Friday, November 16, 2007

Sleep Issues

Somebody likes Lightning McQueen, can you tell?
This boy finds it impossible to stay covered up at night!
My two boys are truly best friends. They play everything together, they love to dress alike and they LOVE to make each other laugh. A little over a year ago we decided they should share a bedroom (as a way of learning to get along and share, and also just to foster a positive and good relationship between the two). It has been great, and they absolutely LOVE sharing a room.

Here's the problem. They do not let each other go to sleep! We go through phases of this, for a while they will do fine and then they fall back into their old patterns. They don't (generally) get out of their beds, but they lay there (or sit there) and tell each other silly things, sometimes they'll throw things (like their blankets) back and forth, and they really just get more and more worked up and before you know it an hour (or two!) has passed and they are still awake!

Their bedtime is 7:30. When they are separated they both fall asleep right away. When left together, they don't fall asleep until after 9 or later--which is much too late for boys who are used to getting more sleep--and who get up at 6:30 am regardless of bedtime!

Here are the things we've tried: Bunk beds, separate beds, putting one child to bed earlier, putting both to bed earlier, disciplining them for talking, taking away special privledges, praying (with them and for them). And now I've run out of ideas. This is where you come in. Anyone have small children who do or did share a room? How did it go for you? What things worked or didn't work for you? Is it just a matter of waiting until they are a little older?

For now, we have set up a bed in the playroom. At bedtime, Jonah goes in there and Henry goes in their bedroom. I think we'll keep it like this through the holidays just to make sure everyone is getting enough sleep. The goal is certainly to get them back together, so maybe in January we'll try it again with some of the ideas I know you're going to toss my way! :)

And just for fun....a picture of the sleeping princess!


Grace said...

Oh my gosh, Lisa this sounds EXACTLY like my life! This is TOO funny and a little weird at the same time since it’s SO identical to my boys’ bedtime.

First, exact same issues with our boys. My boys love to share a room together. Since my oldest started school we had to separate them so he could get enough sleep. Our boys go to bed at 7:30p, too. They get up between 6a –6:30a, so early bedtime is a must around here. Out first attempt was that we put my oldest in our room and then moved him to his room once he fell asleep. It takes a little time before my youngest son falls asleep. But when we move the oldest into their room, the younger one is quiet. My boys get up same time regardless of bedtime, too!

Right now, they have once rejoined each other at bedtime and they have been doing great. However, my oldest is very tired that he’s out within minutes, which prevents them from playing or talking.

My boys’ room has a twin bed with a trundle bed. This does help a little more than when they share the bed together, one on each side. We have also pulled the beds further apart in hopes that they would go to sleep. However, this may have made it a fun challenge when “exchanging” blankets with one another. Yes, my boys to that, too!

Honestly, Lisa when I read this, I had to laugh (not in a bad way) because it’s a replica of our evening. I can’t wait to see the advice.

Grace said...

Sorry that my COMMENT was SO long...maybe I should have emailed it! :)

Heidi Jo said...

some combination of our kids have ALWAYS shared a room. now we have a bedroom available for each and they still share.

i understand the frustration...but does it really cause a lot of trouble? by that i mean if you read, say prayers, give kisses and then warn them that they can quietly talk but if you hear them from the living room they will be punished (for us, it may or may not be a spanking)...what happens?

i mean if they get up regardless at the same time, i know that the sleep is important...but eventually it will work itself out. our kids go back and forth with needing and not needing more sleep. for us, the bonds they are forming out weigh the few hours of sleep the actually miss in a month.

btw- i love the pictures of them risked waking them though:0)

Jennifer said...

Oh, this is just so interesting that you posted this! (Warning, I'm sure my comment is going to be as long as Grace's.) I have been thinking and thinking about this exact topic! It's so interesting to hear how it's going for you...and others...and I look forward to hearing more advice if there is some in your comments.

Right now my Kieran (almost 3) and Cullen (15 months) have separate rooms, on separate floors of the house. They sleep fabulously alone. New little Maisie sleeps in a cradle next to my bed, or in my bed, or in the closet in our room in a bassinette (Don't worry, it's a big closet! And she just sleeps there for some naps so it can be dark and the sound of her loud big brothers is somewhat dulled).

Here's the rub: there aren't any extra bedrooms right now. There is a huge room in our basement off our family room that COULD be a bedroom (it has the laundry in it, and a big workbench, also a door to the backyard and lake, so that would need to be taken care of so as to be a safe place to sleep...maybe some new walls put up and a door and egress window, etc...) but my mind keeps going back to how it would be if my boys slept together. I used to think I hated that idea. But now....I have heard so many stories of how close siblings are who share a room. I even thought they could even share a bed, but I'm not quite sure on that. And we're talking down the road a bit...Maisie can stay with us for a while. But the room that Cullen is in will be her nursery (it's already painted and decorated as such) so he needs to find a new room eventually. I just can't decide if sharing is a good idea. Mostly because I worry about missed sleep as you are worried about, Lisa. But I figure Cullen could just make up for it in his nap or maybed they'd sleep in? Doesn't sound like any of you are having that luck.

I also wonder about what age to start this at. And I wonder if I can have Cullen in a room with Kieran while Cullen is still in a crib and Kieran is in his bed. Anyone tried that? I guess we could always just give it a try and see how it works! Thanks for the post!!

~Just A Thought Ginger said...

Seems like yesterday that we went through this with Linds and Alicia. We ended up putting one in our bed until we were ready for sleep. Our girls always went to bed at 7:30 and this worked great. As they got older and it was getting difficult to carry them upstairs we put on a "tape" (no, there were no CD's :o) and told them they had to lay still and be quiet while listening to their favorite tape. By the time it was done we had sleeping girls everynight.

Our former house had a huge bedroom upstairs and we even added Jenna to the room for a while. That's when all the giggling started because she was always up to something making her sisters laugh.

Lisa H said...

Well, this is fun to see what goes on in other people's homes at bedtime!

Grace, I love that we seem to go through so much of the same things! :) We have pulled them apart before only to end up putting them back in the room together. They just really love it so much! And don't worry, I never mind long comments!

HJ, it isn't so much frustration (how can I really get frustrated when they're in their room laughing their heads off?) as the consequences of not getting enough sleep. Jonah does fine with little sleep, but Henry is a BEAR when he doesn't get enough. And he can't seem to make it up at nap time. We've tried exactly what you said (and we do spank) but that just gets them (Henry)more and more worked up. And as for the sleeping's worth it to get the sweet sleeping pictures! Nobody woke up this time....luckily! :)

Jennifer, even if it sounds horrible, I totally recommend putting siblings together! I actually feel badly for Bridget (my baby) since she (probably)won't have anyone to share with! We did have the boys together for a while when Jonah was still in the crib. I think it was actually easier than when he moved up to a bed. I obviously don't have all the answers, but it has been a really good thing for our family! :)

Ginger, I wondered if someone would mention tapes! We used to let the boys listen to tapes before bed, but they would just stay awake until it ended and then come out and ask us to start it over. We tried longer tapes and that just made them stay awake longer!

Thanks everyone, and keep the advice/ideas coming! :)

Shanygne said...

oh my goodness!! I have just spent 20 minutes thoroughly enjoying getting caught up on the photos of your kids!! Bridget looks soo long! How big is she these days??

Katie has found her thumb, too... and I'm kinda hoping she'll be like her big brother and give it up at some point, but I am okay with it, I guess... tho, still in the back of my mind I keep thinking 'it's so much easier to get rid of a pacifier!"... oh well. millions of kids have gotten thru it right? Happy babies are so much more fun...

Can't really help out on the bedtime dilemma, but I am sure you are getting great advice.

I hope we'll get another opportunity to see you and the fam soon!

michelle f said...

Try a daily reward that is affordable and that would really appeal to them. Perhaps a sticker chart and every night they go to sleep right away they get to put a sticker on their chart the next morning...after earning 5 stickers or whatever you decide they have a special date with dad, or go out for a special treat...whatever really appeals to them. Key is consistency...if you give in or are too easy on earning the stickers when they really aren't sleeping right away than it won't work.

We do a fun thing from accountability kids...that has worked awesome on numerous issues, esp. with Blake however your kids might be a bit small. Take a look...