Two toddlers in the same bedroom can be challenging; even if both of your youngsters sleep just fine on their own, there is the new temptation of a fellow playmate just a few feet away. However, whether you're expecting a new baby or you're downsizing to a smaller home and need to modify the sleeping arrangements, you can help your toddlers transition to sharing a room with a few simple bedtime changes -- and a little patience during the transition period.
Arrange the room to provide each of your toddlers their own sleeping space with a special stuffed animal or blanket. Arrange the beds back to back -- headboard to headboard -- instead of side by side so your toddlers will be less likely to keep each other riled up at bedtime. As they grow, it will also help each child feel like he has his own space.
Develop a bedtime routine to help your toddlers wind down at the end of the day and get ready for sleep. Be consistent in implementing the routine and incorporate activities that let you spend a few one-on-one moments with each child. You can start with a bath and then spend approximately 15 minutes putting on pajamas, having a drink of water, brushing teeth and reading a story before tucking them into bed.
Turn off the room's main light or use a dimmer and dim the lights until it is nearly dark. Alternatively, turn off the main light and use a night-light if your toddlers don't like to sleep in complete darkness.
Give your toddlers a few minutes to settle and fall asleep on their own. If either of them begins to fuss, don't dash back into the room. Wait a few minutes to see if the fussing subsides before intervening. If either toddler continues to fuss, talk in soft whispers and use a minimum amount of intervention to help her settle down.
Put a white noise machine in the room or play a nature CD if the noises one toddler makes during the night is waking up the other. The continuous sounds will help to drown out the sounds made by your toddler and make your sleeping toddler less sensitive to his sibling's noises.
Create a room divider if your toddlers keep each other awake at night. Two youngsters occupying the same space means playtime. To help lessen the chance that your tired toddlers will continue to play long after the lights go out, hang a curtain divider between their beds to give each child some privacy and reduce the likelihood of nighttime play.
Introduce a sleep routine reward chart to encourage good sleep time behavior. Make a chart for the bedtime routine and then incorporate falling asleep quietly and not disturbing each other during the night into the chart as well. Each success earns a sticker, and a week’s worth of stickers earns extra playtime or another reward of your choosing. The chart can help your toddlers come to understand that it's their responsibility to follow the sleep routine, just like it's becoming their responsibility to brush their teeth and help make their beds.