Older Sibling Sharing a Room with Toddler

Archived Q&A and Reviews


1-yo and 5-yo siblings sharing room

Feb 2010

My boys just started sharing a room. The 1 yo sleeps in the crib and my 5 yo sleeps in a bed. Both are very good sleepers -- they sleep solidly through the night. Our problem occurs in the morning. While my older son can sleep until 7-8am, the baby wakes up anytime from 5:30-6am and has been waking up his brother. Once my 5 yo hears the baby arouse, moan then cry (to be picked up), he's wide awake and won't go back to sleep.

My question is - Should I hold off on having them share a room until the 1 yo gets older and sleeps a little later? Or should I let my older son get used to his brother crying and figure out that he can still fall back asleep? I still have the option to separate them but I'd prefer that they get used to sharing a room now that the baby is older, and since it'll be that way in the future. It's only been a few days and I believe my older son is still excited about sleeping with his baby brother. I don't think he's been affected by the early wake up times just yet (we just make sure he goes to sleep early that night to make up for it), but I'm afraid if his brother keeps waking him up at 6 in the morning, not only will it cheat him of an hour more sleep, but it'll start affecting him at kindergarten. Has any other family been in a similar situation? I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice. I've read all past posts and none of them address my specific problem of early morning riser vs. later riser. Hold Off or Hold On

What about putting a monitor in there, turning it up in your room, and then racing in to whisk the baby out as soon as he rouses, before he gets loud enough to fully wake his brother? Just a thought. Good luck! anon

One and Five year Olds Sharing a Room

Sept 2000

I have a 5 year old and one year old--both boys. My older son has a bunk bed in his room that we bought with the intention that the boys would eventually share a room. My younger son is sleeping in what we still try to use as an office. However the only time we can do office work is when he is sleeping, and so we can't do it while he is napping in the office! One feeling I have is that 4 years age difference will make it difficult to manage certain issues-- if they are both sleeping in the same room--different bedtimes, choking hazards, time-outs. The other thought I have is that the office could also be a playroom and maybe we could all use the space , especially as our house is small and common areas are few. Yet as time goes by, my older son wants his little brother around less and less (I certainly sympathize with the problem of a grabby 1 year old). I have been debating this issue back and forth for several months. The youngest has slept thru the night for some months now, but does wake up about an hour earlier than the rest of the household. The other option is to carve out a corner of our bedroom for office space. I go back and forth on my arguments. I guess I'm wondering how it's worked out for others with children with at least a 4 year age difference in sharing a room. Thanks.

We also have 5 and 1 year old boys. We have a very large house, but I insist that they share a room. This has not been easy, but I feel strongly enough about the issue that we just keep working on it. At the beginning, our older son was insistent at having the baby in his room. We had to hold that off, but finally at around 8 months we moved them together. A few months later the older one was insistent that the baby not be in there, that he cries too much or what have you. (Of course he rarely wakes up when the baby cries.) We just tell him that that's where the beds are, and if he prefers he can sleep in a sleeping bag in our room. He has done that many nights. But it is much less of an issue now.

As to bedtimes, that's been tricky since they tend to have the same bedtime. We need to separate the boys or they won't calm down. So we each take one, alternating kids each night, and they each have their routine. The 16 month old is already stuck on his routine, so I would be careful what you decide to do because you will be hard-pressed to change it. The other hard part has been crying at night with teething. I don't let the baby cry for long because I don't want the older one to wake up. But then the baby gets into the habit of crying and sleeping with us. Anybody know how to handle this one? I just figure it will sort out in time. Good luck.

I also have two boys 4 years apart (currently almost 6 and almost 2), and they share a room. The most important thing we did to make this work was to convert the closet into a private space for my older son. We put a metal gate that has a door-like opener across the door (the younger one won't be strong enough to open it for a few more years yet.) For sleep, we have bunk beds, but the younger one still sleeps in a crib. What he wants most to do is sleep with his older brother in his bed, but the older one is ambivalent about this. Also the older one falls asleep much more quickly and the younger one carries on for awhile and bothers him. What we end up doing a lot is letting my older son fall asleep in our bed if the younger one is just too bothersome. Then we carry him back into his bed later.

2.5-year-old and 6-year-old Sharing a Room

Dec 2001

I read with interest the post of how one set of parents got their three year old to stay in bed and go to sleep. I have that same problem with my 2.5 year old son who kept climbing out of his crib and is now sleeping on a matress on the floor. We have the added complication that he shares a room with his 6 year old brother. The younger one refuses to go to bed without his brother and then they start jumping around and getting each other more pent up. They pay no attention to my telling them to stop or my walking out on them. At some point between 9:30 and 10:00!! the 6 year old gets fed up and goes into another room to sleep all the while complaining about how miserable bedtime is now. The 2 year old isn't falling asleep until 10:30 or later. Once our guest room frees up in two weeks (after the soon to arrive grandparents leave) I could move one boy into that room temporarily, but I want them to learn to go to sleep in the same room. I am beside myself. Please let me know how you solved this problem. Thanks Linda

Linda! Same scenario over here! Have you tried limiting or eliminating the younger kid's nap? It works most of the time for us, if he doesn't get a second wind.... The danger is that he may try to sneak in a very late nap, which totally backfires (he stays up even later!) I've found that, even though they have totally ignored me at bedtime also, if I don't give in, they start begging me to come back in their room and snuggle with them, and I insist I won't do it until they're both in their own beds, and quiet. The upside of all this bedtime craziness is that, on weekends anyway, they sleep in til 8:30/9:00! Nice bonus, although on weekdays I can barely drag them out of bed for school. Good luck, it won't last forever. Raissa