With baby number 3 on the way, it has been more and more important to us to get the girls to bed at a reasonable time. I say reasonable, compared to some it is quite late, as the gremlin is usually not asleep before 8pm.
Hubby has really taken on the end part of the routine which is fab. I remember with little Piglet, she would have her bath with her older sister but be quite cranky and want lots of feeding and cuddles. Therefore it was always important for him to get both girls to sleep, so I could look after the little guy when he comes along. This is going to be weird in itself, as it’s when I tend to do a lot of blogging! Will be hopefully trying to get that done during the days.
But how have we managed this? These are my top tips bearing in mind my girls and now 5 and 2 years 5 months almost:
– Routine, routine, routine. It’s boring. It can be mind numbing but it works. We are quite sticklers for keeping to it, even during the school holidays. The gremlin gets the odd late night but usually we keep to her bedtime, as it makes no difference to her rising time and she is shattered!
– Start the evening with a bath/wash. Now I know a lot of people don’t bath their kids nightly and some not even even every other but we are nightly bathers. In fact Piglet will ask for a bath, even if we say she can have a night off. I am still getting in with them but this will change after the baby for a bit. They like it and it signifies the start of bedtime. I then tend to do some reading with the eldest or the girls have a bit of playtime before their stories.
– Bedtime stories. Even if the gremlin has read her school books she still wants her stories and hubby has always done this with her and does with her sister too. It’s important for them to unwind and also nice for the gremlin and her Dad.
– Pick your battles. The gremlin easily now gets her pants and nightie on and has done her teeth in the bath. Piglet on the other hand, can be a bit difficult when it comes to getting into PJs and has been known to sleep topless or in a cardigan!! Who cares? She goes to bed and often we do dress her when we come up. Sometimes let them have some control if it means they are happy and go to bed.
– Prep drinks before going up, as you will be going up and down the stairs like a loon. They always ask for a drink don’t they? We just have the make sure Piglet has one last wee before she sleeps, as trying to keep her dry overnight.
– Give the extra cuddles and kisses. The gremlin likes to come down for one extra and it does do my head in when she should be in bed but I let her off.
– Try to get your little one to go to sleep without needing someone with them. I’m not saying don’t lie and cuddle them or enjoy that time at all. It is precious BUT can get tedious when taking forever. The gremlin likes her Dad to lie with her and 10 minutes or so, until she falls asleep. Piglet on the other hand (baby number 2!!) has been taught to be left and will go to sleep alone with no fuss. She can sometimes be left playing, to be found to have put herself to bed and gone to sleep. She is in her own bed now.
This is what works for hubby and I and it seems to for the girls. Don’t get me wrong, it’s taken some time and effort, especially when Piglet moved from her cot to bed. Also, of course we have the nights when they take longer to sleep and again it’s like picking your battles. If on occasion one of the girls begs to falls asleep in our bed, we let them and move them. It’s rare and therefore not too much of an issue. Sometimes the gremlin comes downstairs for some extra telly or drawing if she’s not tired and she loves it.
Do you have a way of getting your kids to bed? Any other top tips?