Same Room, Different Schedules

Hi,

Thanks for all the great advice on sleep & room sharing.

I would love for my boys to share a room, but I have one concern. My big (turns 6 this fall) will be getting up at 7:15 each morning to go to kindergarten. My little (16 months) usually sleeps until 9:30 am. Any tips for preserving the late morning sleep of one kiddo while getting another up and out the door?

More details: They regularly share a room when we travel or have company. The big will wake up on his own (around 8:30) and quietly slip out. However, he’s not so easy to get moving when he has to be woken up. He sleeps in his school outfit and will eat breakfast at school. The little will be on his own schedule (stays home) until fall 2020 when he starts part-time preschool.

Currently, they have their own rooms and we have a guest room, so there are no space-related reasons to put them together. More so that I’m interested in the relational benefits.

Thanks for any insight you can share.

Best,
LL

We haven’t really run into any serious problems when room-sharing kids operate on different schedules. Occasionally, yes, when one wakes up the other pops up and joins them, but 99% of the time the one who doesn’t NEED to wake up will simply roll back over and ignore the other one.  Your younger son might wake up during the first couple days out of curiosity and/or excitement on behalf of his big brother, but you can encourage him to lie back down after his brother leaves, or just to say bye-bye from his bed, or just remind him that he doesn’t need to get up or offer whatever sleep cue you might use at bedtime. (Offer him a lovey, back pat, music, whatever.)

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Our current two who share a room also share a morning school routine, but all summer we’ve typically had one in camp and one at home, and the “at-home” kid probably slept through the other one getting up and leaving on all but a very small handful of days. They’ve gotten very good at tuning each other out, at night and in the morning! One of the many benefits to room-sharing, I suppose.

If you’re still concerned, consider trying a few test runs on the weekends, or other mornings before school starts. Call it a sibling sleepover, and then wake your older one up just a little before his natural wake-up time and see what happens. (I’d probably just go in, gently pat him and then pick him up and let him fully wake up elsewhere, like in the bathroom or your room.) Then offer him something special for breakfast to justify the slightly unnecessary sleep interruption.

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But really, unless you plan to have your older child wake up with a SUPER LOUD alarm clock or getting him ready involves slamming closet doors and dresser drawers (which won’t be a problem since he sleeps in his clothes), I wouldn’t worry about this too much. Be prepared for a couple days of early waking from his brother because of mutual excitement/adjustment, but keep encouraging him to stay warm and cozy in bed. He’ll probably be happy to take that cue, given how late he naturally prefers to sleep. If he does wake up, try to factor that fact into his nap schedule or bedtime to prevent the monster cranks. But with time, they’ll likely learn to tune each other out, which is a fantastic skill for young siblings to have! (Cue the HE’S BREATHING MY AIIIIIRRRR complaints.)

Photo source: Depositphotos/oksun70

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