Episode 3: Sibling Room Sharing (the kind where everyone actually sleeps) | Baby's Best Sleep

Amanda talks all about how to tackle room sharing in a way that means all kids (and parents) involved get the best sleep possible!

If you’re staring a room-sharing nightmare in the face–this is your episode.

She goes into detail about the strategy she uses with her own kids, who have been successfully sharing a room for years!

A room sharing guide is coming your way at the end of this month if you’re a Baby’s Best Reader! Sign up here: www.babysbestsleep.com/email

Hello everybody and welcome to slumber party with Amanda Jewson. I’m so excited that you came back for this third episode. I’m super excited to bring you this information because room sharing is something that comes up a lot in my work, and you know, on my own because my girls share a room and have shared a room since they work three and one. We’ll talk about some of those challenges and what some of those solutions will be this week. Before we get started on that topic, I would just love to thank you so much for all of your subscribes, your likes, your shares of the podcast, and most of all your reviews really and truly those reviews make it or break it. And I’m so excited to tell you that we made new and noteworthy! So I would like to continue that trend and you know, share the love with all those sleepy parents out there.

So, if you do like what you hear, I’m going to be a little bit thirsty and ask you to subscribe because that tells apple that you love me. And then I would love for you to review me on apple and iTunes. Even five words, just saying: I like podcast. Amanda. Good. That’s good enough for me. I’m happy with that. If you are in the Toronto area, just a little plug, I’m going to be at the Bump to Baby show at Wychwood Barns June 2nd. I am a vendor there, and I’d love to chat with you if you have a sleep question, and you have 15 minutes. I will ask you to sign up with my assistant and you can chat with me about any sleep question, for 15 minutes while I’m there. And yeah, so kind of visit me the Bump to Baby show June 2nd at Wychwood Barns in Toronto.

Yeah. So there’s that. Trying to think if there’s some other great things that I want to tell you. Oh yeah. So, um, my last month’s newsletter was all about napping on the go, which is something that we’re actually going to tackle on this podcast at some point. But you can go to my, my website, www.babysbestsleep.com/email, sign up for my email newsletter! Once you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get a little welcome note with my top baby sleep tips. And then about 12 hours later you’re going to get another email for me, which was last month’s newsletter with a downloadable tip sheet on how to nap on the go successfully. So one of my big passions is, you know, making sure that your baby is sleeping but that you’re living your regular real life, and this is just one of those ways you can do that.

So the, the downloadable is for you to kind of take and peruse and use as your baby develops those sleep skills. So please download it. It’s free. There’s no just, I guess you sign up for my newsletter. But I will say on that note, this month’s newsletter will be on room sharing. So if you like this podcast and you would like to hold onto some of this information either on your computer or on your phone, I will be sending out another downloadable next month on room sharing.

Okay, so I plugged down my things. Hopefully you find that helpful for you. Let’s talk about room sharing now. This week’s question comes from Jessie and Jessie emailed to me. Hi Amanda. I’ve enjoyed following you on Instagram and listening to your takeovers on MomsTO Yay. If you’re not following @momstoronto on Instagram, you should. It’s amazing. I’m looking forward to your podcast. I have a question that I hope you’ll consider tackling. Question, how do I get my two year old and seven month old sleeping in the same room? When can I do it? What steps can I take to make it successful and any pointers to keep it working as they get older. Here are the details. We live in a two bedroom townhouse with floor to ceiling windows. Awesome, but not great for kiddos sleep. Yes. Baby’s slept in our room until five and a half months when we moved him to our second guest washroom and began sleep training. That is hardcore girl. He’s doing well. It’s taken a few tries to get here and are close to sleeping through the night. So I’d like to combine the kids soon and reclaim the washroom. He’s also getting a little small for the play pen that fits in there. Fair enough. Two and a half year old is generally a great sleeper, but as known to sing or talk for up to an hour until she falls asleep. The two and a half year old goes to bed at seven and baby is going to bed around six 30. We’re working to get him close to seven as well. Each kid has their own crib in the bedroom. Best of luck with your podcast. Thanks Jessie. Okay, Jessie. Awesome question. Um, and your kids are around the age that my kids were when they started room sharing. So I have some expertise here that should be able to help you. Um, the first thing that we always want to consider, with room sharing is, is the older one a good sleeper? And what I mean, are they causing you issues? Do they come out of their bedroom? You know, maybe they’re at a, if they’re in a bed, they need to be staying put in that bed because they’re really, believe it or not, they’re going to make or break this process your baby.

If they are sleeping well, will generally sleep through most things and the earlier that we can transition them into a room sharing environment, the easier it’ll be for them to room share going forward. Your kids will sleep through the craziest things. You have no idea. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. So I think that the big thing is how’s that big kid doing right? Are they going to get up and wake up the baby purposefully? How were their mornings? Are they getting up very early in the morning and kind of doing the same thing? Your big kid really needs to be on point and we can’t just wish your kid to be on point. We need to actually make sure that they are there. So if they are not sleeping well, we need to get them sleeping well as soon as possible.

That is definitely step one. Okay. Is your big kid sleeping well and, and Jessie, you know, looking at your question here, it sounds like your, your two and a half year old is sleeping well generally some singing or talking and unwinding is normal. Up to an hour.. that’s a bit long. Anything over 20 minutes maybe that they’re getting too much day sleep so I might reduce the amount of day sleep they’re getting, it’s hard to know how much they’re getting, but if they’re getting more than I would say an hour and a half, two hours, that might be too much for two and a half year old. Hopefully she’s still in a crib because my general recommendation is cribs until at least three and preferably until four. I know, shocker! But if your child is in a, a bed, under two and under, or two and a half and under, I would really like to get them back into the crib cause they don’t give any shits.

They don’t care. They don’t understand why they need to stay in their bed when they have all of this freedom. So it’s not personal, they just don’t understand. And so unless your, your child is, you know, quite advanced, most, most children under two and half aren’t staying put. So we need to introduce a crib to make sure that they are, I would say that if your baby is going to sleep at around 6:30pm and actually going to bed at 6:30pm, I would say it’s okay that you’re two and a half year old, goes to bed at 7. We have that situation for quite a bit of time in my house. And what we did is we did a separate bedtime routine. Ideally you want to get them on the same point, eventually. And I would say at five and a half months, you know, within a month or two you’re seven and a half month old, we’ll probably be going to bed at around seven as well.

In the meantime, no, no need to rush that. I would just do your routine with the baby. You can get your younger one involved in that routine, you know, maybe that they read books with baby, you put baby down leave and then you know, do some quiet play with the older kid. And then we do a quiet routine maybe in your bedroom or a dimly.. With some dim lights in the living room until you’re ready to put your older kid to bed. And then basically, you know, kiss, hug outside quietly show your whispers model the behavior that you want your two and a half year old to do. Okay. We’re heading to bed now because baby’s sleeping. Okay. I love you, have good sleep, good night. And then we leave. Okay. So the, the different bedtime isn’t, isn’t really scary to me and that goes for everyone.

If your children have drastically different bedtimes, it’s, it’s okay to have those two and do the routine in another location as long as there’s low light and less activity involved. One thing we, we, when we’re talking about room sharing that we kind of have to talk about is your mindset and your energy. You know, again, I’m going to quote Janet Landsbury, but I’ve never had someone talk about what I see so eloquently in terms of energy, um, and children. So I always am going to reference her when it comes to this stuff. But if we have any sort of nervousness or apprehension or we’ve labeled our children in any way, you know, I, even if it’s just internally like, Oh, you know that Jane, she’s a troublemaker and she’s gonna mess everything up. It doesn’t matter if you even say it out loud. If you think it, they’ll do it.

And I know that, yeah, this is not wishy washy. It’s not woowoo science, but our kids pick up on our feelings there. Okay. So if we’re going into this process and then our brain is just like, don’t screw it up, Janey, don’t screw it up. They don’t know what that is. They don’t know what that energy is. It feels nervous. And Janet Lansbury talks about, you know, flicking that, that painful sore. It’s like something that’s painful. They’re sensing some weirdness and they need to kind of poke it and poke it and poke it until they understand it. So you know, if you think they’re going to be bad, they’re going to continue to do that. So I, I think a big part of this is change your mindset. Be open to your children, being lifelong learners and having the ability to change their behaviour at any time from newborn, straight up to, you know, 20 year olds.

Our brains are constantly changing and the more that we support our children, even with just an attitude or a feeling or an energy inside of us, that is going to be, I’m even going to, I dare say it 50% of the work because if, you know, if little Janie is driving you crazy and she has a bad night, you’re more apt to be like, see, I told you that this is the way it’s going to go. It’ll never get better. And if you keep thinking that way, it probably won’t. So there’s that. If you do have a, a tricky toddler, you know, if we aren’t going to go back to making sure that your toddler is doing well, the one thing I would maybe implement some sort of reward system for them and make them part of the planning process, right? If they’re the big kid, you can make them a big kid helper and you know, there’s nothing a toddler and a preschooler.

It loves more than being a helper, right? If we give them that responsibility and make them a part of the change, instead of enforcing the change upon them, you’re more likely to get buy in. So you’ll want to implement things like a reward when your child is doing well, a reward when they stay in their bed in the morning, a reward for a good bedtime and helping their brother, sister, you know, go to bed quietly. These are all things that you can do. You can reward each one of those behaviors. And it doesn’t have to be a huge thing. You know, kids love stickers. I’m very conscious of doing this of using food as a reward. But you know, sometimes we might give our kid a little one smarty in the morning, you know, okay, you did it. Here’s the smarty.

I’d like to actually investigate that more with some dietitians, cause I don’t want to be creating any sort of food associations with sleeping, but some sort of reward and it doesn’t have to be grand or massive. If they are constantly coming out of your room or their room. We need to have some sort of natural consequence or boundary and, and the thing that we need to remember about our toddlers and our preschoolers, that it feels really mean to say no, we’re the mean guy for a minute. But our children really appreciate that we’re being leaders, that we feel like we’re in charge that were running the show. That feels really good to our kids. They feel secure, they feel safe. So don’t be afraid of of setting that boundary and being really, really clear with your toddler and preschooler about what those boundaries are.

Okay. When we go to bed, I’m leaving and you cannot come out of the room and when they, if they do or when they do have an age appropriate natural consequence in place, um, something that feels right to you. You know, it is not safe for your children to be roaming the halls of, of your house. And I think it’s really important that you share that with your children. The big thing to remember is this is a transition for everybody. It’s a transition for you, its a transition for your children for the first few days. You’re going to have some excitement from both camps. You know, it’s a, it’s a big exciting thing to have your kids sleeping together. You might have some silliness. Uh, they’re a bit older and chatting. They might chat with each other. I would allow a certain amount of that. Right? It is pretty exciting to share a room and it is a bonding experience for a lot of kids so I wouldn’t discourage that necessarily, but maybe set a time limit to it.

Right? So, okay guys, you can talk for the next 15 minutes and after 15 minutes I’m going to, if you’re still talking, I’m going to come and tell you lights are out. Another alternative and a great use for a grow clock, especially again, I’ve talked about this before, I love the Hatch Baby Rest. They are not paying me to say that I wish they would. Hatch, if you want to sponsor this podcast, I welcome you with loving open arms. You are my favourite baby sleep product. But the reason why I recommend the hatch to everyone is because it is programmable from your phone. You know, you should Google it. But basically the, the light, or sorry, the Hatch is, um, a nightlight and you can set it to sleep safe lighting conditions. So you might want to put it on something yellow while they can talk, you know, okay, Mommy and daddy are going to put this light on yellow for now.

And then when it turns orange, the talking stops and you can turn it orange on your own if you feel like it’s time to shut it down. Or you can set a program or a timer for it to do that on their own. So, and you know, beyond that, expect some silliness and craziness for the first few days up to a week while they are room sharing. And then quite honestly, they get bored of each other. They really, really do get bored of each other. They sleep through each other’s sounds. I tell this story all the time, but when my youngest was getting her molars in, almost a year ago, she was, you know, a pretty strong sleeper, but up in the middle of the night, screaming bloody murder, very unlike her. And my four year old just left right through. It didn’t even budge. I was like, oh my god, how do I make this stop?

And she just slept through it. So they really do get used to each other’s sound. Children sleep really deeply, especially when they are sleeping independently and on their own. So it, it really is less scary than you than you think it’s going to be, I promise. Yeah. So I’m trying to think. So, uh, I guess I’ll, I’ll speak now to a little bit of my personal experience on room sharing. So, my kids, like I said, have been room sharing since they were three and one. There have been times where we had to take out my second, because of developmental milestones or, you know, because my first is going through a little bit of something. I would always say that room sharing is great, but have a, if you can have a separate spot for those moments. So the example I give is, when my youngest turned two and a half, she suddenly became obsessed with the fact that she could see her sister as soon as she was, you know, stirring it around five o’clock.

So then she’d be like, “Hey, hey, what doing? What doing?” And then the other would wake up and “I’m sleeping!!”. And then they were both up at five and that was kind of nuts. So, you know, I took my youngest out, we put her in our office for a few days until we were ready to move her back. And when we were ready, when she seemed like she was making those progressions, we moved her back. That’s okay. And you might have to do that and might have to have an alternative arrangement like that for when those, those moments happen and they’re going to happen on the other end too. Right? Your toddler or preschooler are going to have moments of push back. If it’s not affecting your younger child sleep. I don’t think that there’s any need to move them out, but if you do feel like you need to move them out to sort of re-establish some boundaries with your older one, I think that that is fine.

Even though it’s not them causing the problem, they are the, the most mobile, especially because they’re probably, they should be, they definitely should be in a crib or a pack and play. So usually that you get a away with a lot more there. It’s not perfect, right? And if you have the opportunity, uh, for your children to sleep in their own room and that’s how they sleep better, I think I support that. But there’s nothing scary about room sharing. There really isn’t. I really encourage it, you know, again, go through my checklist. Is your older one sleeping well and fully independently? Are they gonna get out? Are they going to cause chaos? If no, then it’s just about doing it and then establishing what the rules and boundaries are. Right. You know what is going to happen if your child leaves the room?What if they, you know, wake up your, your child, have a plan of action for that and that would require sitting down with your partner and talking about what to do because it really, nobody makes good decisions at three o’clock in the morning or five o’clock in the morning. We’re all just coping and getting those kids back to bed as soon as humanly possible or that’s just me. Yeah. Okay. So Jessie, I hope that answers your question.

If, if you liked what I talked about today, if you’d like more detail, I am going to be sending a downloadable document this month at the end of the month. So make sure that you’re signed up for my newsletter and you can do that once again at www.babysbestsleep.com/email I will be sending out my room sharing document for all of you who need it right now. And for all of you who think that you may need it in the future.

A reminder guys, if your child is not sleeping, if your toddler, your preschooler is your problem to room sharing. I work with kids. Up until age five and I, there might be some protest, but we’re not crying it out. We’re not locking doors overnight. We’re not saying, okay, it’s bedtime, I’ll see in the morning. That’s not how I roll. It’s actually a really nice bonding experience for everyone involved in my personal opinion, helping your child sleep and we want to, we want to create boundaries that are healthy. We want to re-establish you as a healthy leader of your household and get everyone back on track to feeling secure in the family dynamic. So if you are struggling, you can book a call with me www.babysbestsleep.com/15mins. That’s 15 mins, so slash one five m n s and we can talk about how we can get your child to sleep or your baby to sleep for that matter.

All right, so I’m at 21 minutes and 52 seconds and for many of you that’s crap. Nap Time and you should be going to get your baby. If you are crap napping, if this is your child’s nap schedule, you should book a call with me as well. Or listen to next week’s podcast. Did you like that segway? I’m pretty proud of myself. Next week’s podcast is all about the crap nap. So if your child is sleeping the length of this podcast, that’s likely not enough time. So I’m going to talk all about that, why it’s happening, and what we can do to help our children connect their sleep cycles and have good, decent naps again.

But until then, that’s the end of our slumber party for this week, folks, I can’t wait to see you next week and thank you so much for listening. Like, subscribe and review. Have a good one. Bye.