Room Sharing with Siblings

If you are here because you are in the thick of trying to navigate sleep for two (or more!) littles sharing a room, you’ve come to the right place! Sharing a room with siblings is something I treasured and enjoyed growing up. I have many great memories from sharing a room with my younger sister, and I think having to share a space is beneficial to children in many ways. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the path to getting there is smooth, as I’m sure many of you can attest! Not only are some children just less inclined to want to share their space, but if one or more of your little ones sharing a room still has night-wakings, difficulties falling asleep, or are on different schedules than their other sibling, it can pose many problems in making the transition to sharing a room. Here are a few of my top practical tips to help with the transition of siblings sharing a room harmoniously!

1. Both siblings should have a good, established sleep schedule with no regular night wakings.

If you have one or more children that still struggle with going to sleep and/or staying asleep, this is probably not the first tip you wanted to read. But there is good news! I can help you get there, so let’s set up a call if you need help with this part first ☺️. This is a crucial step for obvious reasons. If your baby is waking up your toddler all throughout the night with their cries for feeding or rocking, no one will be getting a good sleep and you will have two cranky kiddos (and maybe be a little cranky yourself) after the continual effort to get them back to sleep each night! If this is already going on, I would highly suggest if possible to separate them while you work on helping them learn to consistently fall and stay asleep independently. Once that skill has been taught, they should be able to coexist in the same room MUCH more peacefully!

2. If they are both in cribs, keep them there!

Many times, parents try to entice their child/children into sharing a room with the promise of a big kid bed. And while sometimes this poses no problem, many times it causes more than it solves! If young children have the ability to get up and out of bed to go play with their other siblings or their toys (or run out the door!), chances are they will take it! If one or more of your children have outgrown the crib or learned to climb out, this will just be an adjustment that has to be made. If that is the case, eliminating as much distraction as possible goes a long way in helping the temptation to get out of bed! Putting books on unreachable shelves and moving toys to a separate room definitely will curb the desire to get up and out of bed! However, if they are both still in cribs, keeping them there as long as is appropriate makes room-sharing significantly easier on everyone.

3. Loud white noise

Even if kids generally sleep well together in the same room, sometimes one or more of them just tends to be a noisy sleeper! From tossing and turning, sleep-talking or whining, to waking up for the bathroom or a drink of water, any of these things and more can be enough to wake their sibling up. Loud white noise is crucial to creating a good sleep environment where they are less likely to hear these things above it! There are many white noise machines and fans out there, but my personal favorite is the Hatch Baby Rest that doubles as a nightlight and okay to wake clock! It is definitely worth what you spend on it and easy to control from your phone! ????????

4. A good routine

Streamlining everything from bath to jammies to reading books to happen at the same time can be much easier on tired kiddos and parents at the end of the day, rather than trying to duplicate two routines back to back! Find and settle on a consistent 20 minute routine that works for everyone. Usually this involves some sort of compromise (each one can pick one book!) If there are any reasons why their routines cannot sync up, I recommend putting the older child to bed after the younger child, so that they are less likely to make noise and wake up the little one.

5. Safety-proof the room!

Knowing there will be not just one but multiple curious children in the room, safety is of the utmost important. Putting child-proof doorknob covers on all the doors, as well as some protective bumpers on edges of furniture, and covers on the electrical outlets is a good place to start. Making sure any blind cords are put up high at a safe distance, and that the room is free of obstacles if they try to navigate the room in the dark will help you rest assured that your sweet peas are safe.

I hope implementing some of these tips is helpful for you and your little ones as they learn how to share a room together! Even when you do everything right, sometimes room sharing between siblings will just have its chaotic moments! But seeing their bond and love for one another grow is 100% worth the effort it takes on our part! ❤️

Did I miss anything? What are some things you felt helped you to transition your children into sharing a room together?

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I’m Katelyn,
Award-winning pediatric sleep consultant, child development expert, and most importantly, wife and mom.
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