I had a reader request to offer some insight into siblings sharing a room, and I think this is a wonderful idea! Of course, the dynamics are different for every family, room situation, and ages and stages of the children. For the purpose of this blog I am going to be talking about transitioning a baby around 6 months to a room with a toddler, who is no longer in a crib.
Prior to making any changes with sleep, it is so important to look at the whole picture, and how everyone is sleeping, and what the potential outcomes might be. If you want to move your two little ones together into a room, but your toddler wakes up several times per night, and the baby is waking more than twice, this might not be the best time to make the transition. It is important to address any concerns prior to making the move, because the result could mean less sleep for everyone!
Once you have decided to go ahead with the room sharing, you want to make sure that you have given the toddler some time to process the change, and talked about his new responsibility of being a big brother and watching out for his younger sister as she moves into his room. Going over safety, is so important, the toddler needs to understand that he is not allowed to climb onto or into crib. As a mama of two boys, I know all about climbers! On that note, overall room safety is so important, because I can 100% see my older son teaching my younger son how to climb out by some ridiculous method of moving furniture or good old fashioned tying bed sheets together!
So once you have established that both little ones are ready, and that the room is safe, what next? It’s time to dive on in, and give it a good effort of at least 2 weeks before backing out. All three of my little ones have their own rooms but when we camp in our RV they share 1 room, and I find the transition is always a bit rocky at first. Expect to have very low standards the first night. Bedtime routine will take longer, both will be excited that they are on a new adventure, and naturally parents will feel anxious about the transition. Go with the flow, try to get them both down at the same time, but expect that falling asleep will take some time, longer than normal. I also suggest that the parents plan to go to bed earlier on the first night, because of “Murphy’s law” if you are in bed and well rested the night will probably go well, and the morning wake up won’t be so early! All jokes aside, the first few nights will just be winging it, and getting a feel for things. You will get a sense within the first week what is working and what isn’t. It’s important to tune into your toddler and make sure he is getting enough time to wind down at bed time. I would suggest starting bedtime routine a bit earlier to allow everyone to feel less anxious about the new changes.
Once you are a few nights in, you will be able to gauge if it will work better to put the toddler to sleep and then the baby or vice versa. I do think, at age 3 and 6 months, if the baby is still taking 3 naps per day, it would be easier to spend some time connecting with the toddler, reading books and bridging separation and waiting until he is settled prior to putting the baby to sleep for the night.
Day sleep (naps) are difficult to cover as it is so individualized, but if your little one is 3 and the baby is 6 months, chances are the three-year-old won’t be napping much longer (if at all) and that it would work out ok. I know my youngest two are just 2 years apart, and for a while they were napping at the same time, but it wasn’t guaranteed, so it might take some tweaking!
Another question I often hear and a worry that so many mamas have, is will they wake each other up in the night? The short answer is yes, but mostly, no. At first you can expect an adjustment period where they might wake each other, especially if one is a light sleeper, but they will adjust, and you will be in awe of how well they do learn to sleep together! I am always so surprised at how well my three do in one room even when its intermittent and they aren’t used to each other’s sounds on a day to day basis. Another reminder, that our little ones mirror our emotions, the more calmly we approach uncharted territory the more at ease they will feel about it <3
As always, thank you for reading my rambling thoughts! I hope they are helpful! Drop me a comment or an email if you would like to hear me blog about something/anything! Doesn’t have to be sleep related!