Bedroom sharing can be a nightmare with little ones. Especially when they’re not yet sleeping through the night. My 2 year old and 9 month old currently share a room. I’ve spent the last six months trying everything from having the baby sleep in the kitchen to sleeping on the floor of their room all in the name of getting a good night’s rest. Over the past couple of weeks I decided to buckle down and make it happen. Everyone was going to sleep in their own bed. After some trial and error we found a method that actually works for us! Of course we still have rough nights, as all parents do, but our frustration and exhaustion have seriously improved. Here are a few guidelines that we used to help us find a way that worked for us.
1. Make a schedule
Figuring out a schedule that worked for our boys and sticking to it made more of a difference than anything else we could have done. I had been putting our two year old to bed at 8:30 and trying to keep the baby up until he was asleep. Or I would put the baby down at 8:00 and then try to sneak my energetic toddler into the room afterwards. This just wasn’t working for us. So I had to focus on the top priorities for each little one and go from there. The baby needed to get to bed earlier than 9:00 and the toddler had to be asleep first in order to give the baby a fighting chance to fall sleep. The toddler needs lots of books, songs, and cuddles in order to get to sleep and the baby needs darkness and quiet.
I took these needs into consideration and came up with a plan. We start getting the boys ready for bed at 7 in hopes to have the toddler in bed, alone by 7:30. I give him a bit to fall asleep before I go in and rock/ feed the baby in hopes to have him in bed by 8:00-8:15. We’re still tweaking the schedule but it’s the best we’ve had so far
2. THINK ABOUT NAP TIME
Since I have a 2.5 year old that takes one nap a day and a 9 month old that takes two I can end up having one kid or the other sleeping most of the day. It’s important to me to have some time when they’re both asleep and when they’re both awake. This way I have time to get things done while they’re sleeping and we are able to do things all together or actually leave the house. If this is an issue for you as well you may want to factor in nap time when figuring out their sleep schedule.
My toddler wakes up at 6:00 every day no matter what. The baby, on the other hand, will snooze until some loud banging wakes him up (which it usually does). I try to use this to my advantage to align the baby’s first nap with the toddler’s nap. If the toddler wakes up early he’ll be ready for his nap earlier. If the baby sleeps later his morning nap can be a littler later. I try to reinforce this with the earlier bedtime for the toddler so that he gets enough sleep. Obviously, each individual situation will be different but hopefully this gives you a few things to consider when figuring out a schedule for your littles.
3. Have a routine
Things will go much smoother when both children know what to expect when bedtime rolls around. Having a consistent routine helps their little minds to start getting ready for sleep. Here’s a glimpse into our routine to help you get a feel for what I’m talking about
- After dinner/clean up we head straight to the bath because, let’s face it, the kids are filthy by the end of the day
- Once the kids are squeaky clean I lotion them up and put on their jammies.
- Next up is story time- the kiddos pick 3 or 4 books and we pile on the bed and read.
- Then we sign a song, say a prayer, and turn out the lights. After this I leave the room for 15-20 minutes and let my oldest start to fall asleep.
- I sneak back into the room and feed the baby in the rocking chair until he is nearly asleep. At this point I’ll put him in his crib and he WILL cry for a few minutes. I usually sit down on my 2 year old’s bed and rub his back to keep asleep/calm while the baby is crying.
4. INVEST IN A WHITE NOISE MACHINE
Having a white noise machine helps tone down the noise going on outside the room. This can help anyone sleep better but it is especially useful when sharing a room. If there is a white noise machine in the room every time one child coughs or turns over in their sleep the other won’t necessarily wake up.
5. Don’t be afraid of a few tears
I have to let my baby cry for a few minutes every night. It’s literally the only way. Even if he is fully asleep when I put him in his crib he will wake up the moment I put him down. I used to think that the baby crying would be the end of the world. It would wake up the toddler and he would cry and then the baby would cry even more and so on. But one night I was desperate and tired that I put the crying baby in his bed and guess what? The toddler didn’t wake up. I laid by him and rubbed his back and he didn’t wake up! I thought it was a miracle but then it happened again and again. Some nights he does wake up and I do my best to keep him calm. It doesn’t always go smoothly but you can’t really expect it to when you’ve got two ticking time bombs sleeping in the same room. (This is how it feels am I right??)
I’m no expert and these are certainly not hard and fast rules for bedroom sharing . I encourage you to take some time to experiment. It’s amazing what trial and error and show you. Consider your individual children and their specific needs and temperament. No good will come from forcing something that just isn’t working. Sleep training two littles at the same time is ROUGH but it is totally possible if you’re persistent. Hang in there mammas. You got this!Nicole