Room for Baby: Sharing With Siblings

Filed under: Babies, Siblings, Sleep

Now, this is the image you pray for when your toddler is sharing a room with your baby. Credit: Getty

Siblings sharing a bedroom is a fact of life when you live in a small space, but toddlers sharing a room with a baby sibling can present a special challenge to parents.

It's essential that your kids sleep well at night and during nap times, as good sleep is important for you and your children. However, how will your toddler adapt to sharing a room with your new baby? Will your baby's frequent night-wakings disturb your toddler's sleep? How can you coordinate naps? If your toddler must make room for baby in his bedroom, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Children can adapt easily. Oftentimes, your first child will be a light sleeper because you most likely put him to sleep in total silence when he was an infant. First-time parents tend to encourage house guests to be very quiet if they visit while your baby is sleeping. The good news is just because your toddler is a light sleeper now doesn't mean he will always wake at the first noise he hears when he's sharing a room with the baby. He will quickly learn to go back to sleep when awakened in the middle of the night. If not, you can always try a sleep training method, such as Marc Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child."

2. Expect problems at the beginning. Your toddler will probably react negatively to sharing a room with his baby sibling, and he probably will be waking up in the middle of the night when the baby wakes up. Know that you will most likely have several nights of night-waking for the first couple of weeks of sharing a room with the baby. It will take some time for your toddler to adjust to sleeping heavier. Give him reassurances that he will be able to sleep through the night eventually.

3. Learn how to coordinate naps. Nap times for toddlers can be tricky, as there can be a certain window of time optimum for sleep. When your toddler is sharing a room with the baby, your infant could distract your toddler from falling asleep and throw his entire nap routine out of sorts. One thing to try to keep this from happening is to put your oldest child to sleep first, and then put your baby down for her nap. You may have to do some experimenting and reworking, but once you've found a routine that works, stick with it.

4. Prepare for early wake-ups. Your baby most likely will awake pretty early for her first feeding, and if she's sharing a room with her older brother, he probably will wake up at this time, as well. You can try to get him back to sleep by giving him a book to look at while you feed the baby, and he may fall back asleep before you put your baby back to bed. If you have problems with him going back to sleep, consider using a Pack 'n Play for your baby to sleep in placed in your bedroom for her last couple of hours of sleep to keep from disturbing her brother.


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.