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How Do I Get My Children Who Share a Room to Go to Sleep?

Let’s say you’ve worked hard to come up with a plan to get your kids sleeping through the night. You developed a routine and stuck to it until it became a healthy habit.

Now let’s say you have two kids, and one has taken to it wonderfully and the other, not so much. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except that they share a room. While one child might dutifully brush her teeth and quietly settle into bed with her stuffed rabbit at the same time every night, the other is intent on wreaking havoc by protesting everything from the lights going out to having to wear pajamas. She inevitably gets the other riled up when you’re not in the room and you have to make five trips down the hall to stop them from jumping on the bed.

So what do you do? If building an addition onto the house to deal with the problem is not an option, then your two little roommates will have to learn to work together.

I wish I could tell you there was one guaranteed way to get two children to calm down when sharing a room, but unfortunately there’s not. And you also can’t force anyone to go to sleep. But stick to the plan with both kids, and make sure there are consequences for the one who causes the disruptions.

Even if the kids aren’t complaining or refusing to go to bed, there is often the issue of kids deciding it’s party time as soon as the lights go out. One thing you can do in this situation is allow a certain amount of time to play once they’re in bed. This lets them feel like they are getting their way, at least to a certain extent, and gives them the excitement of playing in the dark. Try setting a timer for about ten minutes. Be clear that when the timer goes off, it’s time to be in bed and be quiet. For added incentive, you can tell them they will get a small reward in the morning for settling down. For example, you could add chocolate chips to their pancakes or allow them an extra ten minutes of TV.

If the timer goes off and they are still playing or talking, be very clear that this is not acceptable. If they usually sleep with the door open, you can tell them the door will stay closed for two minutes and then you will give them another chance. If the fooling around continues, close the door all the way for four minutes and so on until they decide it makes better sense to be quiet.

This can also work with kids’ favorite stuffed animals or special toys that they like to sleep with. Taking these items away for increasing increments of time is an effective way to discourage bad choices and encourage good ones.

Staying consistent and not allowing the play to carry on past the timer is crucial for success. If you stick to the plan, your children should be peacefully sleeping in the same room in no time at all.

Also, if you are facing behavior problems in your children like whining, tantrums, not listening, or other issues, check out Kids: The Manual. It’s a child-friendly system designed to help you address some of the most common behavioral challenges of children ages 2-12!

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The Sleep Sense Philosophy

Cry-it-out? Coddle? Co-sleep? Attachment parenting? Ferberizing?
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Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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