We've just had our third child, (third daughter), and earlier this spring as we were thinking about sleeping arrangements, we bought a bunk bed. We have a three bedroom house, and before baby came, each of our daughters had their own bedroom. We want to stay in this house, and knew that at some point, some combination of kids would be sharing rooms, so we thought we'd start right away and perhaps play musical bedrooms as the years go by and our needs change. With that in mind, we bought a bunk bed to put in DD2's room (which is tiny) and made it the sleeping room. We turned DD1's room into the playroom. We put a crib in our room for the baby, who is currently mostly in our bed.
At first this worked out really well. We made sure to get a twin-over-full bunk bed. DD2 is 2.5yo, and DD1 is 5. DD1 liked that she was no longer alone in a room. She's anxious, and never wants to be alone. In the beginning, she started falling asleep so much faster, and I attribute that to a sense of security from having others in the room. My husband and I take turns doing bed time, and rest in the bottom bunk with DD2. She typically takes longer to get to sleep, so for us it's an improvement over sitting in the rocking chair for what can seem like an eternity.
Overall, it's still working for DD1, but now she's started the ocasional complaint that she doesn't like being in the top bunk because it's lonely and she doesn't get to snuggle. We tried letting her sleep down below with DD2 one night (there's plenty of room for two small kids in a full bed) but DD2 was too distracted and it wound her up.
The problem is DD2, who is a major mischief-maker all day long, but whose impish side turns way up at bed time. She talks loudly, tires to get up, kicks her legs and NEVER STOPS TALKING. She's very bright, and very verbal, and now she's started intentionally trying to make DH and I angry. If we don't notice (or pretend we don't notice) her doing something "naughty", she calls our attention to it: "I'm up! Look, I'm over here!" Sometimes she kicks or hits us, which I usually respond to by holding her arms or legs. Tonight, I tried to ignore the kicking, and she said, "Hold my legs, Mommy!" She laughs when we're angry or frustrated.
I've tried leaving the room, or threatening to, but DD2 doesn't care, and it freaks DD1 out. It wouldn't be fair to punish DD1 by leaving the room.
It was so great in the beginning. The truth is, however, that even if we went back to separate rooms, DD2 is still driving us crazy! (And, as another completely different post, DD1 is too. Her anxiety is really hard for us to know how to respond to.)
My 5 year old and my 3 year old are currently sharing bunkbeds in one room. My 3 year old is also rather impish, LOL. They have an expectation, though, that bedtime means bedtime. We read stories, snuggle on the couch in the living room, and then they go to bed. We pray with them and then LIGHTS OUT. It is time for bed. We had a real struggle with the 3 year old getting up multiple times, but we shortened (and sometimes omit) her afternoon nap and now she goes right to bed. We don't linger in their room at night time. I think our presence in the room would make our kids too goofy to sleep!
We also have bunk beds, and the other room has a loft and a single. Everyone is playing musical beds all the time so no help there but some sympathy. I think you should let your older one sleep down if she wants to (all of mine went through phases where they hated the bunk) and work on getting the younger one calmly to bed. The other option is to try to get one of them to sleep before the other, but that never worked well in my experience.
Three big girls (10) + (almost 9!);
One little boy (6) and a full on toddler (8/12) born with TAPVR (repaired at 6 days old).
Thanks for the replies. The issue with DD2 is really part of a larger issue. She thinks it's really funny to be naughty. It's causing DH and I a lot of frustration, because we just don't know how to deal with it. On the one hand, she's very bright, and a lot of her behaviors are very intentional. On the other hand, she's still only 2.5yo, and it's hard to know what an appropriate consequence is, or the best way to teach the desired behaviors. We're probably expecting too much of her because of her verbal abilities.
If DD1 really wants to sleep on the bottom, I'm not opposed to letting her try again.