Sleep Tips for Siblings That Share Rooms
Updated: Mar 11
There's a couple of reasons why you're probably reading this...
1- You're having another baby and your older kids will need to share a room
2- You no longer want/need your baby in your room, so they will be moved into your other child's room
3- You're having another baby and they will be sleeping in your older child's room right away
There could be other circumstances but whatever the case may be, the thing that is in common with all of these situations, is that your kids will be sharing a room and they are not used to it.
You have fears that they will wake each other up, or they will chat and play together.
I have laid out some tips to help you out with this transition.
First thing, don't fear the worst! You would be amazed at how many kids do far better then you think they would at sharing a room.
Second step: set up the kids sleeping area so that it resembles 2 bedrooms in some way. Don't have the beds right next together. If there is a dresser, change table, desk, or chair that you can put in between the beds that is best. It gives a little bit of separation so that they aren't always able to see each other and especially reach each other.
Third step: if you use a noise machine, which I highly recommend with kids sharing a room, place it between the kids. This creates a sound barrier between them so if one wakes up in the night, then there is a smaller chance of them waking up the other. Remember noise machines are best to be on the lowest setting.
Bedtime: when it comes to bedtime, if you can stager the kid’s times they go to sleep that would be best. You can do bedtime routine outside of the room in a quiet place for the one that is going to bed later. If it doesn't work out to have one going to bed later then the other, then you will want to set up a consequence. For example, if they sleep with a blanket or puppy, you can take it away for a few minutes at a time until they are quiet. Or for older kids you can set up reward charts for every time they fall asleep easily.
Nap time: Nap time can sometimes be a little trickier, so keeping the room as dark as possible is key. Again if you can stager naps that is best but it will not always work out that way. If you can use a separate room for one of them during naps, you'll have a far easier time.
Be careful not to go in too frequently. They need time to figure out how to adjust to this situation and it will get easier with time. If you create any new habits to try and keep them quiet and settle faster, they will be harder to break later.
What if one of your kids wakes up sick in the night, or goes through a sleep regression, or any of those unexpected bad nights?
Set up a play pen, or another bed in the living room, kitchen, your bedroom closet, etc. Create a temporary space for the one having a bad night to sleep, so the other one can still have a good night's rest.
What if you need to sleep train one of the kids?
Don't hold off on sleep training or introducing healthy sleep habits right at the beginning because you're worried they are going to wake your other child. You will end up exhausted, your baby will end up exhausted and it is only a short term solution. My suggestion is just to do it, and get it over with. Then you can all start sleeping better.
Again, you can set up a temporary room, in another area, for your child you aren't sleep training. Once everyone is getting a good nights sleep again you can move them back into the room.
Last of all, remember this is an adjustment for your children. So be patient and things will get better. Once the novelty wares off, they’ll become better at it.
For more sleep tips to help your little one's sleep better, come join in my Facebook Group "Baby & Toddler Sleep Support for Tired Moms."