The other day, I received a question from a mom in the My Sleeping Baby Facebook community about whether I had any advice about having two kids sharing a room successfully.
Now, it happens to be that my girls shared a room since they were a toddler and a baby. And for the most part, the setup has worked out beautifully. So I’ve got a lot to say on the topic!
Here are the key components to ensure that a room sharing arrangement goes well.
1. Make sure that your older child is a solid sleeper. Perhaps your toddler either needs help falling asleep or regularly wakes up at night. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to tackle this sleep challenge before your kids share a room. The last thing that you want is for your toddler to unnecessarily wake up your baby. Therefore, I recommend tackling any toddler sleep issues *now* as opposed to down the road.
2. Maximize your infant’s sleep by exploring some sleep training before moving your infant into a room with your toddler. See, we want to set everything off on the right foot as much as possible. If your baby is waking up multiple times at night, there’s obviously going to be a higher likelihood that your toddler will get woken up in the process. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to sleep train your infant while she’s in your room. Once she’s sleeping better at night, *then* you can move your infant into a room with your toddler.
And look, your infant might be 4-5 months by the time you’ve sleep trained him/her and might still be waking up at night. But as long as they’re not waking as frequently as before, you’re obviously in a better off scenario.
3. Implement some type of rewards chart for your toddler or preschooler. See at first, it’s going to be exciting for your little ones to share a room together. You’ll want to make sure that your toddler understands what the rules and expectations are surrounding this new environment.
Start of by introducing a sticker chart with a few sleep manners and expectations. For example, he’s not allowed to wake the baby up in the middle of the night, nor is he allowed to wake the baby up once he’s gone to bed. Try to have a few sleep manners so that you can award him at least one sticker the next morning. This sticker chart will serve as a constant reminder for your toddler as to what are your expectations of him now that he’s sharing a room with his sibling.
Should you stagger bedtimes?
Let’s address the actual bedtime process when you’ve got two kids sharing a room. I think that there is a misconception that states that you absolutely need to stagger bedtimes. Some parents believe that you can never have two children sharing a room who go to bed at the same time. I disagree! On a personal note, my girls have always gone to bed at the exact same time every single day. If they’re both due to go to sleep at the same time, why not do do their bedtime routine together? There’s no reason why two children can’t be tucked in for the night at the same time.
Getting two kids sharing a room successfully is not as challenging as it seems. As long as you have maximized both kids’ sleep, there shouldn’t be much to worry about!