Bedtime at the Boyce family home in Plano, Texas used to be a nightmare. Each of the family's five kids had trouble sleeping for one reason or another and were up and wandering the halls in need of water, the bathroom, or most importantly, attention from their parents. Add to the mix that their dad, Tom Boyce, is disabled and often needs help from his wife in the middle of the night and you can see why there was so little shut-eye happening in the Boyce family home.
"Bedtime was full of tears and fights," writes mom Elizabeth on the family blog, Wandering the World Below. "They got out of bed repeatedly. Our house was lit up like the 4th of July with nightlights because everyone was anxious alone. We got to the point where our bedroom floor was covered in palettes full of sleeping children. It got old."
But all of that changed in September, when Elizabeth and Tom came up with an IKEA hack that would change their lives in more ways than one. With the help of the kids, the Boyces created a family bed out of an IKEA Kura bed that all seven of them could share.
The end result? Nighttime sleeping bliss for Elizabeth and Tom as well as their five kids — 11-year-old Zach, 9-year-old Izzy, 7-year-old Ben, 3-year-old Owen and 1-year-old Elijah.
“In our house, by moving everyone into one room, we suddenly had several other rooms that were completely empty at night,” Elizabeth and Tom shared on their blog, Wandering The World Below. “And we no longer had small children wandering, crying into our bed in the dark.”
The idea for the giant family bed arose from the many trips the family takes which Elizabeth and Tom write about on the blog. During each trip, the kids would get used to sleeping together as a family in a small hotel room or camper and then mom and dad would have to "retrain" everyone to sleep in their own rooms upon their return. Now they no longer have to deal with that struggle.
Still, Elizabeth never imagined that the picture of their family bed that she uploaded to Facebook and Instagram would garner so much attention. But with thousands of likes and shares, it most certainly has. Most of the comments she has received since the photo went viral have been positive, but there are always some folks who Elizabeth says "can't comprehend it."
But it's what's working for the Boyce family. And as any parent can tell you, if you find a solution that works at bedtime, you stick with it.
Elizabeth and Tom have no idea how long the family bed concept will last in their home.
"Sleeping arrangements are an ever evolving thing. I am sure we will reconfigure when it stops working. I am the queen of flexible," writes Elizabeth on their blog.
I can't wait to see what they come up with next.