Let’s start with room sharing with parents! Right now, the AAP recommends room sharing for at least 6 months, if not 12 months, despite the research that shows everyone sleeps best in their own space. The research behind the AAP’s recommendation for room sharing is supposed to align with SIDS prevention tips; however, upon further research there is very little basis for room sharing in regards to that. In fact, studies show that room sharing long term actually leads to more unsafe sleep habits, not less! So if you’re currently room sharing and don’t WANT to – then make an informed decision for yourself, do the research (I can provide you with some great articles) and see what fits best for your family!
If you HAVE to room share long term, then some simple options for doing that would be to set up a temporary partition in the room to provide them with a separate space or, my favorite, is to use the Slumberpod! And bonus, you can use my code “HEAVENSENT10” for $10 off your purchase.
I also suggest the Slumberpod for roomsharing while traveling with parents and siblings. Otherwise, you can get creative with other spaces like putting a child in the bathroom in their pack n plan (GUILTY! haha).
Let’s move on to room sharing with siblings! I got lots of questions about that on my social media when I polled my followers, so let’s just dive in!
Room sharing with siblings can work really well when they’re used to the “family bed” situation and you’re ready for them to move out of mom and dad’s room into their own room. Otherwise, it can be done out of necessity (too many kids, not enough rooms – which will be our situation with the third addition!)
It can be really overwhelming for you, as parents, to make this transition and change, but remember that YOU are the person who sets the rules and enforces them; that doesn’t change when there are some room sharing shenanigans! Stay strong and calm while enforcing your rules for bedtime. Decide what you will and won’t allow early on and stick with it.
1) Honor their individual sleep schedule. If you have 2 kids who are on a different schedule (one goes to bed a little earlier than the other, for example), then that’s totally fine! One may go to bed at 7pm and the other at 8pm.. Enjoy the extra hour just like you would if they weren’t sharing a room. This may mean bedtime routine is in a different space than their room! Once they’re on the same sleep schedule, bedtime routine can be done together!
2) Napping may give you some anxiety; but a simple solution would be to nap them in 2 separate rooms. I know my toddler would LOVE the privilege of napping in mom and dad’s bed! I suggest giving napping in the same room a chance though before deciding it definitely doesn’t work before making any changes. Let some of the newness wear off.
3) White noise is a must for anyone sharing a room, ever. While it’s important for your child to get used to the noises from their sibling sleeping in their room, it’s just as important that they don’t get woken up unnecessarily by a toddler midnight potty break!
4) What are your sleep rules? Is it “lights out, no noise”? Do you allow some bedtime giggles? A middle ground option may be to send them to bed 15-30 mins early, let them get the giggles out and then it’s lights out and quiet for bed! In that regard, I’d also keep their room fairly boring; no extra toys or anything to distract them.
5) Don’t share too early; a younger toddler is a wild card and unpredictable. They may try to feed the baby, give them a toy in their crib, or cover him with a blanket. While the intentions are great, they aren’t old enough to understand the “safe sleep” rules. At that point, it’s better for you to share with the baby if needed. My personal preference is that our youngest will not room share until they’re at least 12 months old for this purpose. I trust my oldest, though, so they could potentially share once the baby is sleeping through the night. In our situation though, we will probably move our daughter who will be almost 2 in with our will be 4.5 year old. She will still be in her crib and the baby will use a PnP until we are ready to move her to a bed.
6) Change is never easy, right? Room sharing is the same thing. It’s an adjustment for everyone so give it some time! They may wake more often at night, wake earlier in the morning, or sleep a little restlessly initially. That’s okay, it takes time to work the kinks out! Once the adjustment period is over, they may prefer it and sleep best with each other in the room!
7) The best way to make the transition is to 1) talk to your toddler about the changes and new rules! Keep them involved in the process. 2) be prepared for the bumps in the road. What’s your back up plan for a regression or sickness? Will you move baby to a different room temporarily, like back to yours perhaps?
If you’ve attempted this change and are struggling to make it work for your family, I can help!
Schedule a free 15 min consultation!
If you’ve attempted to share a room with siblings, or you’re struggling with how to room share long term with a child then let’s chat! I love problem solving. 😉