How to Make a Sibling Bed Work

Posted by in No-Cry Sleep

If you have more than one child it may be beneficial to everyone in the family to set up a place where your children can sleep together. While a few children don’t want to sleep with a brother or sister, many children love to share sleeping places with siblings up through elementary school.

Zander 19mths, Hailey 3 yrs

Zander 19mths, Hailey 3 yrs

For safety sake, it’s recommended that you wait until children are over eighteen months old to co-sleep with a sibling, but you can make a decision based on all your children’s ages, size comparison, and sleep history.

The ‘Sleeping Room’

People whose children sleep together very often swear that it reduces sibling rivalry and cements friendships. I know that with my children this has been true. We had a “sleeping room” from the beginning, which was in addition to each child’s own bedroom. It became a gathering place for sleep and I’d never know how many of my children I’d find there in the morning.

When you set up a sleeping-room make sure that the bed and the room are entirely child-safe. There’s always the possibility that they’ll get out of bed to play when you aren’t aware of it.

Lucas & Henry, 2 yrs

Lucas & Henry, 2 yrs

Be Nearby to Make Sure Sleep Happens

Co-sibling-sleep can help everyone. Parents get a good night’s sleep, and children get someone to sleep with. If this is something new in your house you may have to create routines that include your presence nearby to “shhh” them so that they don’t stay up talking and giggling. Although some parents believe that these special sessions are the most bonding times for their children, you don’t want it happening until midnight.

Create a New Bedtime Routine

What often works is to create a new part of your bedtime routine. It helps to have a queen or king mattress that’s big enough for all of you. When PJs are on, teeth brushed, potty visits done — grab a book (or 3) that are at the upper end of your children’s reading length tolerance. You lay IN THE MIDDLE (a kid on each side) and read to them. If after reading they aren’t sleepy enough, turn out the light and tell a story in the dark. Guess what – sleeping kids (oh, and maybe a sleeping parent, too! Uh oh! As easy as that happens to a tired parent it’s important that you stay awake and leave the room – or you will become a key component to the falling-asleep ritual.)

Ethan 4 yrs, Kaelynn 15 mths

Ethan 4 yrs, Kaelynn 15 mths

Be Prepared for Bed Hoping & Special Connections

A sibling bed arrangement can also include some “bed hopping” if they each have their own bedrooms. The kids can decide each night where they would like to sleep, taking turns being the host for the evening.

If you do use the sibling bed idea, you’ll find that over time your children will begin to sleep separately — first one night, then two, and soon they’ll settle into their own beds, on their own time frame. Many will continue to have ‘sleep overs’ in each other’s rooms for years after that, maintaining the special connectedness that a sibling bed creates.

Need more tips? The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers provides gentle ways to stop bedtime battles and improve your child’s sleep.

Share: Did you share a sibling bed growing up, or do your kids co-sleep?



  1. I used to sleep in my brother’s bed all the time when I was growing up. Until he moved out to go to college and then when I would visit I would sleep in his bed.

    My boys share a bed now as well. I think it’s cute. They have bunk beds but 99% of the time they end up in just one bed for the night. It was a nice transition for them when they left my bed.

    • Awww. Such love between siblings of both generations. You are so lucky and blessed.

  2. Our five year old daughter just started sleeping with our six year son about a month ago. They have always been in the same bedroom, him in a full size and her in a toddler bed. She decided one day that she did not want to sleep in her toddler bed anymore, and wanted to sleep with him in his bed instead, so I hesitantly let them sleep together. After sleeping together for a couple of nights, he told me to just take her toddler bed out of their room, I giggled to myself because it was so cute. After a couple of weeks, when they were both at their first week of school full-time days (her in Kindergarten and him in First Grade), I took her toddler bed out of their room and put it out in the shed. I then rearranged the rest of the items in their room, and split his bed in half by putting his blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals on one side, and hers on the other. When they came home from school, they were both so happy about it, they’ve been sleeping comfortably together since.

    • Hi Bonnie – Thanks for sharing your sweet story. This is very common. And worldwide siblings are typically tossed into a big bed together! 🙂