How does one person manage to put a baby and toddler to bed? They don’t.
Managing bedtime with two kids by yourself is one of the most challenging and dreadful parts of my job as a mom. However, because of my husband’s unpredictable life schedule, I’m usually the solo bedtime mama.
If we aren’t friends already or don’t follow me, then you need to know I am not the perfect mom. I believe in screen time and playgrounds. I believe in organic and McDonalds. But most importantly, I believe in bedtime cuddles.
Bedtime with 2 Young Kids
Let it be known my toddler hates bedtime. Sleep has been a challenge for us since the get-go. He was a purple crybaby who just screamed most nights until babyhood and even into toddlerhood it’s a massive challenge. Adapting to this vague routine has helped, but he’s still a pain the ass to put to bed. For the reason, my toddler is the last child to go to bed.
We are not a cry-it-out family and believe in a compassionate bedtime. This isn’t perfect, and sometimes there are tears and frustrations but I try my best every night. That’s what matters most. My children also hate reading books and bath time just riles them up. These traditional bedtime routines just don’t work for us.
My Bedtime Schedule for a Single Parent
Here’s just one example of my bedtime strategy when I’m on the solo parent bedtime duty:
4 – 5 pm: Dinner chaos.
5- 6 pm: Post Dinner Terror.
6 pm: Start thinking about putting the baby to bed.
6:30 pm: Put on a show or movie for the toddler.
6:35 pm: Put baby to bed [Nighttime Diaper, Jammies, Boobs, rock to sleep]
7: 15pm: Finish watching TV with a toddler.
8:00 pm: Put toddler to bed.
8:15 pm: Rock baby on the end of the bed while sitting with toddler to convince him its okay to fall asleep.
9:00 pm: hopefully put the baby down in bed, and toddler sleeping.
As you can see, my bedtime routine relies on the helpful hand of a screen babysitter. Without screentime, bedtime can be chaos as he doesn’t play quietly or nicely by himself long enough to put the other child to bed.
This results in two separate bedtimes and a long night. It’s tough but it works for my family and meets the needs of my children.
Bedtime with a toddler and a baby is a challenge but the biggest tip is to keep your cool. They know when you get stressed and if you even have a scent of “I have something important to do” they will create all the night time chaos.
What if they both go to sleep at the same time?
For a while, they both went to bed at the same time, but that’s shifted as you can tell. If they both need to go to bed at the same time I would rock the baby in the toddler’s bedroom while listening to our sleep music.
Sometimes I lay her down on the floor (or in her dockatot when we had one) and then would continue to help my toddler fall asleep. Once asleep, sneak out with the baby and put her in her own bed. This is mostly how I did bedtime with a toddler and a newborn.
Yes, my toddler still needs someone to sit with him to go to bed. We did a sleep lady shuffle to get there, but we haven’t been able to convince him its okay to go to bed without mommy and daddy. I’m okay with that. He’s only little once.
How do you do the sleep routine thing with two kids? Are you a solo bedtime parent? Or do you get help?
It’s okay if it all hits the fan and you stay up watching the Lego movie until the kids crash on the couch. Parenting is fucking hard and cut yourself some slack. One bad night won’t ruin them.