Moving your baby into your toddler’s room may be a decision you haven’t taken lightly, but your reasons are what makes sense for the family, so let us guide you through how to make it a success. In this article, we'll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to make this transition as seamless as possible.
Why Move Your Baby into Your Toddler's Room?
The decision to move your baby into your toddler's room can be motivated by various factors. Some families find it convenient to have their children share a room for space reasons or to promote sibling bonding. Others may need to free up a nursery for a new addition to the family. Regardless of your reasons, having a plan before you start will be beneficial for everyone’s sleep.
How to Delay the Transition a Little Bit Longer
If you are bringing a newborn home, pump the breaks on room sharing with toddler or older kiddo at first. It’s probable that your newborn is sleeping in a bassinet and can stay in your room for 4-6 months. Get creative to keep your baby in YOUR room as long as night feeds are present. Buy a room divider to eliminate line of sight and even check to see if there is room in your walk-in closet (if you have one). This could be a great option as its incredibly dark and you can run power for a fan, white noise and baby monitoring system. Moving your baby in with your toddler once they are night weaned will feel less daunting.
Are you moving your second kiddo in with your first because you have a third on the way and need a crib? Hold off on that one, as well. Again, the newborn won’t need a crib right away and delaying 4-6 more months will help your older toddler become more mature for the crib to bed transition.
When the timing is right and you are ready to move your baby in with your older child, here are some ways you can prepare.
Double check the timeline
Is there anyway to keep baby in your room just a little longer? Reasons being they are just about to night wean or you would like to sleep train first.
Be sure the sibling’s room is safe and free of any small toys, choking hazards, outlets are covered and furniture is secured to name a few. Have a video monitoring systems installed so you can keep an eye on both. This will be incredibly important when you toddler is moved into a bed.
Encourage positive interactions between your baby and toddlers, and preschoolers will go through an adjustment period when welcoming a baby brother or sister. Be sure to practice patience as they are getting used to the new family addition.
Optimize the room for sleep for both. Black out the windows entirely so both can sleep soundly even when the sun is up. It’s likely that your baby and toddler may have different bedtimes and nap times, so keeping the room dark & cool will help them sleep no matter the time of day.
Additional Step for a Smooth Room Sharing Transition
Do you have the crib setup in the new room? Have baby practice taking some naps in there. Start with the morning nap as baby has the highest chances of taking a long, independent nap at this time of day.
Bedtime Routine Consistency
Maintain a consistent bedtime routine that your baby is familiar with. This routine can serve as an anchor, helping your baby feel secure in the new sleeping environment. Wonder what an optimal bedtime routine looks like? Grab our free bedtime guide here.
If your toddler has a later bedtime, complete their bedtime routine in your room then walk them into their shared room for a quick tuck-in.
Launder the crib sheet with the old bassinet sheet so they smell and feel the same. Continue to use a sleep sack for baby for both nap sleep and night sleep. Have baby spend some time in the room before making the transition. Letting them crawl around and explore will help them get used to the new space
Your baby and toddler will both sleep better with the use of a sound machine. Find one that offers sounds like pink, brown and white noises. These sounds include all frequency and will not play on a loop. Using a sound machine that runs all night long will help preserve and protect their sleep from noises inside and outside the room.
Practice Independent Sleep Routines
When baby is around 4-6 months old, you can start practicing independent routines at sleep times. This means you can assist your child less when they are falling asleep. Doing so will allow them to connect sleep cycles overnight and during naps. Drowsy but awake can be discontinued and moving to wide awake will help them sleep more soundly. If you have thought about sleep training but don’t know where to start, check out our sleep services and offerings.
How to Help your Older Child with the New Sibling Transition
1. Positive Reinforcement:
Encourage sibling bonding by praising and celebrating when the baby and toddler spend time together in the same room. Positive associations can make the transition smoother. Point out and applaud the behavior that you want to see. Talk to your older child about how to properly keep the baby safe and encourage time where they can hold the baby supervised.
2. Shared Activities:
Create opportunities for the baby and toddler to interact and play together in their shared space during waking hours. This can help build positive associations with the new sleeping arrangement.
3. Respect Individual Needs:
While promoting sibling bonding is important, respect the individual sleep needs of both the baby and toddler. It may seem tempting to sync their nap times but be aware that they have different needs and keeping them both rested will outweigh the perks of getting a break. This leads into the importance of one-on-one time with each, the toddler specifically will cherish the alone time they have with you.
How to Handle those Bumps in the Road
If either child experiences sleep regression during the transition, stay patient and consistent with the bedtime routine. Regression is often temporary and should improve with time. Take a look at when you can expect a regression to happy for either or both. Keep in mind that not all children experience every regression. This is one reason why parents choose to sleep train. If baby/kiddo is an independent sleeper, those dreaded regressions may not even happen. Sleep regressions are typically a combination or change in sleep needs and increased anxiety about separating at bedtime. Here is the fast track way to get through a sleep regression- Advice on sleep regressions.
2. Night Wakings:
Both the baby and toddler might experience night wakings due to the change. Communicate with your older child that if they hear the baby cry, its okay and mom and dad are aware and may be watching from the monitor. Help them feel secure by giving them a comfort item like a stuffed animal to hug in the middle of the night.
Key Takeaways for a Smooth Transition when Moving Baby into your Toddler’s Room
Come up with a plan and stick with it! If your goal is for them to share a room, give it time for them to adjust to the noises and disruptions that come with it. Be careful not to pick up any habits you can’t sustain as a temporary fix to the solution. As a mom to twins and sleep consultant, room sharing is doable for many families when practicing bedtime routines that promote independent sleep.
Hey! I'm Lindsay Loring. I am a certified pediatric sleep consultant specializing in twins, toddler and babies. Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting was started shortly after I had my twins. I was so tired that I dreaded bedtime each night as I knew I would not get ANY sleep. Now I am a resource for families to show them how to start and keep routines that involve sleep. Learn more here.