If you were anything like me, creating a quiet, sleep-inducing room for your firstborn was a priority.
Then, a second or third baby comes along and while it may have seemed like enough to have 3 fans and a white noise machine humming to get the kids to sleep, the reality of toddlers sharing a room may throw a big fat wrench in even the best laid plans.
So, whether you’re taking a trip and your kids will need to share a room, or you need to double up in your own home because of limited space, here are a few tips to get your kids through the transition of sharing a room (without pulling an all-nighter):
- Familiar Object. Introduce a blanket or stuffed animal that your babies associate with sleep. This is a great idea even without the impending possibility of sharing a room as it will help your little one get to sleep when you’re not at home. Then, if sharing a room becomes a reality, this special “blanky” will be a comforting, familiar object when their surroundings have changed. It will also signal to your little angels that it’s time to sleep, not play.
- Keep them active. In the beginning, make sure to put them down for a nap or to bed when they are extremely tired. When we’re on vacation, I find that my kids are so pooped at the end of the day that they fall asleep pretty easily. But during the first week of having them share a room at home, I took the kids outside so they could run around and burn off any excess energy. Oh, and I slept well too!
- Keep up the rituals. In addition to a familiar object, keeping sleeptime rituals the same will also help. Their routine might be a warm bath, brushing their teeth, and curling up with a good book with Daddy. This will be source of comfort and important to maintain in the new environment.
- Be firm. When my kids first began sharing a room, my daughter decided it was necessary to yell at her little brother to “wake up!” once I’d left the room. I would let her yell for a few minutes, and then go into the room and firmly tell her to stop. Apparently I was so firm that my son would begin to laugh (nervously) when I walked in the room. My daughter eventually figured it out too.
In all, it took about a week before the novelty of sharing a room wore off for my kids. And while we still get a little giggling or fooling around for a few minutes every now and then, for the most part it seems like they enjoy their new sleeptime arrangement (and each other).