Finally able to read books together without the little one running off!
We have made a transition and our two girls, now aged 4 and 19 months are sharing a bedroom. Other than the occasional early wake-up call, it’s gone pretty seamlessly. Our youngest (for the next 6 weeks at least) is still in a crib and the elder is in a twin bed. They both like their rest so once they’re asleep, we’ve been in the clear.
The only major transition was the nighttime ritual. Previously, we had been taking them up around the same time and using the divide and conquer method. My husband would read to one while I got the other settled and topped off with a small bottle. Going to bed at the same time was out of the question as our two little chatterboxes would keep each other up if we let them.
To help with the transition, I started taking up our younger daughter at the normal bedtime and getting her settled. She drifts off into dreamland fairly quickly, so with a delay of 15 minutes or so, our older daughter quickly follows. However, she’s been known to enjoy a good book or ten. At bedtime, we’ve already read to her and then allowed her to take one book to bed to “read” as she falls asleep. At times, this has led to “reading aloud” and singing in bed for a time before she finally goes to sleep. To combat waking the babe, we’ve taken to putting our eldest to sleep in our bed and then moving her when we go up to bed. All in all, this has solved any nighttime woes (and dealt with any bed wetting problems as we make her take a trip to the potty as we move her to her bed).
This was the case last night as I went up and moved her to her room. Yet, when my husband came up a short while later, he found a small form curled up next to me in our bed. Being only six weeks from D-day with our third child, I had clearly fallen asleep and was none the wiser! Considering the stumbling and grumbling that I had to endure on the potty run, I’m amazed that she managed to wake up again. I don’t think she opened her eyes once!
On the flip side, our youngest was up pretty early this morning and started talking and singing almost immediately. When we went in to release her from crib prison…our eldest was curled up in her blankets and still fast sleep! Apparently, the noise wasn’t going to keep her from getting her rest.
Our advice for transitioning kids into sharing a room:
1. Talk it up! Get them excited about the idea.
2. Be prepared for some early mornings…it’s inevitable, but they do get better at sleeping later.
3. Make noise! Even before you make the transition, don’t keep a silent house. We live in an old house so they were well used to hearing each other long before they started sharing a space.
4. Be consistent. Like any change, they may rebel at first. But keep on keeping on and things will usually iron themselves out…eventually.
5. Don’t be afraid to make small changes to their routine. Small changes over time quickly become just part of their normal routine. Especially with older kids, just explain the changes and usually they can adapt fairly well once they know what to expect.
I was the kid who’d stay up to all hours with a flashlight under the covers, reading books. Our oldest is now three and she is well on her way to being exactly the same! She’s allowed to “read” in bed at night and we often have to tell her, multiple times, to put the books away and go to sleep. I’ve gone in to get her up in the morning only to find her burrowed into a teeny space on her bed with books covering every other spare inch. She’ll sit for hours at a time looking through books or being read to, she’s insatiable and I love every second of it!
It all started when she was a few months old and my husband starting reading to her every night before bed. It was a long road to get her to sit still. She’d squirm, pull at the pages, snap the book closed and do just about anything except sit still. When she got a bit older, she’d start pointing to things if you directed her to them. With immense patience we kept at it, and soon, pointing out pictures as we read aloud became an interactive journey. She began to make connections with the story and it was amazing to see. Eventually, we started to swap out the simple baby books for stories with more content and more intricate story lines. Now, she craves long, involved stories and will bring us an endless stream of her favorite books if we let her.
Here are a few of our favorite books to read aloud:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – A classic and a favorite, this one never gets old. From the early days this has been a favorite because of the vivid pictures. From learning about colors, numbers, food and eating the right things to help us grow…there are endless learning possibilities.
Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh – She gets very anxious about the “bad guy” but loves that the dog saves the day. This one usually involves lots of discussion during the story as it’s a bit less obvious and the story is more involved.
Steam Train, Dream Train by Sheri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld – Just a sweet story with beautiful illustrations, this one is another that just begs questions to be asked at every turn of the page. Great for budding imaginations.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen – The repetitive language and onomatopoeia is such fun and amazing for language learning. We constantly act out this story as we go for walks, play at home or cavort in the yard. We’re still waiting to catch a BIG one!
Anything Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser – Witty, funny, chock full of great words and often just as full of great learning opportunities. These books generate a million and one questions and breed curiosity. Such a fun set of stories to read with girls of all ages as they learn about the world around them.
What are some favorite books you’d add to this list?
There is one thing for sure…being pregnant exposes you to a wealth of information that is both useful and stressful. Through no one’s fault but my own, I’ve come across a diverse collection of informational, conversational and sensational (not necessarily in a good way) sources. Here are a few I’ve found useful…
This is probably one of the most well-known sites in my experience and contains a ton of information. You can sign up for weekly update emails, log-in to see your progress and get access to lots of useful insights from other parents. One of things I like the most is that the site gives a good snapshot of what you’re going through, has articles on almost any topic you might think of…but the info is typically concise and free of embellishment. Many other sites sometimes give “too much” information and can really scare you into thinking about all the maybes and what ifs. Being a mom is overwhelming enough, I really don’t want to add to my stress level!
Baby Center also has a free iPhone app with daily updates that include informational snippets and even videos about the various stages of pregnancy. Very useful for a mom-to-be who is on the go!
Another well-known site (as well as a very popular book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”), however I don’t like the organization or useability. While this might seem trivial, when you’re in a rush or searching for something specific…this can be very frustrating. I also don’t tend to follow celebrity gossip and news so when a site caters to that realm of information, I tend to shy away. I get quite a few emails from them on a variety of topics and I find these to be pretty useful. The emails are geared toward your stage of pregnancy and address a whole host of topics that may or may not be of interest. I get quite a few emails, but the beauty of it is…I can just delete the ones I don’t want!
This site also has a free iPhone app which is more strictly informational. A good source of daily and weekly information if you just want simple updates.
You: Having a Baby
This book was given to me by a close friend early in my pregnancy. I’d already been loaned “What to Expect” and purchased the Mayo Clinic’s Guide, however, I found this book to be particularly useful. While most other books have a very specific format that goes through every month of pregnancy sequentially, I sometimes found this limiting and would skip around and eventually resort to just flipping through the index for topics of interest. While this worked just fine, it was sometimes frustrating and time-consuming. I felt like I was reading a manual rather than an informational book. “You: Having a Baby” was much more conversational and approachable. The authors made an effort to provide the information in a sequential format, however they didn’t lose my interest in the process.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting & Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
As I mentioned above, these books are chock full of good information. It can be incredibly useful to have the sequential format for each stage in pregnancy. Included in both books are tips for exercise, creating good eating habits, common symptoms and complaints and much, much more. My personal preference was for something less structured that I could approach from beginning to end…but it was nothing more than personal preference.