Teaching a little one to sleep through the night can be a tricky process at the best of times, but it’s made much more so if your new baby is sharing a room with an older sibling. Having one child waking up every time the other one starts to fuss is enough to make many parents throw in the towel and just bring one of their kids into their bed, which can completely derail their progress.
In today’s video, I’ll go over some of the more common pitfalls parents fall into in this scenario, and what you can do to minimize the impact that your baby’s night wakings will have on their sibling’s sleep habits.
A lot of families are in a position where their children have to share a room. That’s just the way it is. The house isn’t big enough for all of these people. So I want to give you a few tips today if you’ve got a scenario where you have an older child and you have a baby and you want those two people to share a room.
The problem is your baby doesn’t sleep well yet. So the worry, then, becomes if I don’t respond to this baby the second I hear her in the night, she’s gonna wake up my three-year-old, and then they’re both gonna be awake, and it’s gonna be a horrible night, and no one’s gonna get any sleep.
So this is the scenario you’re envisioning in your mind, and it stops you from taking action. And I get it. Nobody really likes the thought of having both kids awake. Nobody’s sleeping at three o’clock in the morning. So I’ll give you a few tips today for dealing with that.
Now, if you’ve got a toddler that does sleep well, let’s hope that that’s the scenario, that your toddler sleeps well, don’t move your toddler. Never move a toddler. In fact, that’s great advice across the board. Toddlers are very black and white in their thinking. They don’t like changes like that. He won’t do well if you try to move them into the office or the spare room or the closet for a few weeks while you teach the baby to sleep well.
It’s always better to move the youngest child out of the room because we want to try to honor and preserve our older child’s sleep. Absolutely. We want to do our best to minimize any disrupt to that child’s sleep. So let’s move the baby out even if that means she’s in a Pack ‘n Play in your bedroom for the first week or two as we start the program.
If that’s the scenario, or she could be in the office or the laundry room. I mean, it doesn’t have to be pretty, but if we can find some sort of own space scenario for this little person while we teach her the skills she needs to sleep well, that’s better.
If it is in your bedroom, then make sure you build some sort of partition between you and the baby, even if that means you just hang some sheets from the ceiling or you put her in your walk-in closet. Again, this isn’t for the long term. This is just so that we can start the program. Because if she wakes up and sees you in the middle of the night, what a baby tends to do is become so absolutely adorable, she wants to play peekaboo, she’s grinning her little ears off, she’s just being absolutely as cute as can be.
But it’s three o’clock in the morning and this goes on for two hours. So you do want to make sure that there’s some way to block you from her sight.
So then once you’ve got that all organized, where is she gonna sleep, then you can start the program, the Sleep Sense program. Pick a method that feels good to you and go for it.
Now, unless you live in a 10-bedroom house, there really is no way to prevent your other child from not hearing this baby at all. If there’s gonna be any kind of protest in the night, chances are high that at least somewhere in this experience she’s gonna wake up your three-year-old. And guess what? You know, my advice is oh well. Like, okay, it’s gonna happen. Let’s just prepare ourselves for a worst-case scenario that this baby has now waken up the three-year-old and she’s wondering what’s going on and she might be crying too and it’s not gonna be a fun night for anybody.
But it’s just the short term. It’s really just this hill we have to climb so that we can get to the other side where both and everyone sleeps all the way through the night. Okay, so just put it away. It’s gonna happen. It’s not the end of the world. We’re moving on.
It’s sometimes helpful to warn your older child. Let her know that, you know what, you might hear your baby brother in the night. Don’t worry about it. Mommy’s handling it or Daddy’s handling it. You just roll over and go right back to sleep again. Now, once you’ve got your baby sleeping well and through the night, give it a week or two of pretty solid progress. Give it a week or two of she’s sleeping through every night, looking good. Once that’s happening, then you can move them back together.
But just there’s always gonna be challenges with room sharing. I mean, I wish there was a perfect solution for room sharing, but there just isn’t. But if that’s what has to happen due to space, then go ahead and do it and just know that there might be a little bit of a back slide as we get them both used to sleeping in that same room together.
All right, thanks for watching. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!