When my husband and I decided to live in a two bedroom house with a family of four, it meant that our kids would have to share a room. This is a right of passage for anyone with a sibling, it seems like. At one point or another most kids have shared a room. Our kids are no different. One thing that sets them apart from many others that share a room is that they are only 12 months apart. When we moved into our house, our youngest, a girl, was four months old and still sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom. Our oldest, a boy, was 16 months and sleeping in a crib. He had been sleeping in his own room for about a year.
While our oldest was sleeping through the night, our baby wasn’t even close. She woke up every 3 hours to nurse. And when she woke up, you knew it. She screamed her high pitch scream as if she was afraid she would never eat again. I knew without a doubt that her brother would not be able to sleep through her screams. So I held off on putting them in a room together.
When she was about five months old, my husband wanted her out of our room. He is a light sleeper and no one was sleeping through the night with her in there. We decided to move her into the living room. This was a hassle and not an ideal situation. Our living room was small and the pack in play she had moved up to took up a good chunk of space. But, she did sleep better. So, we took the next step.
We put our kids in the same room. I wish I could say the first night was amazing, but it wasn’t. Our baby would cry and cry until one of us went in to comfort her. As soon as we went in the room, our son would stand up in his crib and cry. It went on like that for a few hours until they were both finally asleep. After that first couple hours though, the slept through the night. In the morning, the baby woke up first. I quietly went in and got her and my son stayed asleep until his usually time.
The first few nights were like the first. A couple times the baby woke up screaming, but to my surprise, her brother didn’t wake up. After he got to sleep once, he would stay asleep. It was just the start of the night that was hard.
I figured out a few tricks to make things run smoother.
For starters, I implemented a bedtime routine with my son. Up until this point we just kind of put him in bed when he was tired. Read more about the routine here. I really believe that this routine helped him get ready for bed. It only took him about three days to catch on. That made going to sleep much easier for him.
Another thing that I did was I never changed my strategy. Unless my baby was really upset and was not going to calm down, (you can tell, right moms?) I would comfort her while she stayed in her pack in play. I never picked her up and if I did I never took her out of the bedroom (an exception being if she woke up in the middle of the night hungry). I also never said anything to my son except “goodnight.” If he stood up in his crib, I would kiss his forehead when I had calmed down his sister and said, “goodnight,” before leaving the room. He got to the point (really quickly) where he would immediately lay back down after I kissed his forehead. He knows the routine.
A third thing that I did to make the room transition smoother is I have my baby take naps in our room during the day. This is a little inconvenient, but much better for my son. Their nap schedule is staggered, and this way they can both sleep when they want to, not when the other one wants to. It also allows my son a chance to play with his toys in his room when his sister is asleep.
So, my advice on helping your kids share the same room are implement a routine, stick to the routine, and make different arrangements for nap time. That is what works for our family. What works for yours?Share