Soon, and I mean very soon, I will have two little boys in the house. Being a mom to two under two is exciting, overwhelming, and a reason to plan your butt off! Living in a two bedroom house with no extra room adds to the anxiousness of adding another little person into the family! Luckily, as a sleep consultant, that is something I can (semi) check off the list. As much as I would like each of my boys to have the perfect Pottery Barn style nursery, it just isn’t a reality right now! So if you are in the same boat as me, here are some tips to have both an infant and a toddler share a room.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
Know that this transition will be just that, a transition. Setting the expectation for yourself that this change could be hard for everyone the first few nights will ultimately do you well in the long run. No child does amazing with change right off the bat as they crave structure and routine, so just know that whatever may be to come will be temporary. Starting on a weekend may help ease the process knowing your toddler won’t have school or obligations they will be tired for, and parents can switch off and take a nap during the day if needed!
Prepare Your Toddler
Let them know at bedtime the night that you are planning the transition that they may hear their sibling cry during the night, but that they are ok and mommy or daddy will be in to help them. If the baby does cry, they can still rest and roll over to go back to sleep without having to worry about taking care of or checking on the baby themselves.
Move Your Infant Into Your Toddlers Room
Toddlers are very black and white thinkers, so moving your toddler once they are already established in their room will make the transition harder on everyone. Make sure that when completing the move keep everything as much the same for your toddler as possible, including your bedtime routine and time of bedtime. This is why bedtimes are so important! If you are adding a bed into the room, add it in a place where you won’t have to move your toddlers bed from its current position.
Wake-ups Will Happen
Yes, at some point during the transition into bringing your infant into your toddlers room, one (or both) of them will wake during the night and cry. And that is ok! Rushing in when one is crying to avoid waking the other will create a sleep prop and not work out in your favor in the long run. Give your child some time to figure it out (about 10 minutes) before heading into the room to offer some assistance. As children older than 4 months cycle through sleep they will enter periods of deep sleep, so if your toddler is in a deep sleep period when the younger child cries, they may not even notice. Be sure to invest in a great sound machine (or two!) to help drown out some of those whines and cries during the night.
What If Your Infant Isn’t Sleep Trained?
Moving your infant into the same room as your toddler to do sleep training isn’t ideal! Work on sleep training to have your baby falling asleep independently and sleeping through the night for at least 1 or 2 weeks before making the transition into the toddlers bedroom. At this time, you don’t want baby to see the parents either, so having a pack n play in the office, spare room (or even kitchen!) is a good way to get baby learning those independent sleep skills. If your bedroom is large enough and there is a way that baby will not see you then that could also work.
Having two (or more!) children to love is amazing, but may create a tight living environment for all! Having children share a room can later create an amazing bond between them, although the initial transition in can be rocky. Following these steps will ensure as smooth a transition as possible!