The newest trend in sleep: Sibling Bed Sharing.


siblingcosleepingI may have lied in the title.  As far as I know sibling bed sharing isn’t a trend.  It is however trending in the Rosas household and I’m getting excited about what this new bedtime tactic has afforded us: drama free bed time!

It all started last week.  My youngest son Everett decided that he no longer wanted to sleep in his own bed.  He got out of bed one night to find me and explained in his own way that he was afraid of the dark and of monsters.  It went something like this: “Rawr Rawr” he said as he pointed to a pirate ship coat hook on his wall and shook as if afraid.  Toddler charades are so fun, right?  Next he took off towards my room and pointed to tell me he wanted to sleep in my room with us.  I told him no.  We worked very hard to end his dependency on nursing and laying with me to go to sleep so I wasn’t about to back track.  I’m still working on night weaning him and having him sleep through the night…

Then it hit me!  What if he slept in the room with his brother for the night?  I had tried to have them sleep together before hoping Ev would learn to fall asleep on his own that way but it never worked.  This time Ev has learned to fall asleep independent of me so I thought it would be worth a shot.  Fletcher’s room lacked th “spooky” pirate ship also.

  “Everett, would you like to sleep with your brother in his room?”

  “YEAH!” he yelled excitedly and scurried off to his room.  

I directed him to be quiet and we snuck into the room, then I picked him up and put him in his brother’s twin sized bed.  Fletcher had already fallen asleep like the angel he is.  At first I thought I would get away with sneaking another person into his bed but Everett started talking to his brother.  I love the look on a child’s face when they wake from a deep sleep.  It is like they have no earthly idea where they are; they are so wide eyed and dreamy.  I’m sure he was dreaming about Transformers and saving the world from Decepticons.  I explained that his brother was afraid of the dark and thought he saw a monster in his room so he would like to sleep with his big brother.

“Your job is to keep him safe and in bed.” I told him.  He was more than up to the task.  I felt pretty good about my decision and left the two boys, wide awake, in bed together.

I didn’t have a monitor in Fletcher’s room and really wanted to know what was being said.  I overheard Fletcher tell his little brother that there was no such thing as monsters but that was it.  I walked away and held my breath.  

I continued to hear talking for a few minutes and then it was silent.  I marched in with my camera because of course… I had to get photographic evidence.  There were my boys sound asleep in the tiny twin bed.  It had worked!

Each night since then I have let the boys sleep together except I switched their rooms.  Everett isn’t afraid of his room as long as Fletcher or someone is with him.  Everett has a queen size bed so it makes more sense to have them share a bed there.  I’m pretty amazed at how well this is working.  Both boys really enjoy sharing a bed as far as I can tell.  When asked if he would rather sleep alone in his bed or room in with his brother Fletcher always wants to sleep with Everett.

The other bonus to them sleeping in Everett’s room is that I have a video monitor in there.  Last night Everett put up a fight because he was overtired.  It took a while for him to stop crying after I stopped nursing him.  He knew I would leave and he didn’t like the idea.  Fletcher meanwhile left the bed to get a late night snack.  When Everett calmed I left him, alone, just to see how it went.  No crying.  Fletcher went back to the room, Everett’s room, on his own accord and crawled in bed.  I just sat back and listened.

After about ten minutes of chatting about Transformers, monsters, and some wrestling I intervened.  I used the two-way function on the monitor. “Boys, it is time to go to sleep.  Put your heads on the pillow and go to bed.  Love you!”  Fletcher replied “How many minutes until you come in here?  10 minutes?  100 minutes?  2,500 minutes?  When?”  “No minutes… you can go to sleep now.  I’ll see you both in the morning.”  I heard Fletcher tell me goodnight and instruct his brother to go to sleep.  Then silence.

Some of you might be thinking that I am passing my parenting duties on to Fletcher.  To this I reply- Hell yeah I am!  I’ve been in charge of getting Everett to sleep by bouncing, rocking, nursing, patting, shhhing, singing, for over 2 years.  With the rare exception when his father was able to get him to bed it has been me.  Sometimes for over an hour each night.  When he started refusing to go to bed my first thought was “Oh crap.  I’m not ready to do this anymore.  I’m done.”  It was a fluke that the brother thing panned out.  I’ll be honest and say I have no other intentions with this bed sharing thing other than making my life easier.  I’m not all “I want my kids to sleep together because it will make them have a closer bond.” or whatever.  I was in survival mode.

I have no grand design in mind.  Will this be happening next week?  Next month?  In a year?  I know that I used to sleep in the bed with my sister (and yes, we cuddled) for what is probably an embarrassingly long amount of time.  Especially for my older sister!  She would help me to the bathroom when I was terrified of the dark in the middle of the night.  She took on a parenting role overnight and I relied on her for comfort, warmth, and as a level headed older sibling when I was afraid to put my feet on the ground next to the bed in the dark for fear of a monster grabbing them.  I can remember many nights of waking from a nightmare and having her calm me down.  I know firsthand how comforting having an older sibling to sleep with can be.  Lucky for me my Fletcher is an outstanding big brother (who can sleep through anything, including Everett crying multiple times a night) and enjoys looking after his little brother.  For now.

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  • Vee Sluys

    My almost 5 yr old and my 2 and a half yr old daughters share a double bed. It works great. My baby girl’s crib is in the same room. We have 3 bedrooms upstairs so hubby and I have the masterbedroom and then the 3 girls share one room as a bed room and the other as a playroom. I love it, they love it and hubby loves it!

  • I have two girls, 6 and 21 months. We only have two bedrooms so the small bedroom is a playroom and we all sleep together in the other room on a queen-size and a twin-size beds pushed together so there is TONS of space for us. I co-slept my oldest up until I had my second and tried to put her in her own bed. It worked for a while but I was the one who brought her back into bed with me and the baby because I missed having her sleep with me. I like the idea of them being together in their own bed and if I ever feel the need for my own space I will definately do that 🙂

  • Holly Uzun

    My boys (we had three in 4 years) have always slept together as well. It happened first when I realized they napped together every day and slept together then so well, that why not let them do it at night too? Worked and works perfectly. They had a double bed mattresses on the floor, and as soon as a baby was big enough to stand his own then he moved from the cradle or crib mattress in our room to the sibling bed in their room.
    Now they are bigger and our school aged boy sleeps “alone” in the bottom bunk, and his two little brothers sleep in a shared twin bed next to him.
    The advantages: Easier bedtime, camaraderie, and better, deeper, longer sleep for them, and thus for me. They don’t wake each other up if one needs potty, drink, mom, whatever during the night. They find comfort, warmth and security with the group bed. I know many many generations of people slept together as siblings, probably most of our grandparents included. Children don’t necessarily want their own rooms and beds.
    Now we have a bigger house (4 bed) and people assume we did that for the boys to have their own rooms. Nope. They continue to bunk together, and we plan to continue that as long as they are comfy with it. When they are older, one of the other bedrooms will be their extra room, for homework, hobbies, etc.
    Works for us! thanks for sharing! It’s very nice to hear about other families doing the same, as sometimes I feel judged odd for doing this.

  • Michelle

    My girls love sleeping together too 🙂 My daughters are 6, 4.5, and 2.5 and the middle and youngest have a bunk bed, but sleep on the bottom together every night. Before that, my middle daughter always slept with her older sister every night. They love to snuggle, and being next to someone is just a little less scary! I dont mind them coming in my bed, but i love that they feel the same love and safety with each other.

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  • Love this, thanks for sharing. My youngest is too young to cosleep with big bro right now but I want them to eventually bed share as needed. Our 29 mo old sleeps worse than baby though so we will see how it pans out.

  • Jillian

    I’m hoping my girls enjoying sleeping together when the youngest is old enough. She’s 7 months now & sleeps with me. My older daughter is 5. It’ll be so cute to see them cuddled up to each other 🙂

  • Chana Moriconi Putnam

    My kids all cosleep together. I call them my puppies. They all have their own rooms but love the companionship. My oldest is 9, my middle 8, and my youngest 3.