July 9, 2020

Helping multiple children sleep in the same room

children's roomRaising children is one of the most difficult things that anyone can do in life. Children are wonderful but they bring a unique set of challenges and problems with them. Each child is a gifted and marvelous individual who will challenge you in remarkable ways. It can be particularly difficult to raise children in difficult economic circumstances. I can remember coming home from a low paying job to a small house, all in order to try to get several screaming children fed and into bed. I often thought about how much easier it would be to return home to a larger house where there was room for the children to play. I thought about how much easier it would be if each child had their own room where they felt they could express themselves. Unfortunately, we did not have the money to purchase a large home until much later in life, and when we did so our children had already left the home. If you are like we were, you had particular trouble putting several young children to bed, and especially when they all slept in the same room. I have known families where as many as four or five children slept in a small room together. In most of these cases I have found the parents exhausted after a long day of work and a night spent trying to keep their children asleep. Many parents in this situation find that their children wake up with various bruises and bumps after a night of intense fighting and argument.

There are all sorts of problems that confront parents with not enough room for their children. It is extremely hard to get children to sleep in their own rooms, but especially difficult when they have their siblings present. Instead of sleeping you can continue to play, annoy, or fight with your siblings. With these sorts of opportunities the last thing your children will want to do is to be quiet and sleep for eight hours. Essentially what happens is that your children start to think of every night as a big sleepover, or atleast a chance to torture their siblings. With so many opportunities for distraction it will be especially hard for your children to get some sleep, and who can blame them. The consequences are that your children will be sleepy and might not do as well in school. The other problem is that they might keep you, your spouse, or the other children awake. So how can you fix this seemingly hopeless situation?

The first thing you need to do is to realize that you won’t get anywhere by getting angry and screaming at your children. In this case your children will simply turn their backs on you and talk when the door is closed. A far better strategy is to use a reward system to get your children to sleep on time. Promise all of them some sort of much sought after reward if they will promptly go to sleep at bed time. Another option is to put the children to sleep at slightly different times. If each child is asleep when the next one comes into the room there will be much less of a chance of a disruption. If one child is particularly disruptive focus your energy on this child and consider having them sleep in the living room. Think about the particular needs of your family and you should be able to develop a plan that will work for you and your children.

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