Sleep Training With Older Siblings

If you need to sleep train your infant or toddler, but it seems a little daunting with more than one child in the house, this is the blog post for you! Today, we’ll discuss ways to effectively sleep train your infant or toddler while ensuring your older children get the attention, love, and sleep they need as well!

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, let’s talk about what to expect during sleep training as it relates to the other members of your family. First, regardless of what method you choose, you can expect there to be some crying (depending on what method you choose). Sleep associations (such as rocking, holding, or nursing your baby to sleep) are not always easy to break, and your infant or toddler will most likely not give these up without protesting a little.

Secondly, in order to effectively sleep train, you’re going to need to stick to a pretty consistent routine – at least for the first few weeks. That means you, and possibly your older child(ren), will be hanging around the house a little more than usual.

All of that said, let’s talk about ways to make sleep training a little easier on the whole family!

First Things First:
Be sure to talk with everyone in your family before you embark on sleep training. Let your older children know what to expect. Explain that the baby might cry a little before sleep, but he is OK, and that for a few days you’ll be having less play dates or shopping trips, but that just means extra time to play with mommy or daddy at home!

It’s also a good idea to come up with a plan and share it with the other members of your household. Pick a sleep training method and tell your kids what’s involved. You might even consider coming up with ways they can “help” sleep train as well, which can include singing the baby a song before nap time or reading a favorite book together.

Speaking of Playing … :
Go ahead and make a loose itinerary of how you’re going to spend your days at home. Come up with some fun, low-key, low-stress activities for your older children. (In other words, these are not the weeks to be planning huge craft projects or big field trips!) Here’s a blog post from our archives about activities for older siblings while their younger sibling naps.

It might not be a bad idea to have a grandparent, aunt, or family friend spend a few hours with your older child, too. This will get him out of the house and give you some time to rest while your littlest one naps.

The important thing to remember is that everyone might feel a little more tired than usual; don’t over-plan your days to the point that it becomes a burden. Give yourself permission to veg out with your older children and watch a favorite movie or T.V. show, or spend some time casually walking around your neighborhood. When we’re tired, we have a tendency to be more short-fused, so keeping things relaxed and simple is the way to go!

It’s Her Party And She’ll Cry if She Wants To!
As we mentioned above, there might be some crying – especially during those first two-three nights–depending on what method you choose to use. We highly suggest using a white noise maker and/or soft music in your older child’s room to block out the noise.

If your kids share a room, choose a sleep training method that is sensitive to that situation. We recommend The Sleep Shuffle. This technique involves putting your child down awake and comforting you’re your baby while you sit next to the crib. Every two or three nights, you move farther away, while continuing to soothe. Eventually, you’ll go from sitting outside the door to not sitting down at all!

Make sure make sure that both kids are put to bed at the same time. You’ll probably find that regardless of the situation, your older child will fall asleep just fine!

Give Us A Call!
We hope you’ve found these tips useful, but if you still need a little bit of help with sleep training please let us know! We offer a variety of packages and will tailor a plan to meet your family’s needs.





I'm Marli

I am the owner of and lead baby and toddler sleep consultant at The Cradle Coach. I am a family-first mom of three, goal-oriented entrepreneur, to-do list extraordinaire, avid dreamer and unshakable optimist dedicated to helping tired families all around the world give their child the best sleep possible.


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