If you have multiple children, when it comes time to sleep train your baby, some questions or thoughts may arise that weren't there the first time around because you have another child at home. Will your baby, wake your older child? What about the other way around? How can you help your older child understand? Schedules, yes our older kids have lives, so how will the sleep schedule work with the baby and older child's activities? I am here to answer those questions for you and provide some tips to get through with minimal hiccups.
Tips for Helping Your Older Child
Prepare them ahead of time! Before working with your baby on sleep, have a conversation with your older child. With any sleep training, crying is possible, as they are learning a new skill.
Talk to your him or her about the process in words that they can understand. Help them to know that you are helping the new baby to learn to sleep well. Let them know that if they hear the baby, all is OK.
You can also let them know that once the baby is sleeping well, they will have your undivided attention. This is an incentive for them!
Place a white noise machine next to your older child's door and perhaps one in the hallway (a fan in the hall can work too!).
If your older child is woken by the baby, allow them the opportunity to fall back to sleep. They are fully capable!
Get your older child involved. You can do this by creating a rewards system or simply a sticker to wear (badge of honor) if they help you out. This may include, but is not limited to:
Play quietly (draw, work on a puzzle, build Legos, etc...) while you go through the baby’s bedtime routine.
Focus on going back to sleep if they are woken by the baby.
Play outdoors or do a quiet indoor activity during the baby’s naps.
Tips for Helping Your Baby
Ensure that your baby also has a white noise machine, located near their door. If your baby is under 12 months of age, keep that white noise at least 6 feet away from the crib and under 50 decibels in volume to protect their baby ears. There are free apps out there where you can measure the decibel level. Please take this extra step.
It can be hard to stick to naps at home but the more you can in the beginning, the faster you will see success. I suggest waiting about two weeks before making exceptions to the schedule.
Prepare during naps to get out between naps. You can prepare a picnic lunch or dinner to maximize your outdoor time for your toddler.
Patience is always necessary when sleep training. You may have a disruption here or there but all will be ok.
In no time, the whole family will be sleeping well! You’ve got this!
If you feel that you might need further guidance in setting up a great plan and getting the support that you need to help this process go more smoothly, I am here to help!