Things really do unfold when it’s time

Two weeks ago we had both kids sleeping on the floor in our bedroom, having gradually moved from family bed to “family bedroom”. That was nice, but as part of our whirlwind of home improvements, we repainted and bought all new furniture for both our kids, G- (3 1/2) and A- (7). The night we put it all together, the two of them slept – for the first time – in A’s room. And oh, is it a 7yo girl’s room, with pink walls, a bed full of “stuffies” (stuffed animals to us adults) and drawings of kitties, puppies and horses taped to the wall.
But it’s her space and her domain. And G- for his part has a cool bunk bed now too, a twin-over-full, and his room is painted with the lower 18-inches of the walls a bright green, and the remainder a light (sky) blue. My thought when planning it was that it’d be like standing in a meadow, and it’s turned out quite delightful. He loves his space too, and in the last ten days they’ve slept both in one room, both in the other room, and even… one in each room.
All in the span of two weeks. No more mattresses on our floor, no more having to creep around “as quiet as a mouse” when going to bed, and we’ve even been able to sit and read in bed. Imagine!
What I find most enlightening about this is that we’ve tried in the past to push one or both of them into their own rooms to sleep and it’s ended in disaster, no sleep for anyone, and “bad dreams” all around. By just waiting until it was time and creating a space that fostered a sense of place, both kids are now happy to sleep in their space, safe and snug knowing that we’re just across the hall.
I’m not always the best at being a patient Dad, but this has really opened my eyes up. If things seem hopeless – which they sometimes do when you’re doing the family bed, in my experience – just take a deep breath, remind yourself of the benefits of truly attaching with your children, and try to think of ways you can define a separate space as theirs. And be patient.

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