Is a Toddler Sharing a Room with a Baby Possible?
Not only is it possible to have your toddler start sharing a room with their baby sibling, it’s not uncommon. In fact, until recently, children having their own bedrooms was a real novelty.1 But make no mistake—we’re not talking about co-sleeping. Your toddler and their younger sibling would only share a room—not a sleeping surface.
When to Start Room Sharing
It’ll likely be easiest on all involved to initiate room sharing after baby has begun to sleep through the night. If you want to start sleep training your littlest love in the room they’ll soon share with their older sibling, consider shifting your toddler to a makeshift sleeping arrangement in the meantime so their sleep doesn’t become interrupted.
How to Ease into Room Sharing
Since room sharing won’t happen right away, there’s time to ease your toddler—and the rest of the household—into the idea.
- Let your toddler in on the plan. Start by introducing the concept of room sharing to your toddler. Make it a teachable moment—let them know how big and responsible they are, while also maintaining their sense of individuality. Get them in on the planning too by encouraging them to help rearrange the bedroom space by making some choices about where their bed will go.
- Create a baby-safe area. Just as babyproofing happened throughout the rest of the house, it needs to happen in this new shared space. Ensure that any toys that may be hazardous to baby are put away or kept in a room they don’t have access to.
- Keep bedtime routines age appropriate—and separate. Chances are your baby and your toddler won’t have the same bedtime or bedtime routine—and that’s ok. In fact, having a separate routine can help your toddler continue to feel special. Put the baby down to sleep when it’s appropriate, then begin your toddler’s bedtime routine in another part of your home.
The Benefits of Room Sharing—Now and As They Grow
Aside from the space-saving benefits, there may be other reasons to integrate room sharing that your children can enjoy:2,3
- Reduced bedtime anxiety for those afraid of the dark or who prefer to have a buddy.
- Less likely to be light sleepers thanks to an increase of in-room sounds.
- Expanded exposure to conflict resolution and problem solving.
- Increased comfort in shared spaces outside of family contexts, such as camp and college dorms.