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To still not mastered a bedtime routine?

(16 Posts)
HopeandSoap Tue 19-Jan-16 21:11:06

I start our bedtime routine about 6 and am not usually done until 9/10. I have no evening myself and and really jealous of the mums that have their children asleep by 7 and house tidy!

At the moment we get in straight form school, I cook dinner, eat, I tidy up while kids play. Then help with homework/ reading. By then it's 6 and we go up for a bath, play a little , read then bed.

Sounds great written down but between all this is kids screaming, running about hyper making more mess and messing about going to sleep. I have to lie with each of them so they will sleep. Except they don't fall asleep for hours!

They are 2,5,7. 7 year old is very anxious and I know is scared to be in her room by herself. She won't even go upstairs on her own! She wakes 1-2 times per night with a nightmare. 5 year old sleeps through most nights. But the 2 year old shock. He sleeps until 1ish has milk, sleeps to 3/4 (no milk) then up every 2-45 mins. Probably 10-20 times until morning. He startles himself awake from snoring.

What am I doing wrong? How do you do bedtimes smoothly!

Artandco Tue 19-Jan-16 21:16:27

Why do you do bath and then start playing again? That's your problem. Also don't fully bath every night or just quick dip in

For you I would do:
7pm in bath 5 and 2 year olds
7.10pm out bath, 7 year old in bath, help youngest with pjs whilst eldest quick washes
7.20pm 7 year old out bath, in pjs. Everyone teeth
7.30pm all in one bed for two short stories.
7.40pm all in own beds. Eldest two can read alone 20 mins whilst youngest put to bed
8pm lights out for eldest also

Do bath every other night so skip that bit half the nights

Artandco Tue 19-Jan-16 21:18:48

Oh and I just would ban all milk overnight for two year old. He really doesn't need and it's really bad for his teeth to be having milk now. Do milk for everyone downstairs in a cup at table before 7pm. Then nothing else apart from water until breakfast.

bornwithaplasticspoon Tue 19-Jan-16 21:32:05

Bath, warm milk, teeth, story bed. Should take an hour or so with setting them too, about 1.5 hours? If you start at 6 you should be home free by 7.30.

Agree about 2 year old. He should be getting enough milk during the day. Just keep water by his bed for night time thirst.

Squiff85 Tue 19-Jan-16 21:36:17

Sorry if it sounds mean but I don't get why you can't just bath, read and put to bed?

If they run around/get up then tell them no and send them back to bed. They'll soon learn.

Sounds like you need to give them some tough love!!

mrsmugoo Tue 19-Jan-16 21:42:47

Yes tough love and ruthless consistency.

Mine never ever plays after bath. It's CBeebies & milk then bath at 7 then into his dimmed bedroom to get dressed. He has a story, a poem and a song all cuddled up to one of us then it's bed, lights out, door closed til morning.

fusionconfusion Tue 19-Jan-16 21:46:20

Mine do play after bath sometimes but in a everyone-else-is-getting-ready sort of way. They only have 2-3 a week.

Our evening usually goes (bath) PJs, milk, teeth, story, bed. Often smooth. Sometimes terrible messing.

fusionconfusion Tue 19-Jan-16 21:48:44

(Mine are 2, 3.5 and 6... And it is a lot harder with three. 2 are in one room, 1 in another. We divide and conquer, doing all three at once happens but often far more chaotic).

Octonought Tue 19-Jan-16 21:50:20

I really feel for you but agree with the others. Bath/shower, teeth, then straight into bed with 2 short books in our house for our three (age 5,3,3).
Also agree about the milk, get rid of it overnight - you're giving him a reason to wake up. You'll have a few awful nights probably, but he'll soon get used to it and stop waking up for it, and it'll be worth it in the long run.

Tamponlady Tue 19-Jan-16 21:53:43

Agree with others no playing and get rid of the milk

TimeToMuskUp Tue 19-Jan-16 21:55:23

We don't have screens for an hour before bedtime, they can potter in their rooms and play and read but any screen time just lengthens how long it takes them to switch off. They bath/shower every other night (DS1 is 10 and showers on the days he does sports, but loves a good wallow in the bath) and after getting out they have stories; the big one stays in bed while I read to the small and if they get out of bed it's always been rapid-return.

DS2 didn't begin sleeping through the night til he was 3. I thought he was going to kill us with his unique brand of torture, but I also worked out that letting him have late nights made it worse, while endless fresh air, bike rides, dog walks and a huge trampoline in the garden would help him burn himself out during the day, but we just had to wait while he learned to sleep through.

We also (and this won't be to everyone's tastes) let him get into bed with us if he woke in the night. I got to the point where I thought I'd lose the plot entirely working in a school and having a tiny person marching about the house at 3, 4 and 5am each day, so let him climb in with us. He's stopped doing it now he's 5 and at school. It does get better. You do what you need to do to survive; if it's bed sharing for a while, crack on.

DisappointedOne Tue 19-Jan-16 22:00:52

I'll fly in the face of everyone else's advice and say that for DD(5), baths/showers before bed are a no-no - they wake her up. I know other children like this too. She does however need a tickle into hysterics before bed to get rid of any lingering energy. She then gets a story in dim light and classical music to fall asleep to. Occasionally, she needs one of us there, other times she needs leaving alone to fall asleep in her own time. It's pointless starting before 8pm - she's been a night owl since birth. She's usually asleep by 9pm. During active brain development phases it can be later. But she's thriving so we go with it. Drinks before bed have her up in the night so we try to avoid drinks after 6pm or so.

I think you have to work out what works for your kids. They don't always follow the parenting books. ;)

Mrscog Tue 19-Jan-16 22:01:36

I think you need to settle the 2 year old first and earlier. Mine woke very early at that age unless he was asleep by 6.30. If he was in bed early enough he'd do a solid 12 hours.

RubbleBubble00 Tue 19-Jan-16 22:15:43

Mine are 2,4,7 so not too different. The older two share a room as eldest doesn't like sleeping alone. I don't bath every night just twice a week. I won't lie in bed with them as that keeps them awake. If they get out of bed then swift return.

Intake everyone upstairs into pj and teeth brushed. Then I settle older two downstairs watching cartoons (or if they are fighting I pop middle one in my room with iPad).

Then 2 yr old gets a story and some nursery rhymes then lights out - any getting out of bed is dealt by swift return and sometimes a stern word so rarely happens now. I'd cut milk if I were you and any waking get a - go to sleep it's not time to get up - I've found gro clock good but took a solid month to get him to follow it of continuously putting back to bed if up before the sun.

Then it's dc2 turn which is a quick story and bed. He has night light and door open.

Then dc3 pretty much takes himself up.

Divide them up if they are hyper so you can put each one to bed. Room sharing stopped oldest dc night terrors. Perhaps audio book for eldest so she can listen and lie in bed while your putting everyone else to bed

HopeandSoap Tue 19-Jan-16 22:16:51

Thanks for your suggestions. I'll swap the playtime around so it's before bath. When putting them to bed though I can't just leave them in bed as they will come out. My 7 year old would be terrified and she is actually frightened not playing up. But then the 5 year old says it's not fair and it cycles on! I have my 2 yet old in a cot next to my bed so I can settle him. He will be sharing with the 5 year old eventually but for now he's in with us otherwise he'd wake him up too.

AliMonkey Tue 19-Jan-16 22:33:06

First I wonder if you are trying to get them to bed too early. Once we got into a routine with them (at 3 months for DD, closer to a year with DS), we started bed time routine at 7 with lights out at 8. Stayed that way for long time, probably until they were 6 and 8. They are now 10 and 8 and we gradually moved to current upstairs at 7.20-7.30, lights out at 8.40/8.45. Depends of course on when they have to get up - on average yours probably need 10-12 hours sleep in theory.

We have always done bath every night so routine the same each night - and also because "draws a line" between playtime and bedtime. There is also sometimes a bit of play - but of the board game type rather than running round - particularly if DH only walks in the door when eg they are in the bath as they want to spend some time with him but these days don't generally want to be read to.

DS has had a couple of phases of struggling to sleep, related I think to his general anxiety issues - we stuck to the routine but I spent up to an hour going up and down the stairs to respond to his calls (ignoring never worked, just got him worked up). What helped was gradual withdrawal day by day, so if you currently get under the covers with them, first lie on covers then sit next to them, then kneel next to bed with your hand on them, then without hand, then sit on floor in doorway, then go into next door room, then sit on stairs etc. Sometimes we resorted to bribes ("if you go to sleep on your own then tomorrow you can choose a comic") and sometimes just firmness ("I will not be coming in again tonight").

Given age differences think you should maybe try getting two year old (and possibly 5 year old) done first - get them in bed (or at least quiet in their room) before 7 year old starts bath. But sounds like you have no DP to help which makes It harder than if doing all on your own. Could you get 2yo bathed etc then 7yo reads to them while you sort out 5yo? Then lights out for 2yo and you read to 5yo (in bathroom if necessary) while 7yo baths, etc?

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