The Bay Area is a wonderful place full of culture, excitement, beauty, booming industries, and…. lots of small houses that are super expensive. Wah, wah, wah.
We live in a small house – and our kids are going to be sharing a room for the foreseeable future. There is nothing wrong with that – plenty of people share a room with their siblings. Our kids happily fall into this camp – more happily now than ever before. Just yesterday that had a blast talking to each other and jumping on their beds when they were supposed to be going down for nap time. Just enough excitement for C to knock his mouth on the side of his crib and rip that little piece of skin that holds your upper lip to your gums. Yup, lovely.
Anyways – other than a few small incidents like crib-banging-mouth-injuries the journey to a shared room has been successful.
How we did it:
Talk About the Transition
We started transitioning C to the room when Wes was just over 2 years old (C was just under a year). We didn’t have high hopes – Wes sometimes still wakes up in the middle of the night needing a snuggle (bad dreams, missing mom, I have no clue…. but at least once or twice a month we are there…). There was a great chance this was going to be a disaster. Either way, we were committed to getting them in the same space and regaining some of our own space back. Be committed if you are going to begin!
Have a Portable Bed
We put a pack n’ play in Wes’s room before we moved C in. We told Wes how his baby brother was going to come and start sleeping in there with him! How fun! We made it an exciting event to put up the pack n’ play together.
We felt like getting a portable crib in there first was easier than setting up the real, permanent crib that would be coming in later. That way if things weren’t working out or Wes totally freaked out, we could readdress it. We talked about it for a few days before putting C in there and Wes never seemed taken back by the idea.
Get a Sound Machine
We got a really loud sound machine to help drain out the little noises that might bother each other.
Routine It Out
We got the bedtime routine down quickly. They both bathed, brushed their teeth and read books together before going into their own beds. Once in a while, Wes had a hard time just laying down in his bed right after books and wanted to fight back against the bedtime process (of course) while C was completely read to go to sleep.
In that case, we would offer one more book on Mom and Dad’s bed to Wes – turned off the bedroom light for baby C and came back 10 minutes later to lay Wes down quietly. He normally “understood” to be quiet when we went back in and that was that.
We Let Them Figure It Out
Sometimes one of them (or both of them) would fight against bedtime, yell, play, scream, cry, jump up and down in bed. They’d be having fun together, or apart. Sometimes not so much fun in sadness or anger about “nightnight” time. Ya know, toddler stuff.
Normally, we’d just let them do whatever they were doing with the lights off and the sound machine on and see how it went. More often than not, 10-15 minutes later they’d both be laying down and sleeping.
A few times over the year, I had to go up there and tell them (errr… normally Wes) that it was time to go to bed and no more playing or talking. A handful of times isn’t bad and generally, it worked itself out. A handful of other times, we had to audible (see below).
We Adjust When Totally Necessary
We put C’s real crib up in their shared room just about two week after the transition began. That freed up the pack n’ play again. When one of them was sick and bound to be up coughing or crying in the middle of the night. Or, ya know, just totally out of control in some sort of “season of their emotional growth” and things were going sideways – we’d pick one of them and stick them back in the pack n’ play in another space in the house. Neither seemed to care about the place the pack n’ play was – they had any stuff they needed (water bottles, favorite stuffed animals, and a secondary sound machine). That pack n’ play has saved our nights when totally needed.
Sharing a space with someone else will never be perfect, but it is totally doable. Let go of the perfect routines, strict schedules, and complete silence. They’ll figure it out, and so will you.
For more on sleep, visit my posts here:
How to Buy the Perfect Crib for Your Baby
Independent Sleep Practices for Sleep Training Infants
Sleep Sacks and Swaddles for a Good Night Sleep
Sleep Training: The Weissbluth Sleep Training Method
10 Things You Need for Best Baby Sleep
Cry It Out Sleep Training (CIO)
How to Get Sleep with a Newborn: Managing Sleep & New Baby
Sleep: How to Get Your Infant on a Nap Schedule