You think you are a sleep expert now that your baby is a toddler, and then … your newborn arrives. How do you handle two or more children at bedtime? Do you let them sleep at the same time or at different times?
Sleep baby sleep
Every new mother knows that one of the first things a new mother must adjust to is lack of sleep. It would seem that your baby never sleeps or only sleeps during the day and glows like an owl at night. You have read all the parenting books and have done your best to adjust your baby’s time to sleep through the night (if possible!). You even tried to sleep when the baby sleeps.
Finally your baby is a toddler and you thought you had your baby’s sleep patterns and your sleep patterns worked out and then your newborn comes on the scene. What are you doing now? How do you handle a newborn and toddler at the same time at bedtime? Does it allow them to have the same bedtime or a different bedtime?
Should the newborn sleep first and the toddler second?
With everything related to parenting, the best rule is “What works best for your family is the best rule.” You can read all the parenting books in the world and hear all the advice from wise relatives and friends, but at the end of the day, you have to find what works best for you. What are your family circumstances? Do you and your partner both work? What time do you get home from work?
Once you have all that figured out, the next thing to ask yourself is whether you should allow the children to have a joint bedtime or a different one. A newborn and a young child have different needs and are at different stages of development. However, even though they are in different stages of development and if you choose to have the same bedtime or different bedtime for them, one thing remains the same.
Bedtime routines for both newborn and toddler should be the same even if they have different sleep times
Whether you choose to have an earlier bedtime for the newborn and a later one for the toddler, one thing is the same. The bedtime routine for both the newborn and toddler should be the same.
- A warm bath
- Getting ready for bed (brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, etc.)
- A bedtime story (it’s never too early to read to a child)
- A calm process: Allow some time for you and your child to calm down from the day.
- Lights off
I chose the same bedtime for my children. I found that it worked perfectly for me because I was breastfeeding the baby while chatting with the toddler. We would read nursery rhymes and sing together or read a story to him. In this way, when the baby has finished breastfeeding, the child will have enough sleep to go to sleep at the same time. I also found that having the same bedtime allows me to have more time with my spouse after the children have fallen asleep. I don’t have to repeat the process with the toddler after she sleeps and the toddler will also have more bonding time with the baby.
Of course, it may not always work so perfectly, as the baby might wake up as soon as you put him to bed, but I think being consistent with his bedtime routine helps. In fact, I still have the same bedtime routine for children who are now much older.
If you’re reading this, you might be planning on welcoming your new baby or being overly tired from lack of sleep from a baby who never sleeps and a hyperactive toddler at bedtime.
- Find something that works for your family and your circumstances
- Follow the same bedtime routine, even if you choose a different bedtime for your children
- Stay constant
- Don’t be too hard on yourself or get too frustrated if routines don’t work out as intended.
- Give yourself a break from time to time
Congratulations on the new addition to your family and good luck in establishing a smooth sleep routine.