When you become a parent of a beautiful, squishy newborn, it is a big shock to the system and a huge adjustment to your daily life. As the months tick over, you soon work it out and settle into a new routine. A good night’s sleep is like the holy grail of parenting, and in our family we soon realised that the bed time routine was essential, in particular a full tummy and into bed on the dot at 7pm.
Some parents go with the approach of – bath, bottle, book and bed with their little ones. Do you stick to a regular bedtime or go with your child’s cues? Quite possibly you’ll just get them figured out and then as they grow, their needs will change and you’ll have to figure out what works all over again.
When baby number two comes along, the bedtime routine (in particular) suddenly gets a bit more complicated and can be a logistical nightmare (especially if you’re on your own for whatever reason). Mum may be breastfeeding and Dad could be putting the older sibling to bed – you just need to find out what will work for your family.
There’s also the added challenge now that you don’t want one child to wake the other – so perhaps you are a little quicker to go in and see them when they cry or call out for you as you would have been when you only had one child (which then might get them into that habit).
Our bedtime routine for two kids
There are 3 years difference between my two children (now 4 and 1) and this is what a typical evening looks like for us (when hubby and I are both at home).
- Dinner – roughly around 6 pm (sometimes earlier but no later). In our experience a big dinner = a full belly which = a good night’s sleep.
- Little Man has his bath first at about 6:15 with one of us with him (the other doing dishes and Miss M having free time)
- Whenever he’s had enough of his bath (usually around 6:40) – he’s out and Miss M is in. One adult per child.
- Get Little Man dressed and we keep him entertained with books or play until bottle and bed at 7pm on the dot. This varies who puts him to bed – he’s fine with either of us, and he’s no longer breastfeeding.
- Miss M will often refuse her bath, but then once she’s in doesn’t want to get out. Eventually get her out, dressed into PJs for some quiet time (or as she thinks, staying up late until 7:30).
- She takes a while to wind down ready to fall asleep. She likes to jump around on her bed (she insists this makes her tired), she likes to put on dance concerts, I tell her my 6 sleep “tricks” which are as follows
- Lie still in a comfortable position
- Eyes closed
- Deep breaths
- Slow counting as high as you can
- Think about the fun things you did that day
- and think about what you are going to do tomorrow
- We try to ensure she stays in her room, but tell her that we will check on her every five minutes if she needs. I also like to try and give her something to look forward to the next day.
All is usually quiet by 8pm leaving us two blissful hours of child free time before we (I mean I) collapse into bed with fingers crossed that no one will wake me up until 7am!
PS if you have any suggestions for getting two (or more) kids to bed when you are the only parent – please leave them below! I’m sure many are wondering this very thing!