a structured routine and set bedtime these days because our morning starts early with school, and we really can tell the difference in our littles when they are well rested. our kids are so tired and exhausted by the end of the day, that they are ready (and often willing) to begin getting ready for bed right after dinner.  we work hard to communicate and explain to them the need for sleep, what time bedtime is, when dinner is, with frequent reminders of how much longer it is until we eat and go to bed so they aren’t surprised.  while we often get out of our routines when we travel to different time zones, i think having some sort of structure around bedtime is super helpful for little ones, so we try our best to stick to our routine as best we can even when on the road.

after dinner, we’ll go straight into bedtime mode by getting into pajamas and brushing teeth. the kids can help us bring their water cups to the nursery (does anyone else have children that wake up insanely thirsty in the night?!), and we usually gather for stories together on conrad’s trundle bed as long as we are on schedule. if we don’t read books that particular evening, we like to do something one on one with each child in their bed or maybe sit in a circle and make up our own stories together instead. we do this by everyone taking a turn in the circle to come up with the next sentence. like, “once upon a time there was a dog named spot who visited his friend norbert the chicken at the park….” then the next person can take the story wherever they would like…. “norbert was actually just about to leave for the airport and fly to bermuda!…” etc etc. this is so much fun for all of us! even when we can’t really fully understand what conrad contributed during his turn. haha! we just go with it. but these stories get so silly and it’s a fun story telling game that everyone can participate in.

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GETTING THE KIDS TO SLEEP

after books and prayers (and closing our most blessed black out curtains! and taking several last drinks), josh and i will lay down with the kids until they fall asleep. i know people think we are crazy for still doing this, but it’s a routine we got into when we switched from co-sleeping and the occasional crib to toddler beds with eleanor and samson a million years ago as it always helped to lay down beside their little bed as they fell asleep so they didn’t get back up to play or run around. and somehow, it’s just evolved to laying beside each of them in their trundle or bunk bed until they are asleep now, too.  i will lay down in the trundle bed with conrad while josh lays on the bottom bunkbed with samson. if josh is away or i am away that evening, the other will just do the process beginning with laying with conrad first until he is asleep and then over to samson next.  the boys always fall asleep rather quickly (unless conrad has had a late nap), and then either josh or i will climb up and lay with eleanor in the top bunk until she’s fully asleep once they are down. this time is really special for us. i think it’s really calming for josh and me as much as it is for the kids. the days are so busy and crazy and go-go-go, it’s really rather nice to have those few minutes at the end of the day to just be beside each of our little ones and cuddle them up and remind them of how great they are, how much we love them, and all of the good things they do.  if josh and i are going out for the evening and aren’t home for bedtime, our sitter does this routine for us with the kids (thank goodness for finding incredible sitters over the years, right?!)  sometimes the kids fall asleep within a matter of seconds and we don’t need to stay in the room for long, and sometimes it takes much longer, but honestly i know there will come a day where we won’t be needed beside them, so i’m savoring it.  there was a time where we’d do bedtime in shifts and put one down at a time because they were a little chatty or silly, but these days we can usually put all three down at the same time because everyone is quite tired and ready to sleep or better at being patient for their turn to snuggle.

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DURING THE NIGHT

because our room is right next to the kids bedroom, we hear them in the night if they end up needing anything and call out for mama or papa (it’s rare.) BUT, conrad still does not sleep through the night well and we’re still working through this. it’s really tough. eleanor and samson did not sleep through the night until i fully weaned each of them from breastfeeding, so i figured t’d be the same for conrad when i weaned him this fall. but he’s holding strong and wanting to party in the night sometimes and yes, josh and i are kind of going mad in the process.  this is the only con to having them all in the same room. fortunately, he doesn’t ever wake the older two, and sometimes all it takes to get him back down is just putting a hand on his back or letting him know mama is near and having him lay back down and fall asleep. but other nights he is super chatty and so i bring him into our room so the older two kids can still have a restful sleep. it’s a process and we’re figuring out. i think he just wants some alone time and our full attention for a little while. i’ve talked to my pediatrician about it a lot and we’ve tried several different things, but we’re still trying to figure this one out. LOVE TAZA sharedroom bedtime routine1-6LOVE TAZA sharedroom bedtime routine1-7

THE MORNING ROUTINE

one of the reasons we get our kids to bed so early is because they all have internal alarm clocks that go off at the same time for each of them every morning no matter what time we put them down! and no matter how dark the room is! because they are in a shared room, they know that once they wake up, to come out of their room to ours or the front room quietly so they don’t disturb their siblings if they are still asleep. we’ll start our breakfast routine as everyone wakes up and comes out and work our way back into the nursery a little later in the morning to get dressed and make beds, play before school, etc.

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NOTHING SLEEP RELATED IS A FORWARD PROCESS

one of the best things josh and i have realized over the years is that when it comes to kids, it’s a process that truly ebbs and flows. remaining flexible and staying patient is always helpful.  there are growth spurts, days and nights where sickness strikes someone in the family and also time changes during travel that knock us out of routine and put us back at square one at times. i talked about this more at length in my first sleeping post, but understanding that it’s okay and also expected to have weeks where you aren’t making progress but maybe taking a few steps back when it comes to something with your little one is totally normal and okay. you’ll get back on track soon enough.

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so that’s what we do in our family. we don’t have this routine perfected, and like i said, still figuring out how to get conrad sleeping through the night, but that’s what seems to be working best for us with our shared nursery bedroom when it comes to our bedtime routines and shared spaces. i am so thankful for the relationships my little ones have with one another and while i know there may be times in the years to come when they aren’t as close as they are now, i hope that these early years of being together and building a solid foundation of love and closeness will show in other ways during their lives and that *hopefully* they’ll look out for each other always. a mom can dream, right? ;)

PS. the kids pajamas HERE and HERE. all of their bedding from HERE.  similar pajama pants of mine HERE and HERE.

  1. such a cute post! love that first picture of Samson!! Thank you for sharing – I feel better knowing we’re not the only ones who climb into bed with our kiddos to get them down ;)

  2. Mary

    Aw, thanks Naomi for making this post. It warms my heart to know I’m not the only mama who’s still lying with her little one (soon to be two!) until she falls asleep. It’s usually the best time of day for me (except for THOSE nights, you know what I mean). And I know I will miss these moments when my little girl is more grown, even the difficult nights.

  3. Rena

    Your routine really makes sense to me! When our children were little (now they are all grown-up) we had a similar routine that worked very well. And I shared also a room with my sister until I moved so I think this is definitely possible that childern share a room :)
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

  4. Casey

    We are right there with you and also share a room for our kiddos, third to come soon.. it’s worked mostly, except for a few bouts with our littlest (she’s now sleeping through the night thankfully..). I was curious.. when did you transition all the kids to “big kid” beds and how is Conrad doing with that? I’m a little weary to make the switch but bunk beds would definitely give us a lot more play space in their nursery :) thanks!

  5. Paige

    I applaud you for making the best out of your small living situation and making it work for your larger family! You are such a testament that you can make any situation work if you just try!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  6. Adriana

    Great post! My 5 year old and two year old daughters also share a room. We co-slept with each one when they were wee, and still lay with them until they fall asleep. I credit this practice with my 5 year old never having had a nightmare. My 2 year old is just a few weeks older than Conrad, and I swear, getting her to sleep through the night was as simple as making sure her feet were warm. Once we started putting socks on her at bedtime, boom! She sleeps through the night! Her older sister btw hates sleeping with socks on. Go figure! I noticed in the photos that Conrad’s feet are bare. It might not hurt to try socks. It was such a simple solution for us, and there seems to be scientific evidence in favour of the whole “you sleep better if you sleep with socks on” thing.

  7. fefe

    I love that you’re sharing posts like this! I feel like this is such a different glimpse into your life. Keep these posts coming!

    http://objectsicantafford.com

  8. Katie

    Wow you just made me feel so normal. We live in a one bedroom with our 14 month old daughter in LA and people can’t believe it. Even though I live in LA which you would think would be more liberal, I get so much flak for my living situation, for co-sleeping, and still breastfeeding.(which I’m trying to wein but isn’t going very well). I am wondering when you introduced a toddler bed for your first? Thank you for your post, it really means a lot when you’re surrounded by people most days who just don’t understand why you don’t sleep train and make your baby sleep in a crib.

  9. I lay down with my little girl until she falls asleep every night, and I love it. I cherish that time! Thank you thank you for helping to normalize gentle parenting!

    xo, brittany
    toddler approved green smoothie on my blog today!
    http://www.notablob.com

  10. Rebecca

    Great post and gives me hope for my two bedroom, two kid city life. My 5 month old is still in our room but hopefully so she will soon move down the hall with her sister, so my husband and I can have our room back. Now- potty training on the go in a city. Would love to know!

  11. hanna

    Your kids are all so cute! This is great advice for people with small living spaces! –Like Hanna

  12. Trisha

    wow- this has to be one of my favorite posts! Just getting a little validation and seeing that I am not alone! I co-sleep with my 16 month old girl, Sonny, and I would not have it any other way. I get lots of comments about laying with her until she falls asleep, and transitioning her, etc. but this is what is good for us. I am at work all day and laying with her at night, singing, giggling, hugging is the best time of my day! She gets so excited to go lay down at night too! It’s adorable. ok I’m getting misty eyed….ha! I love reading about other people and how they do this because sometimes I feel really alone. All the other moms I know just drop the baby in the crib and close the door. I just can’t do it. I’m still nursing her and have been interested to see if you would do a post on nursing and weaning. I have just been wanting her to wean naturally and I just don’t know if that will happen, haha. Anyway, thanks for this! And keep up the great work, your kids look healthy and happy and that’s all that matters!

  13. Oh I lay next my daughter too, and she mostly crawls on top of me and falls asleep like a koala, it feels like the best moments in life

  14. Love that you have such a close-knit family. I don’t have kids yet but am fully planning on having them share a bedroom. My sister and I shared until I was sophomore in high school, and even though I liked to eventually complain about it as I entered my teen years, I think it made us that much closer. So many nights I remember us lying in our beds just talking about anything and everything. Christmas Even we could NEVER sleep, so we’d stay up trying to figure out the best time to beg our parents to go downstairs to open presents. Memories I’ll always cherish. <3
    Also, can we talk about how Samson's haircut makes him look like a full blown teenager?!
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  15. Megan

    Thanks so much for sharing! I always loved when my parents would read my sister and I stories and lay in bed with us. I’m sure they will appreciate it as well.

  16. Jessica

    Love these photos! I think it’s so interesting to see what works for each family and I love that you have the patience to stay with them until they fall asleep.

    We have 6 kids in a 3 bedroom house. The baby is in a bassinet in our room for now, my daughter currently has her own room until her baby sister gets bigger, and my 4 boys (ages 1-8) share the other room. We have a simple routine where we brush teeth and change into pjs before everyone gets in bed. The 1 year old is in a pack and play and the 3 boys just rotate places on the bunk bed, depending where they want to sleep that night. We let them read with a reading light for as long as they want as long as they don’t get up and play. It works out really well and they all go to sleep really easily! I feel like we really lucked out with kids who go down easily. (And maybe that’s why we have 6 kids 😂) None of them try to leave their room to get drinks or anything and all of them have slept through the night since 2-3 months old (except baby #6 who still wants to wake up once at night at 5 months.) sorry for the wordy post! Once I start talking, I can’t stop!

  17. I loved reading this post. We have one kid in a two bedroom in DC and we’re hoping to stay here for a few years with one or two more kids.

  18. Ivy

    This makes so much sense. My siblings and I shared a room forever. We could sleep through earthquakes, storms, our dogs howling at the moon etc. And we were also super stealthy if we woke up before the others or woke in the middle of the night. I only remember being woken up a handful of times, and it was typically my little brother waking me up on purpose to walk him to the bathroom because he was scared to go alone. We never woke up my big sister cos she kind of scared us a lot. lol.

  19. Randi

    It’s always fun to hear other families’ routines and how they do things. Thank you for sharing. I see you’re potty training Conrad. I would love for you to do a post on potty training and any helpful tips.

    Xo,
    Randi
    http://eye-see-you-randi.blogspot.com

  20. Thanks so much for sharing! My kids start to share the room so all the advise are welcome!
    :)

    Where is Josh’s beard? O_O!!

    kisses from France!
    http://www.mapetitetribu.com

  21. Marine

    Hello Naomi,
    It’s the first time I’m writing a comment on your blog but I love it since a long time, almost 6 years now.
    I’m a french mum of two little boys : Victor (3) and Martin (almost 1) living in Paris.
    It’s comforting to read that you have issues with Conrad’s sleep (not that it is a good thing), but you seem to manage your family so perfectly, and I was shocked to read that Conrad had sleeping issues, I could not imagine by reading your blog.
    Anyway, Martin is in the same situation, 11 months without a complete night, it’s driving us crazy with my husband. We’re trying a lot of things but we still didn’t find the solution.
    In a few years, I’m sure I’ll regret those nights when my little man needs us and call us. And I also try to stay positive : no diseases, just sleeping issues ;)
    Thank you for sharing your lovely family and good spirit with us !
    (Sorry if my english is not perfect)

    Je vous embrasse,
    Marine

  22. When we were little, my brothers and I would pretend to fall asleep until our parents left the room and then we’d sneakily talk to each other. I remember one night so clearly when I thought my dad had left the room, so I started whispering to my brothers, “Okay they left! We can talk now!” And then my dad popped out (the bed was high and he was laying low on the ground beside the bed) and said, “Whaaaat??” And then my brothers and I giggled and hid under the covers and pretended to sleep again :P -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  23. Susan Davies

    My husband is Italian and children in Italy go to bed much later than the do here in the U.K. My son is 6 and is usually asleep by 8pm after a half hour bedtime routine. What time do yours go to bed as it looks so light in the room? It must be tricky to coincide all three bedtimes with a 2 yr old and a 6yr old? Love following your blog.

  24. Yeeling

    Just stumbled upon your site and wanted to say that your kids are adorable! Thank you for sharing your personal parenting stories!

    Love from Singapore,
    Yeeling

    http://artelounge.net

  25. I think it’s sweet that they share a room- even though it seems like there aren’t a lot of options. ;) Seems like you’ve got a good thing going, and your kiddos are adorable.

  26. Siheme

    Hello Naomi,

    My son Noah is almost 6 and I lay in bed next to him until he falls asleep. Usually, it takes 15 min. Sometimes I fall asleep and I just need to make sure the alarm clock is on so I don’t sleep in…ahah

  27. Cassie

    I’ve always cherished that time I spent laying beside my babies to put them to sleep. I still do it with my youngest (who is 6.) The time really is fleeting, and it helps me unwind at the end of the day and show that extra little bit of love.

  28. Kirsten

    Cute pictures – it looks like they really love reading which is great!!

    -Kirsten // http://www.porkandcookies.com // Latest post – Living in NYC (3 months)

  29. Laura

    Hey Naomi, maybe you have posted about this before but I googled and can’t find it. Do you have tips about dealing with jetlag for kids? We will be traveling to Europe for Christmas this year with our (then) 4yo and 1yo. The thing I’m most worried about is dealing with their jetlag. Any tips?

  30. Julie

    Evening from London Naomi! It was so interesting to read your bedtime routine post. We also live in a 2 bedroom flat in London – the price to pay to live in an exciting (but pricey) city. For me, it’s something that I was used to. My parents, my 2 sisters and I also lived in a 2 bedroom flat most of our lives in Paris so it’s not a big deal. For my husband it’s more of an issue. Anyway, we made the decision to give up our bedroom for the kids so our youngest who is the same age as Conrad has her own bedroom so that she can sleep longer and have her early afternoon nap in peace and our 2 oldest 2 share a bedroom while we sleep on the sofa bed in the lounge. I am so impressed you and Josh lie down next to each of your children until they fall asleep. I think I would fall asleep next to them if I did that every evening;)!! My husband and I put the kids to bed together unless my husband has got business commitments and we put a lot of attention into reading stories with them every single night. The older 2 can read by themselves but we still love reading them a tale and our youngest is so fond of stories she keeps asking for more. For us, it really works to stick to the same bedtime routine and bedtime hour. No screen time between diner and bedtime and like you, we feel it’s important they get as much sleep as possible as it really shows the following day if they haven’t had enough rest (tears, moods…). Thanks for sharing with us this very personal time of your family time, I really enjoyed reading it. I hope Conrad starts sleeping through soon! Have a great weekend. Julie xx

    http://www.jafinthebox.com

  31. Hannah

    I love their bedroom! Everyone thinks you have to have a massive house to have 3 kids but it’s all about using the space well. You have created a lovely space for your little ones to grow up in!

    https://chausadventure.wordpress.com

  32. remaliah

    I loved reading this. I just love these glimpses of your sweet family and reading about what you do and why. It has given me some good ideas for ours, even though our little ones all have separate rooms! Thanks for sharing :)

  33. Bodil

    Thanks for a lovely blog and for sharing this post! I’m also a mother of three, our son is 8 y, and has his own room. Our daughters (2,5 y and soon 5 y) share a room. We have experienced a few challenges over the years, right now the girls bedtime-routines takes ages and none of them sleep through the night. We have the same routine every night, we read and then we sit with them until they fall asleep, but it can be a exhausing process. All three children have been quite challenging when it comes to sleeping. I feel the need to constantly re-evaluate our routines, but it also feels like I’m always “one step behind”. Our son was almost 6 y before he learned to “put himself to sleep” and started to sleep through the night. He still fall a sleep quite late and usually wake up early. They all stopped napping quite early too. So true what you wrote, it really is a process that “ebbs and flows”…

  34. Our younger girls shared a room until last year – when they were 10 and 12 years old. They now have rooms next door to one another, and shout their conversations through the wall…

  35. Ashley

    Great post as always!! Definitely gonna use some of these tips.
    I remember you stating you make Your big girl lunch, can you
    Show us- what do you feed her? I get so stumped lately.

  36. What a great routine you have. Some really awesome tips. Thank you for sharing!

  37. Melissah Morrison

    Hi Naomi!

    This is the first time I’ve commented but I’ve followed your blog for years, and I always get a renewed enthusiasm for parenting after reading g your posts. Loved reading this post. I have 2 boys (3 and 1) and they share a room. I just wondered if you have any of the kiddos getting out of bed and coming into yours? We’re struggling with this st the moment with our 3 year old. We also stay with them until they are asleep. Bye from Australia!

  38. Brandi

    Hi Naomi,

    I have a question regarding how you went about weaned Eleanor knowing you were having Samson?
    I have a 17 month old who loves to nurse however I just found out I will be welcoming another baby September 2017. I’m just looking for some input.

    Did you still nurse Eleanor while nursing Samson? Was Eleanor ever upset mama was nursing the new baby?

    Thank you in advance 💕

  39. Honestly I think this is one of the very best posts you’ve ever written. I love that you have such a lovely gentle parenting style, and it’s so nice to read someone being open and honest about their sleep routine, especially in reference to co-sleeping!!

    Thank you!

  40. Melissa

    I love your bedtime routine. We started a bedtime routine with Arren Yuki at one month, hes two months now and somehow seems to carry a little pocket watch on him that tells him when I’m running a little late with his bedtime routine haha. He keeps me on track!

    http://www.melodramaticadventures.com

  41. Laura

    I love this, thank you for sharing it.
    My kids are each about 6 months younger than yours, and all share a room. I love the trundle bed and that it works for you. We’re about to need to figure out what our “next step” is.
    I love that you lie down with each of them each night. One of us stays in our girls’ room until they’re all asleep, but how special for them to have that one on one time with you.

  42. Janet

    Hi Naomi,

    I always enjoyed your posts. I especially love seeing you and children all reading together. You are very blessed and it shows because you are with your whole family. There’s nothing better than being together. Thank you for sharing your happy family.

  43. Celina

    Great Post! Question for you – Do you get up BEFORE your little get up or do you get up with them? Ive been trying to get up before my 5 mo and 3 yr old to be prepared and already dressed by in just so tired most days that I wake up with them!

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