Siblings share rooms all the time, so don’t feel bad if you find your baby and toddler sharing a room. Sometimes, you don’t have the extra bedroom to spare, and many kids actually end up loving bunking together in the same room as their built-in BFFs.
Sharing a room can help siblings fall asleep easier, develop a bond, and learn lessons. My two boys have shared the same room since my third child was born. They’re 3.5 years apart, and together, they’ve learned how to share, communicate, problem-solve, and more.
To encourage a positive experience, I put together some valuable tips for the room-sharing that I learned over the years. After four kids, I have a bit to say about the topic, so let’s dive right in!
10 Tips for Baby and Toddler Sharing a Room
1. Have Your Older Child Help Set Up
When you decide that your baby and toddler are going to share a room, have your older child help you create the plan. He can help you choose where to put the crib and dresser. This is his room as well, and he deserves some insight into what’s going to happen.
2. Get Big Kid Stuff
Something that helped my son transition when he had a baby sharing his room was to make his space for a big kid. He wanted new bedding that he picked out, and he asked for an end table with a lamp. Later, we ended up getting bunk beds, and he scored the top spot.
Feeling like a big kid is part of the process. The little sibling is going to be sharing a room with your big kid, and he’s going to feel a bit responsible for him. That’s okay! You’ll be amazed at what your toddler can do when sharing a room.
3. Wait Until Your Baby is Ready
Perhaps the most significant piece of advice that I can give you is to wait to bring the baby into your toddler’s room. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents room share with their babies for the first six months of life but ideally up to one year. Wait until your child is around six months old to put him into the toddler’s room.
Room sharing with you for the first few months helps to decrease the risk of SIDS. Then, waiting to put your baby in with your toddler means he won’t be waking up as often. You won’t need to get up as often in the middle of the night, and you reduce how many times the baby might wake up your toddler.
4. Kids Sleep Through Everything
Listen, don’t panic! Kids sleep through everything. There were times that my baby woke up in a panic screaming, and it took me a few moments to wake up and stumble to get him. None of those times ever caused my toddler to wake up.
I’m convinced that, once your child sleeps through the night, they sleep like a rock. A hurricane wouldn’t wake up my toddlers, and their screaming sibling sure isn’t going to wake them up either.
5. Use a White Noise Machine
White noise helps to promote better sleep for everyone. It’s instrumental when you have a toddler and a baby sleeping in the same space. Using white noise creates a deeper and more peaceful sleep for kids. One of your children might make noises that make it harder for the other one to sleep. Even snoring or coughing can make sleeping troublesome, but white noise solves it all.
6. Have Your Older Child Keep You Posted
Your older child, even though he’s just a toddler, can keep you posted, and sometimes, they can also help soothe the baby. Once, I found my toddler holding the baby’s hand through the crib slats to help him fall back to sleep. My heart melted into a thousand adorable pieces.
Tell him that it’s his job to let you know if the baby wakes up in the middle of the night. He doesn’t have to know that the monitor on the dresser does the same thing. Kids love to take on that big kid role and being able to get you will make him feel special.
Be sure to praise him whenever he shows what a big kid he is and how much he helps with the baby!
7. Put The Youngest to Bed First
Here is another essential trick for you.
Put your youngest to bed first. So, I always put my baby to bed early. They typically go to bed earlier than a toddler or preschooler anyway, so they need to hit the bed first.
Then, it gives me a few moments of peace with just my toddler to read books or snuggle before they need to go down to bed. By that time, the baby is snoring peacefully, and you can sit with your toddler and get him into bed.
8. Keep Your Child’s Sleep Schedule
To go along with that, don’t assume that because of your children sharing a room that they need to share a sleep schedule. They don’t have to at all, especially if you have a six-month-old and a 2.5-year-old. They have different sleep needs.
If your baby goes to bed around 7:00 PM but the earliest your toddler falls asleep is 8:00 PM, that’s totally okay! It’s normal and okay for each child to have their different sleep schedule and bedtime routine even if they sleep in the same room.
9. Make a Space Just for Them
My older child gets a special area just for them in their room. Usually, that’s their bed, where the baby isn’t welcome. Right now, it’s on top of a bunk bed for my oldest son, but it can just be his bed or even a desk.
All kids need a space of their own. Add shelves for his important toys and items. Kids need a place that they can store things that matter to them and retreat without bother. Be sure to preserve this space for him and teach his younger sibling that he can’t bother him there.
It’s best if you consider buying two of everything. You can do a bunk bed if you want, but if you have the space, it’s best to do two beds and two nightstands. Have two dressers and create a side of the room for each child. That gives a separate but unified space.
10. Give Rewards Often as Needed
I’m a fan of rewards. Reward your toddler when he masters using his quiet voice when you creep into bed together. If he keeps the lights turned off, then that’s another reward. Rewards are your friend, and toddlers respond well to them!
The first few weeks of a baby and toddler sharing a room can be tricky. One child might wake the other, or your kids might think it’s the coolest thing ever. It’s a learning process, just like everything else in parenting and family lives.
Ultimately, kids get used to it, and as they get older, sharing a room can be a blessing. It’s a friend to talk to in the middle of the night, and you might end up finding your kids sleeping together as the baby gets older and moves out of a crib. Don’t be too scared!