Doing the Bedtime Routine By Yourself
The evening is winding down and bedtime is fast approaching. How are you going to make it through the bedtime routine by yourself with multiple children? Maybe you have a spouse that works evenings or you are a single parent.
I have been there myself! I have three children, my second are third are only 10 months and 3 weeks apart. So at one point I had two babies to put to sleep as well as a preschooler, and my husband worked nights.
1) Have a bedtime routine set in stone. Make sure you have an established sleep routine with your children and make sure it is relatively short or you will spend all night putting your kids to sleep.
2) Make a sleep rules/routine chart. If any of your children are over 2.5 years old, make a sleep rules and routine chart. This will help solidify your routine for you and your child. It will also give you something tangible to point to if your child likes to stall at bedtime.
3) Call a family Meeting! For children over 2.5yrs old, after you make a sleep rules chart it is time to call a family meeting! Have everyone present and have your child go over the sleep rules/routine chart and explain it to the family! This gives your child a sense of power and control over the situation while setting in stone what the evening will look like.
4) Give yourself more time than you think. Start your bedtime routine earlier than you think you need too. Once you get the hang of putting multiple kids down to bed you can tighten up your time but until then, give yourself lots of time so your kids don’t get overtired in the process and you don’t get stressed out.
5) Do as much of the routine together as you can. With multiple children, try and do as much of the bedtime routine as you can together. If you can do bath, brushing teeth or reading books together, do it!
6) Prioritize who needs to go down first. Based on how the day was, decide who needs to go down first and go with that. If the youngest needs to go down, get your older children either to sit quietly with you or give them a quiet activity they can do while you put the baby down. You can give them a baby doll to go put night night and tell them you will meet them when you are done putting your baby down. Or you can give them a quiet time to color, draw, or a small puzzle to do. You should already have your bedtime routine for your baby short and sweet so your other children shouldn’t have to wait too long. If your older children need to go down first (because maybe they aren’t napping anymore) put the baby in a swing, pack n play, bouncy seat or high chair to contain them while you put the older child to bed. If you do leave them in some sort of seat, make sure they are properly strapped in and in a safe location.