Tips for babies and older children sharing a bedroom
If you’re interested in having your baby share a bedroom with your older children, here are ideas to help it work:
- Try to organise the room so each child has their own space and sleep environment.
- Stagger your children’s bedtimes. Depending on your children’s bedtime routines, you might settle your baby before or after your other children have gone to bed.
- Try to have one-on-one time with your baby and their siblings at bedtime.
- When it’s time to settle your baby, set up other children with activities that will keep them busy, like a favourite book, game or TV program. Ask them to stay out of the bedroom for a while, or to be quiet if they have to come in. Praise them when they do – for example, ‘Darah, thanks for staying out of the room while I settled the baby’.
- Let older children know that the baby might wake up during the night. But tell them that they don’t need to worry because you’ll take care of the baby. Older children usually sleep through when babies cry at night. But let older children know that they can call you if the baby does wake them.
- If your baby’s crying is often waking your older children, consider whether the older children could sleep in a room further away from the baby or whether you could move the baby to another room.
Where your baby goes to bed is up to you. The safest option is for your baby to sleep in a cot next to your bed for the first year of life, or at least for the first 6 months. And it’s safer to put your baby to sleep in their own bed than in the same bed as a sibling.
Making your children’s bedroom safe
Your baby and their siblings will probably have different safety needs. Here are ideas to make the room safe for all children:
- Keep small toys and other choking risks out of reach of babies and younger children.
- Make sure your baby’s siblings don’t put soft toys in your baby’s cot, because these increase the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).
- Check that furniture is sturdy – your baby’s sibling shouldn’t be able to pull it down or knock it over. Anchoring furniture like bookshelves and wardrobes to the wall or floor reduces this risk.
- If you have safety concerns about your older children sharing a room with your baby, try to sleep the children in separate rooms until your baby is older.