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7 Top Tips for Room Sharing with Siblings

For many families, the luxury of having kids in separate rooms may not be a reality and room sharing is needed. Fear not! There are some beautiful positive outcomes when our little ones share a bedroom - hold onto these rather than negative thoughts or fears! Siblings have a bond like no other and room sharing can nurture and enhance their bond. Not to mention all the social skills such as respecting boundaries, sharing, and empathy that peak when room sharing.

Here are my top tips for room sharing:

  1. Start with them both being good sleepers. This is my number one tip here! This helps reduce the potential for them to wake up and disturb each other. Be confident that your little ones can self-settle and link those sleep cycles overnight. I’d always recommend sorting out current sleep struggles individually before bringing siblings together in a room.

  2. Try and get the timing right. It’s not so ideal putting a newborn in a toddler’s room as it’s a huge adjustment for a toddler to have a new addition let alone then having to share a room with them. It’s also not such a good idea to put other siblings together when you have a newborn - try to make any changes like moving to a big bed or sharing rooms for at least 3 months on either side of having a newborn!

  3. Use white noise (even a sound machine each!) which will help buffer out each other’s noises - this is especially useful in the early hours of the morning when our little ones are in a lighter phase of sleep.

  4. Arrange the room as best as possible with them on opposite sides of each other. Allow your children (if it’s age appropriate) to take ownership of some of the decorating of their side of the room. They can arrange their belongings and have their own spaces within the room.

  5. Communicate with them - especially the oldest. Guide them with appropriate actions of what to do if they do wake up and hear the baby. Teach them and role play it out with them that if they hear their sibling, they just need to roll over and grab their teddy and go back to sleep as mummy or daddy has got this all under control! If you use a monitor, let them see that you can spot what’s going on. Also, make sure they understand not to put their toys or belongings in the cot of their sibling! Communicate to them that climbing isn’t safe.

  6. There are really no right or wrong ways to do this and every family dynamic is different. We personally found that having our kids on the same bedtime routine, doing a bath, brushing teeth, into pjs, reading books, and bed at the same time was effective for us. However, some kiddos may struggle to settle with the excitement of their sibling there. In this case, staggering their bedtimes by 30-60 minutes may be a better option. This can sometimes be trial and error!

  7. The magic word of consistency applies here. Hold firm with your usual bedtime routine. It can take time for new transitions to come together and for everyone to adjust. Give it some time. Older children can respond really well to reward charts and visual cues so get creative in setting up some systems.

Give your little ones the benefit of the doubt here and try not to worry. The fear of the transition is often worse than the shift itself! Be confident that your little ones can maintain their same sleep foundations. I find the hardest part of room sharing is often bedtime stalling tactics and excitement around the new change. The second hardest part is often the early hours of the morning. We sure did experience this with our twins when one was an early morning lark! Communication is key, putting those boundaries in place and teaching them to lay quietly in the morning (like a mouse!) can make a big difference. I know they can do this! And I’m always available for an express consult if you need help troubleshooting and navigating if things have derailed sleep wise.

If you need some help with a daily routine, check out my Ultimate Guide of Sleep Routines, which covers Newborn to 3 years of age, and every stage in between!

If you need help with your little one's sleep - reach out today and we can have your little one just loving sleep in no time.

For help with early wakeups check out the Ultimate Guide to Early Wakeups and kiss goodbye to those pesky early mornings!

Or book a Phone Consult (with a week of personal support), or an Express Phone Consult, to get back to just loving sleep again...

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