Baby Nursery and Big Kid Room: Tips for Sharing a Room
Filed under: Babies
Sometimes kids have to share a bedroom, but what can you do to help your toddler turn his room into one that also serves as a baby nursery for his new brother or sister?
Parents can ease this transition by working on the timing of the adjustment, as well as having a back-up plan in place for emergencies.
Adapting bedroom routines and getting input from your older child also will help to smooth over the transition of sharing a room. Becoming roommates will encourage your children to bond and will promote companionship between them. They may even help each other learn to be good sleepers.
Before you transform your toddler's bedroom into a baby nursery, you should prepare your older child to share his room by talking about where the new baby will sleep.
Ask your child for his opinion on any color changes you may make to the room, as well as on any additional furniture you will need. If your toddler is still sleeping in a crib, he will need to make the change to a toddler bed.
"If parents plan to move their toddler out of a crib to make room for a new baby, it's best to do this a couple of months before the new baby is born so that the older child doesn't have to deal with too many changes at once and will be less likely to resent the new baby," says Dr. Virginia Shiller, a licensed clinical psychologist at Yale University and author of "Rewards for Kids! Ready-to-Use Charts and Activities for Positive Parenting."
One thing you should have when creating a baby nursery in your toddler's bedroom is a back-up plan for emergencies. Every night will not be peaceful, so keep a pack-and-play handy in your bedroom or your living room for nights when your baby's cries wake your toddler, or when your toddler is sick and having trouble sleeping. A pack-and-play also can be useful if your children have the same nap times to keep your toddler from distracting your baby from sleeping. Letting your older child nap in your bed is another solution.
Adjusting bedtime routines also can help ease the transition of sharing a room with a sibling. Be sure the room serves strictly as a baby nursery for the first hour after putting your baby to bed. Story time with your toddler can be moved from the bedroom to the living room or even during bath time. Adding a white noise machine is another idea to promote sleep, as it can buffer the sounds of snoring, rustling and crying. A white noise machine can even soothe both of your children to sleep and help them sleep more soundly throughout the night.
Combining a baby nursery with a toddler's bedroom can encourage bonding between your children. Knowing that his sibling is sleeping in the same room is a comforting thought to some children.
"Sometimes, parents may even move two children into the same bedroom to reduce night anxieties," Shiller says. "The experience of sharing a room can bring two children closer together."
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.