I'm the mama of two beautiful kids: my son Hudson, 4, and our baby girl Sienna, 18 months. I am also the mama who has a two bedroom town home. So if you're a pro at simple math like me, then you'll have guessed that leaves 1 bedroom for both my babes. I wrote a blog on this same topic right after our daughter was born, and it has some good tips that worked while she was younger. But since she's started walking, jabbering, pouting, and climbing, things have changed, and so have our methods.
So the question is, how do you get your kids to sleep if they're in the same room?
For a lot of families, this is a 'make it work' moment (and yes, I did say that in my best Tim Gunn voice) because you're going to have to get creative, set some guidelines for yourself and the kids, and get a clear idea of how this is going to play out. I also think it's a good idea to be realistic about what you can expect. So if you're in this situation like me, then stay tuned for some truth, tips, and tricks to get two (or more?) kids to sleep in the same room.
Set-UpOkay this is a big one, because this whole thing hinges on your kids both being able to feel like they're safe, comfortable, and secure in their own space when they sleep. Because you're already dealing with a space issue, it's hard to not jam the kids' room full of kids things (like their toys), but here are a couple things I recommend based on things that HAVE and HAVEN'T worked:
- Keep toys that make noise, have bright lights, or beeping sounds out of their room. We do keep toys in our kids' room in a toy organizer, but we are clear that they stay in there when the lights go out.
- Separate their beds/cribs so they have defined sleeping areas. We put our son's bed on one wall, with certain things on the wall that show it's his bed, and our daughter's crib is on the opposite wall set up the same way.
- We keep a night light in our kids' room, but make sure that the overhead light can't be turned on (we have an outlet powered light, so we just unplug it before bed)
- Set yourself up with a monitor, because it's so important to keep your eyes and ears open. We want to make sure that our kids aren't playing with toys, climbing out of bed, or tugging on the curtains or whatever. If you have a camera, that works great too, because then you're not opening and closing the door every two minutes to see what's going on.
- Another thing that we do in our home, but isn't a great option for every family, is we keep a child doorknob on the inside of their door- our son is prone to getting out of bed and demanding to come out and watch TV, or go to the bathroom a million times, check the temp on the thermostat, water the plants (basically anything that will get him out of bed) so to make sure that he knows he needs to stay in his room, that child-lock doorknob is essential for us!
TimingWhen our daughter was first born, and we transitioned her into the room with her brother, we didn't have much trouble with either of them keeping each other up, because she really only woke up to nurse, and didn't make a ton of noise otherwise. But ooooooh mama, how things have changed. Now my kids totally egg each other on, keep each other up, and generally drive me crazy when they get into it before bed. So there are few things that we've changed up that have helped a ton at bedtime (and naptime)!
- Our daughter still needs two naps, and my son will occasionally take one nap. My little one's morning nap is usually an easy thing, because she's in there solo, but when afternoon rolls around and it's time for them to both take a nap, things can get a little tricky. I try my best to make sure that they both go in there and know that it is nap time, but will normally hand a couple of books or a doodle pad to my toddler and let him know that if he doesn't sleep, he needs to stay quiet for baby's nap.
- Depending on how crucial nap time is for your babes (and for you!), you may want to consider splitting them up for nap time. I know a lot of mamas who let their older child sleep in mama and daddy's bed, while the baby sleeps in the crib. Or you could set up a portable crib in the master so that the toddler can sleep in his bed.
- We have a pretty consistent nighttime routine, and it works for our kids to get the hint that it is definitely bedtime for everyone-- after cleaning up our toys, we brush teeth, get in jammies, read a book, pray, and get tucked in. Nothing special, no muss, no fuss, but our kids know that when we're done cleaning up at night and we say, "Time to brush teeth", that bedtime is here. I would definitely recommend doing some type of reliable bedtime to make sure that your kids are ready to wind down for sleep.
Having more than one kid in the same room is going to be a challenge sometimes, and the truth is you're probably going to be changing it up a ton to make sure that you all get some sleep. Even this week we had to rearrange our furniture so that our daughter would stop grabbing the freaking drapes already! You might miss a couple of naps here and there, take a little more time getting things settled down for bed, and invest a little more in a monitor to keep things safe, but in my experience it totally works!
Getting two kids to sleep in the same room may feel like it's impossible sometimes, and you're going to have to do your best to be patient with yourself, your babes, and everyone's different quirks and personalities. Trial and error is the name of the game, and you're going to have to change things up every once in a while when your kids hit new milestones and start to make up their own ideas about sleeping in the same room, but I promise it's possible and you CAN all get some sleep!