This weeks’ Blog is all about siblings and when they’re room sharing and the effect that that can have on your little one’s sleep including the all important; how you can make this work harmoniously and have siblings that share a room and sleep as well.
The first thing I’m going to get you to ask yourself is why, why are your siblings going to room share first of all? Is it because it sounds lovely? It might just be that idea of, I want them to share a room. I would love for them to be together. And if we can make that work, brilliant. But you’ve got to ask yourself whether it’s a nice fantasy idea or whether it’s necessary. In some cases, it’s going to be necessary. It’s going to be a case of there are not enough bedrooms and the siblings have to share. And that’s fine.
But if you’re battling with trying to get two siblings to sleep soundly and share a room, just ask yourself, is it worth it right now? And would it be better to actually work on improving their individual sleep in separate rooms until they’re sleeping a little bit better and then bring them together to room share. II think it’s really important to ask yourself a question and just think that through first before we delve into actually conquering sibling room sharing.
In the longer term siblings will become quite resilient to each other especially when it comes to noises and sounds, things that might wake them up. Try to bear in mind that what might disturb them in the early days or initially when room sharing, they will get used to it and once they’re in a deep sleep, they’re not going to be disturbed by much at all. It’s only really during light sleep that things, outside noises and things like that can actually wake us and rouse us from sleep. So they will become more used to each other. That will generally happen with time,but there may be a period of going through the pain barrier to get there, at which point until they are used to the noises of their siblings and the room they will wake up a little bit.
This is another great time if it’s an option to have them in the same room or separate that you can ask yourself, is it worth that? Is it worth paying the price? Is it worth going through that to get to the outcome? Because ultimately, at some point, if you want them to room share, you’re probably going to have to go through that.
Is it costing them precious sleep?
Are you pushing them to do this at the cost of having an exhausted child, exhausted family and/or being miserable?
Again, if it’s essential and your children as siblings have to share a room and there’s no other way around it, then let’s make that work.
So what can you do? Well, one of the most important things you can do, and this doesn’t really matter, whether we’re talking about a young baby or an older child, is to set up some really clear rules and boundaries.
When I say that with babies, of course, they don’t necessarily understand the rules or boundaries that you are implementing, but by setting the scene for those, and by having a consistent response to things, they will soon learn.
For example, when lights are out and it’s dark, shh, there’s no talking. There’s no voice. It’s just whispers. You can begin to teach them that from baby stage by doing it, by making sure that when lights are out, nobody talks out loud, everything is just a whisper. It becomes nighttime mode and calm, and you can signal this simply by having the lights off. As they then get older from around 20 months, having a sleep wake clock in the room can really, really help. Sleep Wake clocks show when it’s daytime and when it’s nighttime. And when it’s nighttime, we all can comply with nighttime mode. And when it’s daytime, and time to be awake, it’s a good idea to use exaggerated animation in our body language, our voices and our expressions just to really differentiate the two and show a big, clear, significant difference between daytime and nighttime.
This also means that you’re showing them that when it’s nighttime, we sleep. We lie down, rest our head, close our eyes, we go to sleep, you can show them that from a very early age. Siblings are also a great way to help their other siblings. So if you have an older one who is maybe a better sleeper and a younger one who’s maybe up and down or a bit more restless, ask the older one to be on board with you and say, “Hey, I need your help with this. Can you help me? We’re going to get him sleeping well, and then he won’t disturb you anymore. So let’s show him what to do. Come on, let’s lie down. Shh. Let’s go to sleep.” And get them on board, role play a little bit with it so that it’s not just a big battle parents versus children.
Praise them, reward the really good behavior around sleep. The compliance of, “Oh, yes, I’m going to lie down now. I’m going to settle to sleep.” reward that however you can. Obviously, age appropriately. With an older one, you can have more conversations. With little ones and babies, it’s going to be more through the soothing, the reassurance, putting them down, they’ll just get used to that if you keep doing it. With babies, if they’re up in the night, follow my tips for how to respond consistently to night wakings in my previous Blog and that is going to help you at least reduce the night wakings to the best stage they can do for their age, because we all wake in the night! Little one’s, babies in particular do need some help sometimes, but we want to get the very best out of them. So we want to optimize their sleep and have them resettling to sleep as best they can.
Essentially, if you want your children to room share, if you want the siblings to settle nicely and go to sleep in the same room, it’s all about setting up that lovely routine around bedtime and the rules around sleep time, what that looks like, and then consistently responding to any disturbances that happen between them in the nighttime.
January is our ‘Siblings’ month, coming up over the next few weeks, we’re going to be covering jealousy between siblings and the whole bedtime routine and how to do that when you have more than one child in getting them both to bed swiftly and smoothly without any major battles!
If you’re looking for help now with your children’s sleep and would like to find out more about sleeping soundly then book a discovery call. today