Do you have multiple kids? Or worse – two babies under two? Then i am sure you live your life from one sleep time to the other. Getting up and waiting for sleep time, so u can get something done. Here’s my journey with two kids and how in the end i figured out a way to put two to sleep together. You can use this guide for multiple kids sleep routine also.
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All babies are different. I kept reading about this in a hundred articles but understood it only after having two of my own.
I kept expecting the same things to happen during my pregnancy and later.
Both my pregnancies had stark differences. First was a smooth sail but second was no less than a storm. Riddled with premature contractions, braxton’s from early part of pregnancy, backache and the list goes on. Read my Birth story here But both turned out to be full term normal deliveries.
I noticed the same thing with my babies, now my 2 yr old is sleep trained from 8 months of age, 1:30 pm afternoon sleep and 11:30 pm night sleep (may be a little late for some but works perfectly fine for our family)
My 9 month old, she’s a tough cookie. No purees or pastes, no sleep training, super clingy, to sum her up – she owns me. She cries i run. This was supposed to get easy. Right?
Both of them have different sleep times well that’s because princess sleeps when ever she wants, and that makes it really difficult to maintain the toddlers sleep schedule.
Off late getting fed up of all this i came up with a plan to put both of them to sleep, actually dear hubby did. But it worked like a charm and its been 2 weeks and we are still going strong.
How much sleep does your child need?
Before you set up a bedtime routine for your kids, you should know how much sleep they need. It’s really important because more nap times during the day mean a late bedtime,. One that ends with a tantrum,. Simply because the child isn’t sleepy yet. what are the early sleep cues for a newborn? what happens when you take your newborn to sleep when she shows the late sleep cues? more on sleep cues here
My mom told me one ‘golden piece of advice’ that I hold close to my heart. Its helped me with both my children. It’s “don’t let your kids nap late until. Evening. Sure it feels great having kid free time in the evenings”, it’s a perfect recipe for a struggle at bedtime.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) here are the current sleep recommendations for kids at different ages:
Babies 4 – 12 months: 12-16 hours of sleep per 24 hours (including naps)
Kids 1 – 2 years: 11-14 hours of sleep per 24 hours (including naps)
Kids 3 – 5 years: 10-13 hours of sleep per 24 hours (including naps)
Kids 6 – 12 years: 9-12 of sleep hours per 24 hours
Teens 13 – 18 years: 8-10 hours of sleep per 24 hours
When you follow these guidelines from the AAP, then you can determine an appropriate bedtime based on when your child wakes up, and how long they nap.
Although you may need to shorten nap time if it’s too long (more than 1 1/2 – 2 hours depending on the child’s age, or wake-up time is closer than at least five hours from bedtime. Both of these nap factors can contribute to fighting bedtime and having toddler bedtime tantrums. Read more about toddler tantrums and how to effectively handle them.
How to establish a sleep routine for two kids?
So continuing our talk on baby sleep schedules, lets see how my toddlers sleep schedule is, because that’s the basis of getting the sleep routine of two, right.
1️⃣ Put the elder one on a sleep routine and perfect it.
2️⃣ the 2nd ones follows suite
So here’s my toddler’s sleep schedule:
I started him on it when he was 8 months old
It took me round about one month to train him perfectly and he got used to it within 2 weeks.
It took a lot of patience but now i realize two weeks was nothing compared to the one month for which i have been trying to sleep train my daughter. (We’ll call her the tough cookie)
1.Dinner at 9:30 pm
2. Silent play for half hour
3. 10:30 pm getting ready for bed:
- That includes changing our diapers,
- wearing jammies,
- drinking a bottle of milk,
- Drinking some water, (Only milk before sleep causes a lot of tooth decay)
4. I and the toddler get in bed and its story time, my favorite time of the schedule. After about two stories, I put him in his cot with his blanky and just rest besides him on my bed.
5. No talking, no eye contact and within 15 to 20 mins my boy’s out…. Yup you read it right.
So that worked great even now at 2 years of age but that meant me n the toddler spending time alone, he got used to me. But since the baby i had a tough time, the little one just wouldn’t stay without me. The days when hubby wasn’t there to put the toddler down, i would go insane, one would wake the other, every single time.
Then one day lying down all exhausted, not making any attempts to put them to sleep, I saw both went to sleep on their own.
It was their time to sleep, all tired from the day. I saw their timings and followed the same timings, each day.
It was 12:00 am. Fine by me as long as both sleep together
So here it is…
- I broke my toddler’s habit of sleeping alone with me and in pin drop silence
- Then conditioned my Princess to sleep at that particular time when Toddler sleeps.
- Tire them out by skipping evening naps for the girl and giving energy consuming activities to the toddler just before dinner.
Then at 12:00 am i take both of them in, and start the sleep routine.
- Change into jammies
- Story time
- Put the toddler in the cot
- Girl with me on the bed, while i breastfeed her so she remains silent while the toddler falls asleep. This takes about 10 to 20 mins because he’s sleep trained.
- If my girls done with her feed and the toddler hasn’t slept yet then I give her favorite toy to play with or a stuffed animal so she still remains busy and silent.
- I let her play for 20 mins or so or up till she shows signs of sleepiness like rubbing her face.
- Then I put her down with her favorite blanky and I pat her back, may be sing a lullaby (though it’s not usually a part of our routine, it’s because i am the worst singer there ever was and will be)
- When she’s finally asleep i transfer her to her cot and then spread my limbs and enjoy the whole bed for myself.
- The feeling is heavenly, each night, when i have accomplished this task.
Pro Tips :
- Whatever schedule you chalk out, do those things daily.
- Do not skip steps just to finish the routine quickly.
- Do not alter the timings. On most days you will be good, but on the bad ones, try not to alter their timings by more than 15 to 20 mins.
- These routines will bring your sanity back. Nothing fancy, just plain old things, done daily, at the same time. That’s the basic recipe for a perfect sleep routine.
- Amidst all this storm, are you forgetting yourself? getting transformed into a mom monster? here are 10 most effective ways of being a happy mom, and still get shit done.
The best gear to prepare you for the war called ‘sleep time’
I am not a spendthrift mom. Kids are expensive, and I totally understand that. I am an advocate for all kid things that can be reused in the future. Not only for another kid.
When I say best gear, I am referring to things that are going to make your life easier. Some on this list are habit forming, like a pacifier, but then again, there is a way around it too. Get the orthodontic ones that have a flat tip, not a bulb so no undue pressure on the developing palate. So let’s get to our gears.
1- wooden cots. I adored these even before I had kids. Now after having kids and knowing how useful they actually are, was delighted. I use them mostly to restrain my kids, when i need to pee or catch a breath. You can also use it to put kids to sleep in it. Best part it this 9 in 1 baby cot is the best thing in the market. Shame I didn’t know about it during the first baby, so all he got was a 4 walled wooden cot like this one.
Coming to this convertible cot. It can be used from day 0 to 8-10 years of age. Yup quiet and investment isn’t it. It has a cradle action, wheels that can turn to stand alone cot, storage underneath, and turns into a 6 ft full fledged bed. Check it out on amazon here.
2- white noise machine. So we were talking about putting a newborn and a toddler to sleep together. All possible resources seem less, until you have figured it out. Here’s the science behind it. When babies are in mothers womb, they are used to a lot of noise, and the outside world seems rather quiet to them. The babies ear is pressed against the biggest blood vessel of the human body, the aorta.
The constant blood flow through it, makes for a pretty noisy atmosphere for 9 long months. Hence the difficulty in sleeping in the quiet outside world. Best way to put a newborn to sleep is to mimic the wombs atmosphere. The sounds of the aorta are of a type called white noises. Like the rain, train, flowing water in a stream. A white noise machine like this one, mimics these sounds and helps the baby sleep.
3- Dim light. You love to sleep in the dark, pitch black??? Me too. But now we are parents, and dark rooms are scary for kids also i cant see who threw the pacifier where, and who kicked who in the stomach. Also you can’t breast breastfeed the baby in the dark.
A nice, soft , sleep inducing light like this one does the job perfectly.
4-Soft toy/blanky. A cuddly toy, or a blanky whatever, your toddler is used to having with him/her during bedtime us a must. These are definitely habit forming. I had to get up several times during the night to give my toddler, one particular corner of his blanky that he liked (the one with a ripped hem) but these things are like a double edged sword. They also provide a feeling of belonging and help establish their personality traits. So I don’t mind. Also because they are a lifesaver during travels.
5-Story books. Bedtime reading has innumerable benefits, and we all know how it helps in developing their vocabulary and how it is never too early to start. Here are my favorite suggestions for your baby and your toddler.
Also do checkout ‘Reading to my baby’ for more info.
6-Pacifier.this one is definitely dicey. I live by it, i hate it at the same time. If you ask me an honest opinion on, should babies be given the pacifier, i would say 50/50. It makes life so easier especially when you are putting one to sleep and the other one is being rather noisy.
Then again it’s worse because they get so habituated to it, that if in case it falls off their mouth in the middle of the night (which is like 10 times) , you have to get up, search for it in the dark and settle them back for the umpteenth time. Not to mention how many times they lose it. Throw it with their own hands and come crying “I want my paci”
we even kept a code for it, me and my hubby. We now call it “the P” but guess what, the kid cracked that too, so he also started saying P, whenever he wants the pacifier.
Keeping a huge stash of pacifiers in each room and each draw and one extra in your purse that comes out only when the other 10 that you had as spares, are lost.
There are orthodontic type pacifiers which do not put pressure on the developing palate, so are safe to use. I have used pacifiers by most brands but none are bite resistant. That’s because a kid with teeth isn’t supposed to be sucking on a pacifier, (just like I am supposed to be a millionaire) who are we kidding, they do carry it into toddler hood, pacifier use is a big topic, left to be discussed later.