Getting an older sibling to successfully be room sharing with a younger sibling can seem a bit daunting for many. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be! My girls shared a room for over 5 years and the arrangement worked out beautifully! I’m going to share with you my top sibling room sharing tips for you- have a listen!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Guys, hope you’re doing well. Today’s episode is all about how you can successfully get a sibling room sharing with another sibling. This is something I get asked about all the time, because sibling room sharing is something I’m very familiar with. Number one, my girls shared a room in our old place for years. And number two, it’s a really common situation that people ask me about because there are looking to maximize space in their home. So I’ll tell you, I love talking about this because as I said, my girls shared a room for years. I moved them into a room together when my oldest was, I believe three, if I recall, and my younger daughter at the time was eight months and overall it worked beautifully. It was an absolute dream overall and had some bumps, which, you know, I will talk about, but overall it ended up working out so phenomenally because at the time at our old place, we, it was a three bedroom, three bedroom space.
And I use the third bedroom for my office because, uh, ever since my middle child, I mean, my younger one at the time was a year. I had my home business. And so I needed a bedroom for my office. And so having them share a room really helped us maximize space in our old home. And we moved to our new home when my oldest was eight and my middle child at the time was six. So we had that sleeping arrangement for a really long time. And so I would love to talk in more detail about how to make something like this work, because overall, I think that there are so many advantages to successful sibling room sharing. Number one, it’s a really great bonding experience for them, um, to be able to go to sleep together, wake up together. Yes, of course.
You definitely want to make sure that your little ones have their own separate spaces, their own separate beds, or maybe your, your younger one is still in a crib. So, you know, they kind of have their own space in that sense, but to be able to still share a bedroom, it’s a really, really, really wonderful bonding. I also find that for kids who are a little bit more anxious at night, perhaps they might have fears of some kind. They might, you know, have nightmares or they’re afraid of the dark, or maybe perhaps being alone at night time can feel a little bit daunting having a sibling, whether that sibling is older or younger can really help it. The situation at nighttime feel less scary for them. And I have even found that this is the case with, let’s say that’s hard. There are a preschooler who sharing a room with a baby, right?
As if the baby is going to be able to fight off the monster. So likely not, but I’m telling you, there is something psychologically calming for a lot of these kids to be in the room with somebody else to hear their baby sibling breathing at night time, to just know that there’s someone else there so that they aren’t not alone. This is another reason why I’m a huge fan of sibling room sharing when done properly. There’s something about it. That for some of these kids is a really anxiety, inducing situation for everyone. Now it’s one of these situations that is only going to work without tons of bumps. It’s only going to work. If you both, kids are great sleepers, guys, this is huge. And the reason for that is obvious, right? I mean, if you have a baby and an older child that need help falling asleep, that are still waking up frequently throughout the night, it’s going to be a disaster. I don’t recommend having a sibling room sharing with a younger sibling if either of them aren’t solid sleepers.
They’re going to be waking each other up all night long. And so if you have a goal of moving your children into the same room together, step number one to getting to that goal is to tackle each of their sleep issues separately. So maybe right now, what you might have the baby in your room and your three-year-old in her own room. And perhaps the baby is not sleeping so well right now. So what I would suggest that you do is actually specifically what I did, which was I sleep trained my baby in my room. And then when she was sleeping perfectly through the night, which was around the eight month Mark, that was when I moved her crib into my older daughter’s room. My older daughter at the time was a fantastic sleeper. I mean, she was, she was my unicorn baby, my unicorn child that from day one was that kind of kid that made me look good.
And so therefore sleep was for the most part, never really a struggle for her, but from my middle child, for those of you who’ve been following me and know my story, my middle child was so bad at a sleeper that she is the one that got me into this business. So I guess I have that to be thankful for. Right. But in any case, the way that I tackled it was I, I did sleep training with her in my room, which by the way is totally possible. Not necessarily ideal, not necessarily, um, problem-free but very, very doable. And then when she was sleeping straight through the night, that was when I moved her, I transferred her into her older sister’s room. And if let’s say I was also having issues with my preschooler, what I would have also done is after getting my baby’s sleeping, I then would have tackled her sleep issues separately, of course, in her own room, and then moved her in with her older sibling for room sharing.
So that this way they wouldn’t be waking each other up. So that’s absolutely huge. Don’t move them into the same room together until you’ve got that down. Pat. Now, once you’ve got two wickedly awesome sleepers and you move them into the same room, it might be a little bit bumpy at first and that’s okay. I mean, I remember the very first night that I moved my girls in together, it was, it was adorable, but also a bit of a disaster at the same time. Let me explain. So usually I would talk them each in, they would say, good night, go to sleep. Everything was great, but because they were both so excited to be in the room together, they played around for a solid hour before going to sleep. It was hilarious, adorable, and also a bit of a catastrophe at the same time, because it meant that the baby got over tired that she got over tired.
The baby didn’t sleep so well that night by preschool or woke up a little bit earlier than usual. But you know what? I’ll tell you, I stuck with it. And by the third night, the novelty of them sharing a room completely wore off. And that’s what I find is usually the case. You know, when you’ve got two solid sleepers who up until recently are totally used to just going into their bed or a crib and going right to sleep. Yeah. It’s very normal that they’re going to be totally excited to be in the room, but I kid you not each other’s presence is going to get really boring really, really soon. So just ride it out and, uh, and know that it’s only a matter of time before they’re gonna adjust. And they’re not gonna remember what life was like when they were in separate bedrooms.
Now, another bump that I want to tell you guys about when my kids were sharing a room happens a few months later, everything was going great. And then my three-year-old started going through this phase where she would wake up at five o’clock in the morning, see that her blanket had fallen onto the floor or not, not her blanket that she slept with, like her Lovie blanket and then would call out for one of us to come and get it for her. Now, if this was happening, you know, once in a while, it might not have been a big deal if she was in her own room and it was happening once in a while, it really wouldn’t have been a big deal, but it was starting to happen regularly. And I’ll tell you why it was a really big problem because when she would call out for us at five o’clock in the morning, she would wake up the baby.
Guess what happens when the baby gets woken up at five o’clock in the morning, the baby is not going back to sleep. And so guess what happens when the baby at 5:00 AM is not going back to sleep, nobody is going back to sleep. And so what was happening was that because, uh, Muna, my three-year-old at the time was waking up at 5:00 AM, seeing her blanket on the floor. Her Lovie little baby blanket was calling out for us, waking up the baby. It now meant we were all starting our day at five o’clock in the morning, all because she was calling out for us, this we had to tackle, right? It wouldn’t have been as big of a problem. She was in her own room because she wouldn’t have been waking up the baby. And we could have all just gone back to sleep really, really quickly though, to be honest, I feel like a bad had become more than a once in a blue moon type of thing.
I probably would have started tackling it head on anyways, but this is life. The consequences of this were far more significant because she was sharing a room with her baby sister. And so we had to tackle it immediately. And so what we did was we implemented, we explained that there is a new rule that if her blankie or her Teddy bear or her Elmo falls on the floor, she has two choices, choice. Number one, she can quietly get out of bed herself, grab her Elmo, grab her blankie and get back in bed and go back to sleep on her own, which by the way, at three and a half, she was perfectly capable of doing choice. Number two was she could ignore the fact that her Elmo or Blinky were on the floor, roll over and go back to bed till the morning. Those were her choices.
Now we implemented a rewards chart for when she followed the rules. And then at the same time, because she would still, you know, forgets or not necessarily follow the rule at five o’clock in the morning, we implemented a consequence because hoping that the behavior was going to magically change, just because we had a reward start happening again, because we explained until we’re blue in the face, it wasn’t necessarily getting us anywhere. We were still getting these problems. And so the consequence was if she woke us up at five o’clock in the morning and we were all up for the day at 5:00 AM, she was not allowed to watch Paul patrol that morning at seven 30. That’s a big one. I know we brought out the big guns. We, we, we took away pop patrol. When a sibling is room sharing with another sibling waking them up at night, you have no choice. Now, how do I, how did I know that this was in an effective, meaningful consequence?
Number one, it was immediate, right? Which is really crucial when it comes to implementing a consequence for the younger ones, is that you want to give them that consequences immediately, you know, first thing in the morning so that they can connect why they are getting that consequence, what exactly happened. And she knew exactly what happened. That she woke us all up at five o’clock in the morning, cause her Blinky fell on the floor. And as a result did not get to watch paw patrol. The other aspect of ensuring that the consequence was a good one was that it made her upset guys. It needs to be something meaningful. Otherwise it’s not going to be effective. If it’s something that they just don’t care about, then it’s not going to really do anything. But she really looked forward to her pop patrol television show, right? And so when we took it away, it upset her.
And so every single night we would remind her before going to sleep and remember, what are we going to do if Blinky falls on the floor? And then she would say to me, I’m going to get it myself. And I’m not going to wake you up. And I would say to her, then what happens if you wake mommy and daddy and Eliana up, I don’t get to watch paw patrol. And within a week of implementing this system, she got really great at either grabbing it herself or just rolling over and going back to sleep until the morning. And then our beautiful sibling sharing arrangement was able to continue, because I know for a fact that if I did not tackle that issue head on from the very beginning that it could have completely spiraled out of control where gosh, I would have had to move the baby baby back into my room.
And the baby at that point was already almost one. I was thoroughly enjoying not having a baby in my bedroom and I wanted to keep it that way. Right. And so capital’s that had on, she went back to sleeping beautifully at night. Everything was great. Now another question that people ask me is about bedtimes, whether or not I recommend putting the kids to bed at the same time or whether or not I recommend staggering bedtimes. And the answer is honestly the most annoying answer ever. It depends. It depends on a number of things, right? So if I personally always found it easiest, not to stagger their bedtimes, to put them down at the same time, every single night. And it just so happens. You know, there are two years and four months apart that the age gap and their schedules happened to work out beautifully because by the time they removed, they had moved in together.
My three-year-old was not napping anymore. And so she was tired by seven, seven 30 for the night. And then what I did was I just made sure that my almost one-year-old schedule works out perfectly to fit a seven to seven 30 bedtime as well. So I just made sure that, you know, her naps were timed properly so that she would also be tired for a seven to seven 30 bedtime because to be honest, my husband and I, we wanted, we wanted our evening free. Right. We wanted the kids in bed early for the night so that we could get some time to ourselves because we loved our little girls dearly, but a three-year-old and a one-year-old are really exhausting. Right? So it works out perfectly to have them going to bed at the exact same time. Sometimes a staggered bedtime is going to work out better.
Um, perhaps you might find that with your little one’s temperament, that they’re just no matter what way too distracted by their older sibling, their younger sibling, and they just can’t settle. And so in that scenario, it might be in your best interest to have your little one’s schedule so that he’s going to bed earlier or later than the other sibling. Sometimes the schedules just kind of play out that way. So I’ll give you an example of family that I’ve been working with, have two kids. They have a four-year-old and a one-year-old where the four year old is no longer napping. Um, the one-year-old is still napping twice, but this particular one year old doesn’t need as much sleep as an average one-year-old does. So usually a one-year-old when we get them sleeping beautifully at night, they’re usually sleeping 11 to maybe even 11 and a half hours straights.
This one-year-old on the other hand, no matter what is done sleeping after 10 and a half hours, he needs less sleep than average. And we figured out that there’s just not much that we can do about that. And so in order to ensure that he’s not waking up at the crack of Dawn, we need to get him on a schedule where he is going to bed around eight o’clock so that when he sleeps 10 and a half hours, he wakes up for the day around six 30 and it’s not too early, but an APM bedtime as well as a 6:30 AM wake up. So at 10 and a half hour a night does not work for the four-year-old because the four-year-olds are no longer napping and that’s not enough sleep for a, four-year-old a four-year-old usually needs 11, 11 and a half hours or so of sleep over that 24 hour period.
So, so what one scenario is that we ended up where we, that we’ve explored with this particular family is to put the four-year-old down before the one-year-old so that this way he can go to bed somewhere between seven and seven 30, beat soundly asleep, by that point, put the baby to bed for eight o’clock and then they can both wake up at the same time, around six 30, because naturally when the baby wakes at six 30, the four-year-old is likely going get woken by his older brother as well. Right? And so we want to make sure that the four year old is also getting enough sleep given that he’s not napping anymore. So getting the four year old to bed earlier in that specific scenario was in everybody’s best interest. So in conclusion, with regards to the question of staggering bedtime, versus putting them down at the same time, the answer is honestly, it depends.
And I think that as parents you’ll be able to go based on the goddess and I’m giving you, you’ll be able to go with your gut here to figure out whether or not trying to get them down to the same time is going to work. Or if it’s just going to be easier for everyone to stagger a bedtime and stat. So to summarize, I am a huge fan of siblings sharing a room. I think it’s a wonderful bonding experience. I think it can reduce anxiety in some kids who have bedtime fears and nighttime fears, knowing that they’re sharing a room with somebody else. You want to make sure that both kids are great sleepers before you’ve explore having a sibling them share a room so that they’re not waking your kiddos. They’re not waking each other up throughout the night. And so sleep, train them separately before you move them into the same room.
It might be a bit bumpy at first, but coming up with these kinds of creative solutions, as well as just letting time do its thing is going to allow those bumps to really smooth themselves out. And then with regards to staggering bedtime or during bedtime at the same time, it’s really going to depend on your little one’s temperament and individual schedules. There’s no objective right or wrong answer here. So overall I’m a really, really big fan. And I hope that this gives you guys the clarity that you need on how to make your sibling room sharing arrangement work beautifully. Have a wonderful day. Everyone.
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @myseleepingbaby, or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful night.