Let’s talk about how your baby and toddler can room share. Personally, I love this option when your kids are young! When my girls were younger they shared a room for 4 years, and it was so blissful to close the door and have them both asleep in one space!
So, how can you get started with room sharing? You may be listening to this podcast or reading this blog right now, hours before bedtime. And, you want to get started, stat!
Hold on, hold your horses! I tried that once and it didn’t work well! I was ready to have my own room back so one evening, I tried to put the girls in the same room an hour before bedtime. The plan was in my head, and I didn’t even communicate it to my husband Chad. I just shoved them together and it was pure hell that evening— lots of screaming and crying. It wasn’t fun! Instead of that, I’m sharing four steps to easily help your toddler and baby begin to room share when you’re ready.
Don’t just rush into it with no plan and communication. Let’s develop some steps to implement room sharing together.
Step one is to make sure that baby and toddler can both sleep independently all night long without any assistance. Imagine if you had someone coming in and out of your room all night—your toddler won’t appreciate that either. If both of your kids are having trouble sleeping, check out our sleep programs for all ages.
Step two is to communicate with all parties involved. You don’t need to prep your toddler or your preschooler weeks in advance. Talk to your toddler a few days in advance. Remind them how wonderful it will be to share with a sibling and how much fun it will be!
Step three is to get the older child involved in the changes to room sharing. Have them help build the crib, pick out sheets, or decorate the shared room. Get them involved so that they have ownership.
Toddlers love having jobs and love being a part of things. It’s also a great opportunity to build memories!
Step four is to prepare the room in advance. By laying out pajamas, diapers, and bedtime books in advance, you aren’t scrambling at bedtime. Keep it simple and organized.
Like anything, room sharing with the baby and toddler takes time to get used to. The first night or two, it’s going to be off and different. They may take 30 to 60 minutes to fall asleep because it’s exciting and new. When we first started room sharing my oldest daughter was SO excited to have her sister nearby, but explaining to a 2 year old that they cannot sing the room to sleep was a challenge, ha! Slowly, we had to help her understand there’s someone else in the room now.
The fourth tip I shared above is all about prepping the room before bedtime, and WOW this makes a difference!
If you can have everything laid out and ready to go before starting the bedtime routine, you are going to feel more confident. Laying out both pajamas, diaper and undies and even the towels helps things go so much smoother. (These tips were gold for our parents who do bedtime solo!)
Once bedtime routine comes, we’re aiming for about 30 minutes and then into the bed, ready to go to sleep.
If your eyes just went wide with HOW a 30 minute bedtime routine is supposed to be a thing, check out the ideal toddler bedtime routine and the ideal baby bedtime routine blogs as well!
With the age gap between a baby and a toddler, there may be staggered bedtimes depending on naps and awake windows. Really, there are 2 options for room sharing:
Option A is that they go to sleep together at the same time.
Option B is that one of them goes to sleep and earlier, and then later you’ll sneak the other child in at a later time.
If you put them to bed together, don’t rush back in there if you hear them talking and babbling together. Totally normal! Let them have some fun and time to figure things out on the first night— no consequences. It’s new. It’s exciting.
Wondering what bedtime should be for your children? Find their ideal schedules here!
What if you need to sneak your toddler in later? How do we make sure they don’t wake the baby up?!
If you have to sneak in toddler later, I want you to try to role-play earlier in the day how to sneak into the room.
Toddlers learn so well through role-playing!!
Practice ‘going to bed’ with them and pretending to be a quiet mouse.
Practice tiptoeing into the room, staying quiet and climbing into bed. Do these steps over and over again to help them solidify what is expected.
When it’s time for bedtime later, remind them how they practiced earlier in the day!
Feeling unprepared? Using tools like a white noise machine (you can measure the decibel level with an app) can help dull noises between your toddler and baby’s bed. You don’t want to blast the room with noise, but as long as the sound machine is under 50 decibels and at least three feet from your child’s bed, you are good!
What about nightlights? If your toddler is used to a dim nightlight, can you use this with a baby in the room too! The best solution is to have an amber or red nightlight. Red is the least intrusive color on the light spectrum, so it shouldn’t impact your baby too much!
If your baby is sleeping in a travel cot, you can use a SlumberPod (use our code littlezsleep to get $20 off!) to block light and distractions from your toddler. You can learn more about why we love the SlumberPod here!
So, do you think you are ready to room your toddler and baby together?!
It is possible!! While there may be a rocky period, it will be ok and worth it!
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