We have a rather small three bedroom house in which the girls have always shared a bedroom. In the beginning we had their cribs right next to each other and the headboard and footboard were solid. So they couldn't see or bother each other. As soon as they were able to stand up, bedtime became a challenge. Suddenly, we were hearing giggles and screams coming from their room and we would walk in to find the girls facing one another jumping up and down in their cribs having a fantastic time. At this point, we moved the cribs across the room from each other. Now at least they weren't able to throw their bears and blankets at each other. By 22 months they were climbing out of their beds, so we had to convert the cribs to toddler beds. This is when bedtime really got wild. Keeping the girls in their beds and quiet was a battle every single night. My husband and I were doing all the right things. We had a bedtime routine that we implemented at the same time (8:00pm) each night. And yet each night the girls didn't actually fall asleep until more than an hour after we tucked them in. We tried the "Super Nanny" technique. We tried sitting in their bedroom. We tried yelling. We tried taking prized stuffed animals. We tried spanking. Each night my husband and I went to bed feeling like lousy parents. We thought about separating them. We thought about giving them away (not seriously). I scoured the web for advice or at least parents that could sympathize. I couldn't find anything helpful.
Finally, after our girls were three, we found a solution that seems to work for everyone in our family. We have a whiteboard that lives on our refrigerator. There are two columns, one for Amelia and one for Julia. If the girls go to sleep nicely for us at night, they get a star in their column in the morning. Once they get 14 stars, they get a prize. Last time they wanted a new rubber ducky for the bathtub. We took them to Wal-Mart and they got to select the rubber ducky of their choice. Glorious! I spent $1 per duck and got two weeks worth of easy bedtimes. Money well spent.
These days we all sleep like babies, minus the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes.