You might find yourself wondering, how do I cope with my toddler and my baby at bedtime? It’s a really common question. Just when you think you’ve nailed sleep with your first, you need to consider how to juggle two tired children at bedtime.
Fear not! I have some suggestions to help you. This might not be what you do, so if it doesn’t feel right for your family don’t worry, but it might give you a helpful timeline……
First of all, implement some after dinner play for your toddler. A bit of silly time to allow them to let off steam! I often put on some music so we can dance around while I am actually tidying up a little so that there’s less to do later on.
Give yourself plenty of time for your bedtime routine and try to stay as relaxed as possible. Consistency and staying calm will help. Sometimes it’s happens that one child will get upset near bedtime, but give yourself some grace and know that you are doing the best you can.
Start bath time – make sure you have everything you need in advance. Pyjamas, nappies, towels, toys etc. The key is being prepared.
Get your toddler in the bath first while you safely lay baby on a towel on the bathroom floor. Once toddler is in the bath I would lower baby into the bath with a bath support. You can gently get toddler involved – ask them to help you wash baby (it could be that they stick to just feet with a flannel). Reiterate how helpful they are, and how gently they help with their brother or sister.
Get baby out first (they really only need a short bath). While you are dressing baby, give the toddler a toy to play with and perhaps sing a bath time song together. Once baby is dressed leave him or her safely on another towel or playmat while you get toddler out and into pyjamas. This is the point where its possible that baby might get upset as they are ready for their bedtime feed, but if they have to wait a few seconds, don’t panic.
Pick up baby and head to toddlers’ bedroom. Ask toddler to pick some books while you get comfy with baby. Lots of pillows/cushions are useful here to support you and baby. Take some deep breaths if you feel stressed!
Either cuddle baby and read all together if baby is content, or if baby can’t wait then begin the bedtime feed while you read to your toddler. If it is a little tricky to turn the pages then get toddler in bed and tell them a made-up story all about a little girl or boy called *insert their name* who was the most loved and wanted little child. You can make up silly stories about what they did that day.
Once the story is over, I would take baby into their room/your room (wherever their crib is), and settle them down to bed. Tell your toddler that you will be back in a moment and to either wait in bed, or give them the opportunity to pick an extra book for you to read together for ‘Cuddle Club.’
(Cuddle Club is a concept I came up with for my eldest Daisy!) Its really lovely to have some extra time alone with your toddler once baby is in bed. You can read an extra story or two, or simply spend that time re-connecting with just the two of you.
If your baby takes a while to settle and your toddler is always out like a light, you could consider kissing your toddler goodnight first and then settling baby afterwards. Whatever works best for your family.
Want more support with your child’s sleep?
If you would like to learn more about sleep and have guidance on how you can approach achieving a well-rested night’s sleep then check out our online courses.
Available from newborn to 4 years old, our courses are designed to help you learn how you can support your child to sleep better.
We share all the information you need to help you really understand your little one’s sleep and how to help them achieve more predictable naps and restful nights – all from your own computer, phone or tablet whenever it suits you.
Early Days & Foundations of Sleep: 0-5 Months
This course will teach you how you can work towards great sleep habits, without ‘sleep training.’ It provides gentle solutions for settling and works towards the end goal of a settled night’s sleep, whilst understanding and responding to your baby’s needs.
Sleep Success: 6-9 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 10-18 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine, the transition from two naps to one and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 1.5 – 4 years
This course which covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, potential sleep disturbances in this age group, a suggested daily routine, the transition from cot to bed, dropping the daytime nap, early waking and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan.