Tiny House Living with Kids: Sleeping Arrangements

For last month's edition of the Small Family Homes Blog Community, I wrote about our biggest small home regret: not planning well enough for the future when it comes to having enough bedrooms for a family.

Finding room for everyone when there aren't enough rooms for everyone is a tall order sometimes.

I shared back in May about some of our past sleeping arrangements, including one nine-month period of time after our older daughter was born when no one was sleeping in the bedroom. After a rocky start with a steep learning curve after Sunshine's birth, we adopted the policy of doing whatever works to get the most sleep for everyone. For us, that ended up being bed sharing, which was quite the shock since we were always determined not to be those parents. But sleep has always come hard for our firstborn, and the comfort of having at least one of us close to her has made all the difference in how much sleep everyone gets at our house.

We transitioned away from bed sharing this past summer when we transformed the "sleeping" room into a "sleep and play" room. The change has mostly been a positive one, though the adjustment has been hardest on our older daughter. She now sleeps on top of our hacked IKEA KURA loft bed, where she has her own locking vanity and shelves to keep her special things. Sweetheart, who is two, sleeps on her own bunk under her sister, and she, too, has her own shelves and space that is her own. Giving each child her own space was important to us for the long-term functioning of our family in our tiny house.

I currently sleep on the pull out trundle we designed out of an IKEA LONSET slatted bed base, and Chris sleeps upstairs in the loft. This is an unusual sleeping arrangement, but it's what works best for us all right now with Chris's work schedule and our young children. We'll continue to adjust as needed to fit our needs.

One of the hardest parts of only having one "real" enclosed bedroom with a door is getting everyone to sleep at night. In an ideal world, Chris and both girls would go to sleep at the same time, quietly and without much fuss.

My kids are not from an ideal world.

Sunshine is a very high energy child, and she has never transitioned well from being awake to being asleep. Even as a baby, she had to be put to sleep every single time. I can count on one hand the number of times that she has fallen asleep unexpectedly outside of the car when she is not sick. It just never happens. She needs that help to make that transition even now, and it makes our sleeping situation that much more complicated.

We've tried putting the girls to bed at the same time in the same room a few times, and it never ends well. Separating them at bedtime makes every night less of a battle for us all, so in our effort to do what works, Chris, Sunshine, and Sweetheart all go their separate ways when it's time to sleep. Sunshine heads into the bedroom, Chris goes upstairs, and I run through Sweetheart's bedtime routine in the living room. She usually goes to sleep easily enough unless she's slept too late that morning.

Sunshine is always awake when I finish with Sweetheart, so we read books and sing songs and cuddle until her brain finally figures out how to flip that switch from awake to asleep. Then I carry Sweetheart in and lay her on her bed and take an hour or two to myself before joining them in the bedroom later.

It would be nice to have another bedroom--one where Chris could go when the kids are being noisy or where I could put each girl to sleep in her own bed separately and quietly. Our situation is not ideal, but we make it work. It may look unusual to anyone used to living in a more traditional space, but it's normal for us, and we all sleep about as well as can be expected of any family with young children. We'll have to see what the future holds.

This post was written for inclusion in the October 2018 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you'd like to see us write about, let us know! 

Tiny Found Us -- "Sleeping Tiny in a Big House" :  Letting go of our ideals and getting the rest we need... why we share a bed with our kids. 

A Life Shift -- "How We Host a Dinner Party in 590 sq ft" : Why we kick Campbell out of his room - and where he sleeps instead - while we entertain guests in our 590 sq ft apartment. 

Tiny Shiny Home -- "Let's Talk About Beds Baby" :  I hope I got an old Salt-N-Pepa song stuck in your head. If not, just continue on with your day, but first read this post where I address where we all sleep in this tiny home on wheels!

Deeper Meaning Travels -- "How We Sleep in a Small Space (with kids)"  : Living in a small space can be a challenge, but add children into the mix. See how we sleep in a small space in our RV home, with our two children in tow. 

Little Bungalow -- "Formerly Known As Den?" : Mulling over all the sleeping arrangement options for our two girls in our two bedroom house. 

Tiny Ass Camper -- "Sleep Training Failure" : How sleeping in a small space with our kiddo has impacted our bedtime routines, for better or worse.