Putting your baby and toddler to sleep is particularly difficult after a long day. Take the frustration out of bedtime with these tips.
Putting your baby and toddler to bed at night can be exhausting, especially if both your children are particularly fussy at the end of the day. These steps may help. There are levels of difficulties when it comes to sorting a double bedtime and a lot depends on the age of your oldest.
At age three they’re a handful, but by the time they’re four they’re becoming more independent and you can enlist their help or leave them for a bit to play on their own while you sort the younger one. Also, while your drowsy baby is still small, it’s easy to let them snooze close to your chest while you sort the older one, and once the baby can sit you can definitely safely bath them and read them bedtime stories at the same time. This means the whole bedtime routine becomes a bit more manageable – on the whole.
These tried-and-tested strategies may help:
Gear designed for baby
If your baby isn’t overtired you can drag a bouncy chair into the bathroom and let him watch you as you bath his elder sibling and get him ready for bedtime. Alternatively, you can put your baby in a baby wrap or carrier as you go about sorting your toddler. With your baby in a carrier you’ll have your baby close to you, but your hands-free.
Limited screen time
If you need to deal with your baby but want to be sure your toddler is safe and occupied, we’re not judging if you lean on the TV nanny and let him watch some TV, or a movie, for 30 minutes. If you’re in another room, you can even set up your phone or a laptop near you with a programme so that you can still keep an eye on him.
Establish a routine early on
The thing about second babies is that getting them to sleep on their own happens much quicker if you start some kind of sleep training from early on. Try to get your baby to fall asleep in his cot when he starts getting drowsy, instead of staying with him until he falls asleep, from early on. Put him down and try not to pick him up if he cries – just reassure him by rubbing his tummy and his head, before you leave the room. It can be difficult to rock and shush your baby to sleep if you still need to get your toddler down.
Tell your toddler a story
When your hands are full with a newborn, picking up a book to read to your toddler may not be realistic, especially if you’re alone. Instead, why not tell one. You can make up a story about almost anything, even about the time when he was a baby, just like his new sibling. Toddlers love hearing stories about what they did as babies. You could even narrate what you are doing with the baby and compare it with what you did when they were small.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Sometimes, admitting you need help is tough but it’s also important when you’re juggling a baby and a toddler at the same time. Say yes if a neighbour or family friend offers to watch your toddler while you bath the baby. Or, have a sitter watch the baby, while you spend some quality time with your toddler. Having opportunities where you can spend one-on-one time together is so important.