7 AMAZING Tips
One of the questions I get asked post is, “How can I sleep train my baby if they’re sharing a room with a sibling?”
Good question! It’s an issue many parents encounter. Just how do you pull this off? Won’t the little one who is sleep training keep the older child up? And can you prepare your older child for sharing a room during this time?
Today we discuss 7 amazing tips on how to sleep train if siblings share a room.
What Does Sleep Training Involve?
First, you need to know what sleep training is like. This way, you can better understand how sleep training one child could affect the other when siblings share a room.
Whether your child is a newborn, 6 months old, or even older, sleep training primarily relies on consistency and cues. You will most likely utilize:
- A consistent bedtime routine
- Helping your little one learn to fall asleep on their own
- A safe “lovey” object (if this works for your baby)
- White noise, blackout blinds and other tools (if they work for your baby)
- Picking up your baby if they cry for more than a minute or two
The other siblings sharing the room might experience:
- Interrupted sleep when you come in to pick up the crying baby
- Adjustment to having a sibling in their room
- Regression (in young siblings)
- Jealousy and a desire to get up with you and the baby
Remember that the above do not happen in every case of siblings who share a room. However, it’s helpful to know what to look out for when planning your baby’s sleep training routine.
Now let’s talk about the 7 best ways to ensure successful sleep training when they share a room with sibs.
1. Prepare the Siblings Who Share the Room
Before you start sleep training your little one, have a talk with your older child or children. The type of talk will depend upon their age, temperament and verbal ability.
For very young siblings, explain that Baby Brother or Baby Sister will be sleeping in their room. Make it exciting: they will always have a friend nearby!
No matter what age the sibling sharing a room is, explain in terms they can understand that Baby needs to learn how to sleep. Babies sometimes cry, but you will always be nearby to help. Tell the sibling this will take a little time, but just like the sibling, Baby will learn after a while.
2. Establish a Bedtime for Each Child
Next, decide what the children’s bedtime will be. To prevent jealousy on the part of either sibling, try to have the bedtimes be the same.
This is, of course, only possible if the older sibling sharing the room is very young. For instance, your three-year-old may still be going to bed at 7:30. That’s a great time for putting down your little one when sleep training them.
3. Give Your Kids the Same Bedtime Routine
Following the idea above, if you all have the bedtime routine together, there will be less jealousy, less confusion, and eventually (believe it or not!) a sense of camaraderie.
A three-year-old and a four-month-old can have their baths at the same time (put the baby bath in the bathroom), will enjoy the same bedtime books, and may both need a diaper or training pants checked just before bed. They will also both love being sung to.
4. Don’t Let the Younger Sib Cry it Out
A little crying can be expected at first when you put your baby down by herself. Be sure to let the older sibling know that everything is okay; the baby is not hurt.
However, if the crying goes on for more than a couple of minutes, go in and pick the baby up. A baby working her way up from whimpers to all-out screaming is not just distressing for the baby, but also for the older brother or sister.
After that, you will follow the recommendations your sleep training consultant gives you. (See below for more information.)
5. Praise the Older Sibling for Being “So Big”
Your baby’s older brother or sister may be irritated at their quiet room suddenly being noisy. They might also resent having to share a room. When this happens, they might act out, which can throw sleep training off for your littlest, too.
Make sure the process is a positive one for the older sibling. Tell them, “You are so big! You helped Mommy today by being nice and quiet/helping read your bedtime book to Baby/going to bed nicely.”
Positive reinforcement is the way to go so your other child does not feel neglected, resentful or frightened when Baby cries at night.
6. Resist the Urge to Extend Naptime
If your baby is cranky during the day due to lack of sleep the night before, put them down for their nap as usual. But don’t extend naptime by more than 15-20 minutes if possible.
You don’t want your baby to be overtired; rest is important during this time of milestones. But if you let them sleep too long during the day, they are less likely to sleep at night, and the cycle may continue.
7. Consider Sleep Training the Baby in Your Room
This can be especially effective if your baby is under 3 months old. You may want to wait on your children sharing a room until your baby is sleeping for longer stretches at night.
This can take a lot of stress off you, and it will mean fewer nighttime interruptions for your other child.
Once sleep training is established, you can move your baby into their sibling’s room. It will mean another adjustment, but with gentle, complete sleep training, you will have the process down by this point.
Still Stumped? Call Me!
Not sure when to start sleep training? I offer personalized sleep plans and individual support tailored to your family’s needs.