Planning for a room-sharing between your toddler and your baby? But you’re afraid that it may not be a good idea? It may seem like a nightmare to let your baby sleep in the same room as your toddler, but toddler room sharing with a baby is actually possible.
It’s important to plan in advance to prepare your toddler for his incoming roommate so that he’ll be ready and more cooperative. Here’s all you need to know about preparing your toddler for room sharing with babies.
Should a toddler room sharing with a baby?
Toddler room sharing with a baby is basically fine and safe. In fact, there are some benefits that come with room sharing, such as establishing a stronger bond between your children or allowing them to learn communication and responsibility skills.
In fact, a study concluded that a baby who sleeps in their own room separate from their parents ends up having better sleep at night.
When can a toddler and baby start sharing a room?
The NHS says that your baby should sleep in the same room as you in her first 6 months because it can help prevent the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Meanwhile, the AAP says that It’s ideal to share a room with your baby until she reaches 12 months of age. It can depend on your preferences, but as long as it’s after six months, it’s fine for you to start moving your baby to her new room.
Apart from that, it’s also recommended to wait until your baby is able to sleep throughout the night, or at least for most of the night. So that your baby doesn’t disturb her bigger sibling’s sleep pattern. In addition, not hurrying also gives you a space to prepare your toddler and talk it in advance about him having a new roommate.
How to prepare your toddler for room sharing with a baby?
While it’s possible to share a room between your toddler and his younger sibling, it does come with some challenges. Here are some ideas that you can do to help the process a little smoother.
Talk to your toddler in advance about moving
Some toddlers are fine with going with the flow, while some may have a little more time to adjust. Therefore, the most important part is preparing your toddler and letting him understand in advance that he’ll be having a new roommate soon. Talk it out in a positive way so that he’ll anticipate the move with excitement.
Ask his opinion about the room setting
If your toddler already has his own room (and he’ll be sharing it with the baby later), asking him his opinion about the room’s setting will allow him to feel included and involved in helping his younger sibling to come in as a roommate. This also teaches him a sense of responsibility as an older sibling.
It can be about redecorating the whole room or simply preparing for the baby’s sleeping quarter.
Place their bed on a separate side of the room
Everyone needs privacy, and so do your children. Therefore, we recommend putting their bed on the opposite side of the room, so that each of them feels like they have their own personal space.
Do you need a room divider? That depends on some circumstances.
If your baby wakes up too often at night and would require you to check-in, it’s more advisable to put a room divider to avoid waking up your toddler.
However, some children enjoy seeing each other, and that may give them a sense of comfort and security of having a sleeping companion, which will also help them to sleep better.
Keep your baby in her crib
If your baby is still under 18 months, it’s best to keep her in her crib until she’s ready to transition to a bigger toddler bed. The NHS recommends transitioning your little one to a toddler bed between 18 months to 3 years of age. Or after your child is able to climb her cot every single night, or when she’s too big to sleep in her cot.
Talk to your toddler about things he can and cannot do
It’s normal for children to want to play with the baby, putting some toys in the crib to calm the baby down when she’s crying, or even putting on a blanket because they thought it could keep the baby warm.
While it’s a good sign that your child loves and wants to take care of the baby, it can also be dangerous at some points. In fact, the NHS even says that it’s not safe for babies under 1 year old to sleep with a pillow or a duvet, not to mention having a toy in their crib!
Therefore, it’s important to talk to your toddler about some things he can and cannot do, or set some rules that he can refer to. You can talk it out in a positive way, such as asking your toddler to help take care of the baby by coming to you when the baby cries instead of doing things on his own. Every time he does that, give him appreciation so that he can feel a sense of importance and learn responsibility skills.
Keep the room from potential hazard
As mentioned before, a toy can be unsafe for babies, especially if your toddler places it in the crib. To prevent that from happening, you can keep the room free of these things such as toys, bins, cables, or anything that may potentially harm your little one.
Stay positive and confident
Children follow their parents’ lead after all. So, it’s important to stay positive and confident about the move, so that your children feel that it’s a good thing.
After all, room-sharing is a positive phase in your children’s life. Although it can be an uphill battle for some parents, it’ll get better – and you will have better sleep too – once they’re used to the changes. Many children who share a room also end up creating a strong lifetime bond between siblings.