Whether it’s tight city living or by choice, your newborn may end up moving out of your room and into his or her older sibling’s bedroom. Indeed, the birth of a second child spawns not only new sleeping schedule, but also new sleeping arrangements — and for many parents, those new arrangements translate in room sharing.
Though you may have your reservation about your routine and organization and about everyone’s sleep, getting a baby and a toddler to share a room isn’t as difficult as you may think. You just need to be prepared. To help you in this new venture, here are 10 tips to help you room siblings together without going bonkers.
1. Follow their lead and be a bit flexible when it comes to timing. Sometimes it’s easier to put the baby down first to avoid toddler disruption, and sometimes it helps to have them going down around the same time. What they want can change from one night to the next, so be prepared to be flexible and positive. You’ll see, your toddler and baby will follow suit. And if there are tears, it’s okay; and it’s probably inevitable too.
2. A night light is key. You’ll be changing diapers in the dark and reading to your older one when baby is already asleep. A nightlight can really help you keep on living without waking those who are fast asleep. Our oldest daughter is partial to the Cloud B Octopus, which we also travel with!
3. A divider can be helpful. If you have the room for it, you can use a bookshelf, canopy or teepee to break up their sightlines. This is especially helpful if you have little ones who tend to interact a lot with each other or who wake up at night.
4. Keep all your bedtime and wake-up time essentials handy. PJs, books, water, meds, diapers, favorite stuffies… Whatever you know you’ll need from bedtime to wake-up time, make sure you have easy access to it. We use an Ikea utility cart for a lot of these essentials, but also have our changing station set up on the top of two Badger Baskets with Land of Nod shelves above as well as PB Baby changing pad & crib organizers. It makes midnight diaper changes a whole lot easier and seamless.
5. Don’t forget white noise or music. White noise is a good way to muffle sudden sounds that may wake your little ones up, helping to keep them asleep through it all. We resurrected this little practice at bedtime when our second child moved in, and our toddler has actually been loving the music as well. Aden & Anais has a good option that also keeps track of time and temperature.
6. Keep their room organized in their room by child. This is more for you than for them. Knowing where’s what, and for whom will save you time and energy when it comes to getting ready for bed and even to getting out of the house. We have an endless amount of Pillowfort bins that can make everything look cute while housing go-to school staples like pants and tees for your bigger one on one side, and PJs and onesies for your baby on the other. Use hooks for each kiddos’ outdoor essentials and baskets for shoes.
7. Choose your rug wisely. Use a mat or rug that can be wiped down easily. You wnat it to be safe for baby to play on, but you also want to withstand potty training. We have a Little Nomad.
8. Choose a chair that can double duty. Keep a cozy chair with cushions that is equally good for story time and for nursing. We have an Ikea Ektorp armchair with storage Ottoman for blanket storage (note the washable covers plus back ups!), but love the classic Glider at PB Kids if you need some movement.
9. Invest in a video monitor. Chances are, your little one will get curious about baby and may want to venture in the crib and check him or her out. Having a video monitor can help you have peace of mind and keep things safe. We specifically set our monitor to keep an eye out on our toddler since she figured out how to get into her little sister’s crib (among other tricks). But if your littlest one isn’t a great sleeper and you feel the need to keep an eye on her too, there are monitors that have multiple-camera options.
10. Store messy, tiny, loud toys elsewhere. They simply don’t belong in the bedroom. No one needs to be stepping on Lego in the middle of the night, listening to loud, annoying toys or have your toddler painting the walls in there. Not to mention, they may end up being a hazard to baby.
Liz got her start in the corporate public relations department at Coach, where she oversaw regional press and events. In time, Liz segued into the fast-paced agency world, moving to a boutique firm specializing in fashion accessories. In early 2009, she founded her boutique PR firm, Mariposa Communications, to provide custom services to a selection of talented fashion accessory designers, whether already established or on the rise. Liz currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two daughters and their dog Mackie.
Photography by Lindsey Belle for Well Rounded.