At what age do you make your kids sleep in their own room?
That’s the question that’s been pinging around my skull the past few months. Until recently, my daughters have always shared a room. Heck, they’ve mostly slept in the same bed even though there’s always been another one available. They’ve just wanted that closeness. The security.
About a year ago (probably more, my memory is shoddy on this), my oldest daughter began begging us for her own room – partly because she was getting older, but mostly because she doesn’t share any of her sister’s interests. A few months ago we broke down and converted our spare room into a fourth bedroom. Every kid now has their own bedroom. All is well, yes? Well, no.
Daughter number 2 still craves that security of sleeping in the same room as someone. She no longer needs to be in the same bed, but she finds it difficult to sleep in her own room. So, she’s been sleeping on the top bunk in her brother’s room, effectually making her room one big closet. I can accept this emotionally. I understand that she’s scared. However, I can’t keep letting that space go to waste. She’s gonna use it for her bedroom or she’s going to lose it.
DN2 turns 9 March 1 and I’ve set this date as her must-sleep-in-her-own-room cut-off date. After the first I’m requiring her to sleep in her room (of course there’s some flexibility here – weekends, special occasions, etc.). I’ve given her plenty of notice – I told her last night. I’m being rather accommodating – I told her to let us know what she needs to make her more comfortable. I’m willing to help within reason. Night light? Sure. Lamp? You bet! Set you up so you can watch movies? Uh huh. I stopped short of running satellite to her room, but I’m even thinking about how I might be able to do this (I’m short a line. I’ll have to splice an input and she’ll have to watch whatever’s on another TV).
Am I being unreasonable? Is it too much to expect for a nine-year-old to sleep in her own room? I realize that some kids grow up sleeping two or three to a room their entire life, but that, in a way, is my point. She’s got this benefit (that she doesn’t want to lose, by the way – she just doesn’t want to sleep in there) and she’s kind of abusing it. I want her to learn to be able to sleep by herself, too.
Maybe I’m just being a mean old daddy.