(Room) Sharing is Caring: Having a Baby and Older Sibling Share a Room


siblings sharing a roomWe all know space in San Francisco is an endangered species. I’ve worked with hundreds of families in SF and, if you can think of a non-traditional living situation, I have seen it. Some kiddos are lucky enough to have their own rooms, but if that isn’t an option or a choice for your family, don’t fret. Even if you may have an extra bedroom, you may decide to share a room with your child, or for multiple children to bunk together.

If you do decide to opt for siblings sharing, we can make this move a win-win-win situation! I always wanted to share a room with my sister, and, although my girls each have their own rooms, they are always trying to sleep together in the same room. 

Before you put your children together, here is a decision chart to see if it’s the right time to make the move:

room sharing co sleeping
(Click to download chart)

If your baby is waking multiple times at night and needs a lot of support throughout the night to fall back asleep, then it may make sense to delay the move until his or her sleep habits are more steady. If your baby is waking up multiple times, but self-soothes back to sleep very easily without your support, then you most likely have a green light, as long your older child is also a solid sleeper.

Our goal here, clearly, is to have both children (and any and all parents) sleeping through the night. If your infant is sleeping through the night, but your older one is having some issues, it may be best to help your older child get into a sleep routine before transitioning to room sharing. We also want to make sure your older child is mature enough to understand rules about safe sleeping (e.g. will not throw books, toys, or sharp objects into the crib and knows not to put blankets and pillows in the crib with the baby).

Once you’re ready to make the move, here are tips to help the transition go smoothly.

Talk with your older child about the changes that will be happening. It can be hard to share, so make sure you speak with your older child about this exciting new change before making it happen.

Make it a positive experience for all! Sharing is caring, but it can be difficult. Although most children are very excited about the prospect of sharing a room, it has the potential to be a tough transition. 

Stagger bedtimes. It can be helpful to have one child asleep first. This is typically the younger child, which may mean the older sibling’s bedtime routine takes place in another room and then transitions to his/her bedroom at bedtime.

Create individual spaces for each child within the room. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but just enough so each child has some ownership of their individual space.

We’re San Francisco parents, so resourcefulness is our middle name. We not only make small spaces possible, but we make them fantastic. Don’t worry if your headcount exceeds your room count. Follow these tips and you’ll have sleepers in any or all rooms of your house!



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