Most parents will be faced with having to manage bedtime routines with multiple children solo. Whether you have to do this on a regular basis or just once in a while, having a plan can make all the difference between a peaceful bedtime or a chaotic one! Managing multiple kids can make the bedtime routine real tricky with different ages of kids who need totally different things at bedtime.
This takes some planning to make sure that all kids are fed, bathed, read to, AND if you have a baby in the mix, fed AGAIN before bed. If you have kiddos that are all past the baby stage that makes things MUCH more simple. Throwing a baby in the mix always means staggering bedtimes so everyone gets their pre-bedtime needs met.
Toddler Sibling & Baby
If you have a toddler who is still napping then the baby will likely go to bed first. If you have a toddler NOT taking a nap then most likely the toddler will go to bed first. Either way, make sure to evaluate the daytime schedule and cap naps if you have to so you can make sure that bedtimes line up when you need them to. The last thing you want to be dealing with is an overtired baby or toddler when you’ve got no one there to help you!
Staggered bedtimes give you the time you need with each child individually and generally make bedtime a little more peaceful since each kiddo has gotten some one-on-one time before bed.
Older Siblings & Baby
If you have an older sibling that can help with the baby and not be loud or boisterous while helping, then by all means let them be part of the process of the baby’s bedtime routine. If that isn’t gonna work then giving your toddler a special basket of toys to play with that only comes out during the bedtime routine can help keep your toddler busy while you’re getting your baby down. Just make sure that you’re not using a screen if you can help it! Screens emit blue light and blue light inhibits melatonin production. Melatonin is necessary for your child to feel sleepy and be able to go to sleep easily.
If your Toddler is first to bed you can baby wear to make the bedtime routine a little easier. Or just simply have the baby with you and they can get a bedtime story right along with your toddler.
But let’s face it, if your kids aren’t already independent sleepers then bedtime is going to be much more difficult. If you can’t just kiss your toddler, say goodnight, and leave the room, but instead, you have to lay with him, I would encourage you to reach out to schedule a call so we can help get your little one falling asleep on their own.
Once baby is 12 months or older
Once your baby is 12 months or older you should be able to do the bedtime routines together. This will make things significantly easier to manage if you’re doing bedtime solo. You can bathe your kids together, and then choose one of their bedrooms or use your bedroom to read books and cuddle before bed. At the point that you tuck each child into their bed, you can spend a few minutes rubbing their back and just connecting with that individual child.
While managing multiple kids at bedtime can feel like A LOT, I promise it’s possible! If you’re feeling stressed or rushing through the routine your kids will pick up on your energy. Try to take a few deep breaths and get yourself to a calm/relaxed place. This will go a long way in helping your kids to feel calm and relaxed as well
If none of this even feels possible right now either because your kiddos aren’t independent sleepers or because you don’t have a good routine in place that your kids can count on each night, then definitely reach out to me for help! I will help to guide you to develop the structure you need around bedtime so your kids know what to expect and we can then get all kids started down the path to independent sleep. You can also read Tips To Reduce Toddler Bedtime Struggles to help give you some ideas that you can start tonight.
Need additional Resources?
Toddler Nutrition & Sleep
This is THE Key to Successful Sleep Training
5 Tested & Proved Tips to Transition Your Toddler from Napping to Quiet Time