Whether it’s by choice or necessity, there comes a time for many families when the topic of sibling room-sharing becomes a reality. While every household’s situation is different, there are general rules of thumb that can make the transition a smooth one for the entire family. Read on for our top tips on making your kids’ shared bedroom a dream come true.

How to make sibling room-sharing a success

Rule #1: Have a Plan

If you have more than two kids, who will be sharing a room? What is the age difference between your children? Will you get bunk beds or separate beds? Will they share furniture or have their own? These are all important questions to ask yourself prior to transitioning your kids to the same room. Age, gender, and personality are all crucial factors that can make—or break—the effort to room-share.

For instance, if you have a newborn or baby who still wakes up multiple times throughout the night, it may be best to keep him or her in their own room until they’re at least three years of age and won’t disrupt their older siblings. While you think your older child(ren) will sleep through the night regardless of the noises they may encounter, it can still interfere with the quality of their sleep which is so important as they continue to grow and develop.

You’ll also need to consider the furniture setup for the shared bedroom. Aside from having their own bed, will they each have their own nightstand, dresser, and/or chest, or will they share any of these items? Depending on the ages of your children and the amount of personal space they require, this is an important question to ask. And it also leads us into our next rule…

Rule #2: Establish Boundaries

Regardless of your kids’ ages, they should have a spot in their room that they can feel is their own. Room-sharing may be an absolute blast for younger children who are close in age, but for older kids privacy will be essential and appreciated. For kids who share a bunk bed, it may be as simple as having the top and bottom bunk for each kid as their own personal space. But sometimes it’s a little more complicated, which requires you to get creative. Whether it’s a canopy or teepee in the corner of the room where they can go to “escape” or having exactly 50% of the room that is designated as their own, boundaries are important to establish from the beginning. And so is communicating respect for those boundaries to each of your children.

Rule #3: Honor Sleep Schedules

Just because your children are sharing a room doesn’t mean they’re sharing the same sleep schedule. Depending on the ages of your children, one child may need to go to bed earlier than the other. And this is perfectly okay! In order to make this work, communication is once again key. Communicate to the child who will be going to bed later what the expectations are. Maybe they’re allowed to remain in the room but must do a quiet activity until it’s their bedtime. Or maybe they’re allowed to stay up much later and hang out in another part of the house until it’s time to go to bed.

Rule #4: Set a Routine

Let’s face it: late-night chatter between siblings can be a blessing and a curse. It helps them form a closer bond, but it also makes for rough mornings if they stay up too late past bedtime. This is where a regular routine becomes a necessity. Some kids may benefit from a designated “quiet time” in their room prior to bedtime, while others may be able to go right from another room of the house to their own bed without any trouble.

When it’s time to go to sleep, some families may decide that a strict “lights out, no noise” policy is best, while other families may allow for some chatter after the lights are off—but only for a specific amount of time. Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer. The most important thing is that the entire family knows what the bedtime routine is and that the routine is consistent every night.

Rule #5: Have Fun!

Moving your kids into the same room can be a fun and exciting transition. It’s a great time to refresh the room and bring out the best of each child’s personality. Whether they want the same colors and theme or prefer to celebrate their individuality through different décor on their side of the room, it’s a great way to get your kids involved and excited about the transition. And remember: room-sharing only gets easier with time, so have fun with it!

Ready to shop for your kids’ new bedroom furniture? Check out our Youth Bed Style Guide!