How to Transition Toddlers to Sharing a Room
A friend of mine was recently messaging with me about how we transitioned our kids (ages 1 and 3) when we left on this journey from their own rooms to sharing a hotel room and then when we bought our Airstream sharing a bunk area. It wasn't something I had thought much about until she asked because when we sold our house it had become our reality so there was no choice in the matter. We moved out of our house a year ago and into a rental on Anna Maria Island for a week before going to Disney, and then South Carolina, and then Nicaragua and then our cross-country journey in our Expedition (eventually buying Runaway Mayzie... where we all live in 200 sq feet and the kids are separated from us by a curtain.) We have shared a cruise ship room, countless hotel rooms, a teepee, a tent and of course the space in our Airstream.
Transitioning toddlers to share a room, or children of any age, can be difficult. Here are some tips on how to transition toddlers to sharing a room.
A year ago I myself posted on Facebook asking for advice about how to put my 2 little ones in one room together. Here are the tips that worked for us...
Tips for Transitioning Toddlers to Sharing a Room
- Bedtime routine: set-up a bedtime routine that you can accomplish every night. We start with baths, lotion, pj's, brush teeth and potty, read 2 books, lights out, sing two songs, kiss goodnight and turn on sound machine. We love this one: Cloud B Gentle Giraffe. It has 4 different sounds and you can set it to go for 45mins or 20mins. I like that it doesn't run all night creating a dependency. Part of the routine is the time. Our children are young so bedtime (when we are finished with the routine) is between 7-8. 7:30 seems to be the perfect timing for our two. You don't want them to be overtired or they won't sleep well.
- Stay quiet: once the routine is done we don't talk with the kiddos. If they get out of bed we put them back quietly.
- Hotel Room: Lights out in the whole room. We turned all the lights out in the room except for the bathroom light and cracked the door. Then we would play on our computers, read a book or go to sleep ourselves.
- Let them be... if the kids talk a little that is fine as long as both of them are ok with it. Don't go in or engage them unless one child is upset about the talking. If they start talking to you just say, "it is time to rest now. Goodnight love you."
- They both have their favorite animals, when they share a bed this is important... they still want their stuffed bear to love on.
- Ok to Wake! Clock is a life saver. Teach both children that they can not get up (unless to potty) before the light turns green. Prior to that it is quiet time. That way they don't wake each other up too early. It takes some training and our oldest helped teach our youngest a lot. If they get up prior to it turning green, calmly ask "is your clock green?" When they say no quietly walk them back to bed. If the answer is yes it is playtime!
- Bigger age difference so different bed times? Do the bedtime routine outside of the bedroom and then walk the older child into the bedroom for bedtime at the appropriate time.
- Consistency: we went through a 2 week phase where Isla wouldn't stay in bed. She went into a big girl bed at only 1 because of our move. In the hotel rooms she was fine staying in bed because she hadn't yet figured out how to get down but when we got Runaway Mayzie she figured out how to get out of her bed pretty quickly. We would tuck her in every night and she would get down 4-5 times per night. The only thing to do is to put them back in bed. Don't engage them, just put them back take a DEEP breath and repeat until they finally tucker out. Sometimes I would be so frustrated with her but the real thing was for me to control myself and just put her back, say "no," "goodnight" or nothing at all and move on. The phase passed and now she goes right to sleep.
- This is obvious but don't give your kids sugar before bed and then expect them to go to sleep easily... it just won't work. Remember even juice has sugar in it so unless you eat dinner way before bedtime that too can make for a restless night.
Don't give up. The transition wasn't immediate but these tricks worked for us. Consistency is key. If you can, put them in the same room as soon as middle of the night feedings have passed. We love that our two can easily share a room with us. It certainly makes travel easier!