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To ask for your tips and tricks for easy bedtime routines? Help me with my 4 under 7 please!!

(26 Posts)
NarniaLove Mon 12-Jan-15 21:56:56

Hi there.

I have an easy going 3 month old, a very head strong 2.5 year old, a 5 year old who is very particular and also head strong, and a 6.5 year old who thinks she is a teenager (everything is 'so unfair' at the moment).

I am struggling with their bedtime routine and most evenings the older 3 are not in bed until 8.45-9pm.

Previous to our new baby they were all in bed by 7.30 and I need to get things back to that!

Bedtime is a solo act as my husband gets home at 9-10pm. I usually bath the 3 month old and 2.5 year old before dinner to make things easier at bedtime.

I like to read to them all, and the older 2 need to read with me as well. I just can't make it work. Don't know what order to do things in, feel completely overwhelmed and by about 4pm I am usually on my last legs with not much energy left so that doesn't help.

Pease come and give me some clarity, words of wisdom, brilliant tips!! Any help very much appreciated!

winewolfhowls Mon 12-Jan-15 22:10:57

I have no tips but I wanted to say you must be a legend to cope with 4, especially without help from husband.

I am in awe as its a madhouse here with one 18mth old. ;)

NarniaLove Mon 12-Jan-15 22:14:09

Thank you, but I don't really think I am coping! Something always has to give. Ie: older 2 get 20 mins of TV instead of a story, or home reading gets skipped, or one or more of them doesn't get a bath (!)

AnyoneforTurps Mon 12-Jan-15 22:19:50

I agree with wine that you must be Superwoman to be managing at all.

If you had them all in bed by 7.30 pre-DC4, what has changed now? (apart from having another baby obviously smile ) What is it about DC4's routine that has interfered with the pre-DC4 routine for your eldest 3? If you can put your finger on that, maybe you can find a way to re-establish the old routine with a 4th. For example, could DC 1 & 2 read to you while DC 4 has a feed?

winewolfhowls Mon 12-Jan-15 22:24:12

does it matter if something gives? better 20mins of tv than a frazzled mum!

couldn't there be a rota of baths, reading etc for each night? they don't all need a bath every night?

could the older one get a bonus half an hour later bedtime if she is a good girl and helps a bit with the younger ones? (e.g. passing nappies, tidying toys away, clearing and wiping table for you?)

Myfanwyprice Mon 12-Jan-15 22:34:13

I've don't bath my dc every night, but on bath nights I've started putting them in the bath as soon as they get in from school.

I was finding that rather than making them calm, bath time was making them excited (especially 4.11 yr old dd), so decided to move that away from bed time, now after dinner, I know that I've only got to do reading before bed.

NarniaLove Mon 12-Jan-15 22:36:51

I don't know why things are so different now. Perhaps I am just too tired to keep to a regimented routine. I can't face even trying to work out a routine at the moment! One thing that hasn't helped is that the 2 middle ones share a bedroom now and they play up at lights out. When they were all in separate rooms it was much easier to control any nonsense and excuses not to go to bed.

Thanks for the replies.

Foolishlady Mon 12-Jan-15 22:37:55

I am the last person to give advice on bedtime routines (and I only have one!) but a bath for each child every night does sound like hard work! And not necessarily good for their skin?

NarniaLove Mon 12-Jan-15 22:40:25

What is that old saying about baths and a full tummy? Are you not supposed to have a bath after eating or before??. A bit of a random question but just thinking of all the options for when to bath.

Bath after dinner would make things easier I think.

Another reason things are so different now is that they can all see I'm pretty preoccupied with the new baby and sense my weakness. Opportunity to be a bit naughty as I have taken my eyes off them.

NarniaLove Mon 12-Jan-15 22:42:12

I cover them in Aveeno lotion afterwards!

How often does everyone else bath their little ones?

The two still in nappies often need a quick dip. The older ones have often been swimming / outdoor PE so need it too.

eddiemairswife Mon 12-Jan-15 22:42:56

When I had 4 of very similar ages to yours I would give the three oldest their tea when we had collected the oldest one from school, and we would all watch children's TV while I fed the baby. The next to youngest would have her bath while the boys played, and while I settled her in bed the boys would be in the bath.I would then wash them and the younger boy, 4, would go to bed with books, and the oldest,6, would go downstairs for 30mins, while I bathed the baby and fed her. My husband would be home by then and would clear away the children's tea things, and prepare our evening meal, before telling the boys a story. It was about 7.30 by the time they were all settled. I was very lucky in that they were all, even as babies, good sleepers and once they were off night feeds we never had disturbed nights.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Mon 12-Jan-15 22:44:57

Could you bath the younger 2 while the others are at school.

While they are at school get dinner all prepared and cooked ready to heat up. Then as soon as the older 2 come in get homework done.

Once homework is done then reheat dinner, then baths and into their PJ. Hopefully this will be done by 6:30 then put the younger 2 to bed. Then the older 2 in bed an hour later. Do stories for the older 2 in that hour.

My mother and father have 7 children together and this was our routine at home.

Muchtoomuchtodo Mon 12-Jan-15 22:45:41

When is your DH about?

Could reading be done in the morning? Could the oldest manage to read the middle 2 a short story, or at least look throug a picture book or well known story book together?

Ours still bath most nights (6 and 9)

sneepy Mon 12-Jan-15 22:45:57

Bath the baby while the older ones are at school/nursery. Have the older 2 read to you when they get home from school, before dinner. After dinner, dump all 3 olders in the bath together, hose them down as quick as possible (baby in sling? or bouncy chair?) then jammies, stories, bed. Sounds good in theory, right?

Good luck with it all, can't imagine doing bedtime with 4!

sneepy Mon 12-Jan-15 22:47:34

Actually sounds like Piper has it sorted.

crazykat Mon 12-Jan-15 22:48:04

I've got four under 7 too. It was a nightmare getting into a routine with the extra school work and new baby.

They don't need baths every night, for little ones it can be drying for their skin. The best thing I did was swop baths for a shower, it's much quicker and I can get them all showered, dry and in bed in 20 minutes if I have to. The older two can wash themselves while I get the youngest two dry/hair brushed and in pj's.

I give mine half hour of TV when we get in from school to wind down while I get bags etc sorted for the next day and start on dinner.

I listen to the older two read for ten minutes each before dinner, sometimes while I'm cooking dinner they'll read in the kitchen with me.

Do you read to them separately? If you do you could read to them all together then send them to bed.

I was also quite strict with bedtime for the older three right from the start, I'd sit upstairs with Dc3 until she was asleep at around 7. With dc4 I kept him downstairs with me while I sorted things out rather than being stuck upstairs for an hour unable to do anything.

It does get easier when they get a bit older. Mine are aged between 2 and 7 years and the youngest can do much more for himself now.

sausageandorangepickle Mon 12-Jan-15 22:50:45

Could you make the chilled 3 month old fit in around the others, not the other way around?

So, little ones bathed and pyjamaed, dinner time, leave all the pots etc, reading stories to no's 2 and 3, no 3 goes to sleep, get no 2 to read to you somewhere else, then tuck him in and listen to no 1. During this no 4 will I guess either been carried, fed or put down if she has fallen asleep?

My DS3 stayed downstairs with us till we went to bed, just kipped on us or in the moses basket.

NarniaLove Mon 12-Jan-15 23:05:25

Thank you. Starting to see the light. It does all seem doable seeing it in black and white.

Showers not a possibility at the moment as our thermostat for the shower is broken and water stuck at a hot temp, long story!

My eldest has very quick baths, the younger ones complain massively if they don't get a long time to play in the bath.

I'm going to try reading in the mornings with the older two.

So in from school, homework straight away, dinner at 5.

Older 2 baths after dinner. Then they can get into bed and read or draw/play in their rooms. No more TV just before bed. It creates melt downs in our house when it's time to switch off.

Bath younger 2 together at 6.30 ish. Feed baby at 7pm while 2 year old chooses bedtime books. Read to 2 year old and baby at the same time on our double bed. Bed for 2 year old at 7.30.

Stories and bed for older two 7.30-8pm.

The big problem with this routine is how to get the 2 year old to go to bed while the 5 year old is staying up (they share a bedroom).

Wish I had left my 2 year old in the cot for a bit longer now before switching to a toddler bed. Also wishing the 2 year old could somehow have own bedroom!

eddiemairswife Mon 12-Jan-15 23:16:07

Can't the older two share a bedroom instead of the middle two? At least I went through this stage before infants had homework and brought reading books home. They just had loads of books all over the house.

NarniaLove Mon 12-Jan-15 23:21:54

It would work better. But girl and boy, and my girl is almost 7 so probably needs a bit of privacy / her own space more than the middle 2.

Plus the 2 year old would be most upset at not sharing with his big brother anymore.

AnyoneforTurps Mon 12-Jan-15 23:31:48

Would the 5 year old settle for some big boy reading time in bed? They both go down at the same time but 5yo gets to read for 30 mins? Obviously will only work if he's a keen reader which might be pushing it at this age but maybe cartoons?

softlysoftly Mon 12-Jan-15 23:32:19

I have 3 under 5 and only bath twice a week. There is no way I'd fit it in every night and the 5yo gets terrible dry skin anyway.

Can you put 2yo to bed earlier say 6.30?

With no nap mine would sleep until 7 from then. That way my 5yo plays downstairs with baby while 2yo has chance to fall asleep before I take 5yo up.

Justwheesht Mon 12-Jan-15 23:35:22

I have 4 under 7 (2,4,5,6). They all share a room. Bath twice a week except 2 year old who gets a bath every 2nd day.

6 and 5 year old get sent up to do their teeth and faces. I send them up with aqua fresh app on phone so they brush for two minutes. I change 4 year old and 2 year old downstairs, wash and teeth done downstairs. No fighting in the bathroom if I do it this way.
Each has a turn to choose the story. They all go to bed at the same time. 7.30pm lights out.

Stripeyfeet Tue 13-Jan-15 00:14:56

Make dinner in the daytime when little one(s) are napping/ watching TV. Do homework straight after school before anything fun (otherwise it gets remembered at bedtime). Reheat dinner after homework. Baths at the weekend (more time to be a whale/squirt duckies/scream about shampoo in eyes). Plonk little ones in bed after a short story. Threaten toddler with a different (rubbish) sleeping place if there's any noise. Spend half an hour quality time with big ones (useful bribery for when they don't want to go to bed later) then story and bed.
Our littlest one is a bit older but that's how it's supposed to happen in our house. It's nice when it does :-)

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Tue 13-Jan-15 01:07:31

My mum ran the house like a military operation.

even on weekends.

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