Sharing A Room

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Advice on sharing a room.

QUESTION:
We recently transferred our 8 month old daughter from the pack and play in our bedroom to her crib in our older daughter's room (she's almost 3). She was sleeping through the night for about a week, and continued to do so for about another week or so after we moved her.  Now, I think she's teething so she's having a harder time sleeping
(and is up nearly every 2 hours) but whereas before I would have let her cry it out a bit I feel like I need to rush in when I hear her, so that she doesn't start screaming and wake up my toddler. Not sure it makes sense to move her back into our room to get back on the sleeping schedule, but just wondering how other people handled this
transition to sharing a room.

Also, our toddler has a bad bedtime habit that's driving me crazy, especially now since they're both in the same room (she was doing it before too). After I put her down, she comes out of her room consistently, sits on the top step, and waits for me to come tuck her back in. I give her warnings, I take away her doll and bear, and
still, she keeps coming out. I even tried not saying anything for awhile and just putting her back in bed so as not to draw too much attention. Now I worry about her waking the baby if she starts to throw a fit.

Basically, bedtime has become a nightmare before they're even asleep - it takes forever and is wearing me out. Any suggestions?

ANSWERS

“We're in a similar situation to you- our 3.5 yr old daughter and 22 mo old son share a room. We haven't found the perfect answer yet but here are some ideas:

1. I put the eldest one in her bed first. If I put the younger one in first, and then the elder, the younger freaks out. So I have to put him in best last and then leave immediately.

2. So I read my daughter a story or two and sing some songs, put her on the potty next to her bed one last time. She sleeps with a diaper on. I do say that if she has to go in the middle of the night she should go on the potty but she's usually dry in the morning. Meanwhile my younger one is just playing in the room or comes to the listen to the story.

3. I tuck in my daughter, make sure she has her cuddly toy, nightlight on. I say if she has a bad dream she should try not to wake up her brother but come and find me. I say if she's really quiet, her brother will go to sleep quickly and when he's asleep I'll come back to give her an extra cuddle. I rarely do this as she falls asleep by the time he does.

4. I put my son in his sleepsack so he can't climb out of his crib. I check his diaper and sing him a few songs, put him in his crib and leave, leaving the door slightly ajar. Since we came back from our holiday I had to re- sleep train him but it took one night of him screaming for an hour.

5. If I hear my daughter crying out because of a nightmare in the night I get to her ASAP before she wakes up her brother. If I'm too late and he wakes up and sees me there I'm stuck patting him back to sleep after I've calmed my daugther down. Ugh.

6. My daughter can sleep through my son's crying as I sleeptrained him while she was in the room. She knows it doesn't last very long once I'm with him. It continually surprises me what she can sleep through.

7. As for my daugher staying in bed- I wouldn't punish her for coming out but reward her for staying in! E.g. pancakes for breakfast if she stayed in all night...”

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“We made it a very exciting thing for our daughter when her little brother finally started sharing their room. (I think he was about 3 or 4 months old). granted, for several months he ended up back in
our bed at night because it was easier for me to nurse him in our bed. but he went to sleep in their room and she considered the room theirs -- not hers. when he woke up and cried, she rarely woke up too. she'd just roll over and go back to sleep. our pediatrician says this is common -- older siblings just ignore the crying and sleep...”

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“My two daughters started sharing a room when they were 5 mos and 2.5 years. The 2.5 year old loved the company and younger sis worships older sis, so she was thrilled as well. So preparing big sister to share her room was not an issue for us at all. However, it can get tricky with middle of the night feedings, but luckily my older daughter seems to sleep through pretty much anything except a nightmare. And if she does get woken up she's back to sleep in a matter of minutes. Even so, there was still a fair amount of musical beds being played in our house in the interest of everyone getting a decent night of sleep. It took us about six months to master the situation. Right now we have synchronized their bed times and if the younger one awakens in the night (usually every night), we let her cry herself back to sleep and my older daughter doesn't seem to mind. When they wake up in the morning they keep each other entertained for a little while which is great. The biggest problem we've encountered is my toddler climbing into her sister's crib in the morning. And I'm afraid I never did find a way around that. We've probably had an easier time with this than most, but in the end, I think most young children love having a sibliing to share a room with because they're not alone and it ends up being fun most of the time. )”

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“In my family I think it just comes down to being firm together with simple explanations. Our daughter was 2 when her 3 mo old brother moved in. She very quickly learnt to sleep through his crying, especially when we sleeptrained him at 6 months. She wakes him up, though, very easily- e.g. when she cries when she's ill. I explained to her that she would never be lonely at night and that she was lucky to share a room.”

 

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“You should definitely invest in a white noise machine to put between the crib and the bed. Also, try staggering the bedtimes or putting them down at the same time. Staggering the bedtimes allows the first child to settle down into a deep sleep before the next one goes down. But sometimes having the same bedtime is a good way for them to bond and get used to sharing a room.

My two children XXXX and XXXX (almost 5 and 2.2) have shared a room since the younger was 3 months old . The arrangement has worked out fine but there are some kinks on occasion. Here's what we have done:
When the younder was moved into her room at 3 months he was already sleeping through the night from 11pm to 6am. (it's true). But then we moved his bedtime coincide with hers (8pm), knowing that there would be some protest cries. We simply told my older daugther that if she heard him that she would just have to stay in her bed, and usually she was so exhausted she just zoned him out. Sometimes she would complain that he was keeping her up, but he sleep trained early because we didn't give in my going in constantly to check on him.

Now that my older daughter has started kindergarten, she too is very clingy at bedtime and wants me to stay in the room. I've been firm, and have told her to think about all the fun things that we're going to do together tomorrow if she's well rested. I also give her a baby doll to sleep with that she nurses with a bottle. It seems to work!”

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“I went to a workshop a while ago on designing kids' spaces (bedrooms, play spaces, study spaces). One point they made was that it's important for each child to have his/her own private space within the shared room. They talked about one family (dad was an architect) who built 2 loft beds with a private reading and study space for each child under the bed, with a curtain the child can close. They also mentioned using bookcases and other sorts of furniture to divide the space. They said shared bedroom can work very well.”