My two girls have been sharing a room for about six months now. Violet was around six months when two year old Nola crashed her pad and moved in with her. The girls are now one and three.
I asked your advice about room sharing in this post and the response was overwhelming. You all are definitely pro sharing. I loved each comment about how it worked for you practically. I loved Susie's comment about finding her girls together in the crib most mornings. One of my favorite responses was in a personal message from my friend Leslie. She put her girls in the same room at 18 months and 3 years, I think. She said she loved how it was teaching her older daughter to be more "considerate". Love that. I was inspired. I was nervous to do it, though. So when my mom came for a visit this summer, I put the girls together, and after my mom left I just kept them that way.
What I want to discuss here is why did I even want to do this? Ryan asked me this a lot when I was scheming about how we would make it work. He doesn't like to change things up unless absolutely necessary. Why change things that are going well? Here's the why.
We live in a modest 1300 square foot, typical suburban, West Omaha home. We have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The girls could each have their own room. In the United States our home is considered small, maybe average. In other countries, our home would be occupied by a family of ten. I heard somewhere (sorry I have no real source, but I'm sure it's true because I'm pretty sure I heard it on TV) that in our modern times the average American family is half the size it used to be, but the average American house is twice the size it used to be. As Americans, we tend to over do it. It felt so extravagant to me for the two tiniest people in our home to each have their own space for sleeping! I want my girls to grow up knowing how to appreciate what they have, and be satisfied with just enough. In our situation, I didn't think giving them each their own room would foster that attitude.
Also, I felt sharing a room would make the girls more flexible. We visit my parents in Missouri quite often, and it's nice to know they don't have to be separated to sleep well. They are used to each others noises. It's not a novelty for them to be together so Nola doesn't stay up giggling because she's in the same room with Violet. Or vice versa.
Safety was another thing for me. I'm not a big worrier, but I still feel better knowing the girls are together at night. If something were to happen to Violet, Nola is old enough to let us know. It may be silly, but somehow I feel better tucking them in at night and closing the door to just one room. We have a nice family bed time ritual that would be harder to do if they were in different rooms, as well.
Since the girls are tiny people who sleep in tiny beds, they are in the smallest bedroom in our house. I keep the items in their room slimmed down. Their room is for sleeping, dressing, and storing diapers. There are no toys in their room (I think I got that idea from Leslie, as well). Not even books. (I might change that, but so far no books.) I have learned that Nola thrives on order and having things put away. I... do not. Since I've removed the excess from her room, it's helped me keep her room tidier.
In keeping with the simplicity, they only have one dresser to share. Those of you with older girls may laugh at me, but I am DETERMINED that they will share a dresser as long as possible. Serenity tells me this will get difficult as the clothes in the dresser tend to increase in size with the matching children who wear them. And I have already encountered a problem now that I switched out to winter clothing. I have to be diligent about frequently removing the clothes they've grown out of or simply don't wear. Because, really, they have more clothes then they wear. Too many clothes means they don't end up wearing the ones we really like. Just enough clothes that you can see in a drawer means their cute clothes will actually get worn. (One way I test for this is I wait FOREVER to do laundry. Long enough that I feel like "the girls have nothing cute to wear!" This not-doing-laundry part is fairly easy. Then I go through their drawers, which are usually full even though there's a huge pile of dirty laundry, and get rid of what they aren't wearing. Either to a box for the future or a bag for goodwill. Which then inevitably sits in the garage for weeks before I actually get them to goodwill.)
Where are their toys? Believe it or not, we are not overwhelmed with toys. I LOVE this. The girls have plenty, but toys are not ruling our lives. Most of their toys are currently on a shelf in our third bedroom that we are attempting to make a multipurpose space, kind of like a den. That room is definitely a work in progress. They also have a play kitchen in our dining/kitchen area with a basket of baby toys in the fake fridge for Violet. It's nice for them to have some toys in the area we spend most of our time as a family.
So that's how we roll here at our house. Room sharing doesn't work for everyone, and it's not necessary for everyone. But it's working for us. If we ever have a third baby, I plan to squeeze all three into one bedroom. Hence all the pictures of bunk beds on my Pinterest board. :)