Just when we had cracked the bedtime routine for my daughter that was in a new house, in a new room, and in a new bed, my son arrived.
Truth be told I was s**t scared about how I would tackle bedtime with two. Bedtimes with my daughter who is three were now easy. We’ve been through the trials of difficult bedtimes when she was a baby including weeks of sleep training, and we were at a stage where she would happily fall asleep and stay in her bed all night.
How on earth would I cope with a newborn baby being thrown into the mix? To be honest bedtime is my least favourite part of the day. It’s a battle. However I have to get through this battle for a few hours of calm before the baby awakes again.
For the last couple of months my son and daughter have been going to bed at the same time which makes things a lot easier. Prior to this he was staying downstairs with us until we went to bed. This stopped working after he kept waking up at every noise and I realised he just needed to be in his own bed.
So here’s how we do bedtime in our household with two kids. My number one piece of advice is to do bedtime with two people (if you can), obviously it is so much easier, as it’s a bit of a drama if I’m doing bedtime by myself.
At about 6.30pm I start running the bath, and what has worked in our favour is now that our daughter no longer naps in the day, she is actually ready for bed and loves coming upstairs for a bubble bath. I will also fill the baby bath, so that I can bathe both kids at the same time. For now they are bathed separately, but once my son gets stronger and bigger I will probably bathe them together.
Whilst we are running the bath I will make sure that all their clothes and nappies for bed are to hand. I don’t want to be running around the house trying to find stuff when I have two shivering children rolling around in towels on the floor.
The baby will take less time to bath, so I make sure that my toddler is brushing her teeth and washing the shampoo out of her hair whilst I am getting him dressed for bed. I’ll then get the toddler out of the bath and dressed for bed.
Here’s where it can either be a breeze or a nightmare. If my husband is home from work he will read a story to my daughter and put her to bed for the night. This works really well as I can feed my son and put him to bed at the same time. Doing it this ways means that bedtime is wrapped up by about 7.15pm/7.30pm and both kids are asleep. Win!
If my husband is not home I will start by putting my daughter to bed first, and have my son is his bouncer in her bedtime. More often than not he is completely beside himself at this point and desperate for a feed. When this happens I will feed my son whilst reading a book to my daughter – although this is not always easy as she just wants to crawl on him. I have to be quite strict if it’s just me doing bedtime and she will only have one book, often because my son is chewing my ear (or boob) off. I’ll then say “night night” to my daughter and close the door.
I’ll then take my son up to bed. He sleeps on a different floor to my daughter which I think helps her to settle, and avoids her being kept awake by any crying. I’ll then put him into his gro-bag and settle him to sleep with a feed.
This is our bedtime routine for now. Once my son is moved down to his own room and cot, I know that it will all change again.
Bedtime is so much easier when there are two of you to tackle one child each. It’s perfectly possible to do it by yourself and I raise my glass to all mums who do it by themselves every day. One thing I do know is that no matter how hard bedtime is when they are asleep that time is yours to enjoy however you wish.
How do you manage bedtime with more than one child? I would love to hear any tricks that you have up your sleeve.