To never do bedtime again?(27 Posts)
Obv a time difference where I am, and have just spent 2 hrs doing bedtime for a 7, 5 and 1 year old.
There's only me. I work full time and the childcarer leaves the minute I'm through the door.
Then it's just the boys (7&5) fighting and fussing and being idiots and the baby girl getting wound up. It goes round in circles forever.
I hate it. I hate everything when I'm doing it. I lose my rag and feel guilty. The whole thing is carnage.
Tomorrow I'm going to drink wine downstairs and they can sort themselves out.
Are you in Australia? I am.
Firstly....can you possibly get the child care to stay for another half an hour or so?
If not, then look at what you usually do in those first few minutes and change that.
What is the usual thing you do?
Feel your pain op. From 7-10 pm it was basically Bootcamp in our house. Feckin exhausted.
Can you get a childcarer who will at least put little one to bed?
I am in a similar situation but I know if I'm not back before 7 the youngest (4) will be in bed. If Im back earlier I do it and it takes longer but at least then I have more time.
It helps that my eldest (9) amuses herself while i get him to bed and then she has her time after he's asleep.
That does sound hard. I remember when my two were small...and you have 3! With two adults one could deal with the baby and other with the older ones.
Or, I would be tempted to put TV on for older and put baby to bed early, then deal with the others.
The 1 yr old surely goes to bed first? Get that out of the way - let the older two play while you get the baby to bed
Then get the other two bathed/in PJs. Let them sit for a little while in front room - doing something quiet (reading a book?)
Get the 5 yr old to best next if you can do them separately? Into bed, do a story then lights off. Repeat with the eldest.
Don’t loose your rag - they will play up to it if they know your tired/stressed.
Finally- pour a large gin and give yourself an hour on the sofa before you do anything else!!!
That sounds so tough. Practical suggestions;
1. Don't bath every night (you may not be anyway)
2. 7 yr old reads 5 year old a story.
3. 5 yr old reads 1 year old a story.
If you're spending two hours, you're putting an enormous effort in, that doesn't have to happen every night.
I feel your pain. I have a 5yo, 3yo and 5 month old.
What is your current routine?
I find that not bathing them every single night helps (obviously different in summer when they have sunscreen on even then I do a quick shower after school). I also do reading earlier in the evenings.... So you could ask your childcare to do it?
Some evenings our routine is literally just PJs and teeth.
Mine then go to bed separately. 5yo goes up and has a book he "reads" to himself and 3yo has some quiet time on the sofa. Often she falls asleep and is transported up to bed after.
5yo is a good sleeper, 3yo isn't and she riles her brother up so desperation works for us. They are usually both asleep in bed by 9pm
Ha ha. My typo is actually quite apt.
Separation (not desperation) works.
Is it taking so long because they're playing up and refusing to do each required step (refusing to undress, refusing to get in the bath, refusing to get out, refusing to brush teeth and go to the toilet, refusing to and then getting back out of bed), or because your routine is very long?
I guess knowing exactly what you're doing and what they are doing would help people help you.
Sorry to 'dripfeed', it was just a quick rant, here are the details if you've got ideas to help that would be great:
the length of time is really because every stage is a fight. I left their father in march, he was verbally and emotionally abusive and manipulative to us all but especially ds1 (7).
We had to stay in other places for nearly 4 weeks. So the boys just won't be apart from me. They won't get their pjs, for example, from another room while I get the baby dressed in her room. So everything takes forever- they won't even go to the bathroom where I can see them the whole time unless I walk with them.
The same applies at bedtime itself so baby and I have to decamp to their room.
Baby goes to bed same time as them, 7.30pm. She sleeps a bit too much in the day probably but it's quite routine here for children to sleep through the hottest part of the day and therefore go to bed later.
Wow that is trickier than average if they all need to be with you all of the time.
I remember doing bedtime alone with 6,4 and 1 year olds and it was tricky and did take ages, but we didn't have the understandable separation anxiety to deal with.
I guess I'd have all their stuff in the boys' room and go in there with all of them, boys put on pjs and you sort the baby. You can bath them all together at that age if it helps - boys each end first, then you get the baby ready and put her in, wash her, supervised play for 5 mins, get her out, dress her in the bathroom with boys still in bath, then get them out, dry dress and teeth all in the bathroom all the time.
hope they relax into their new safe home soon and give you a tiny bit of breathing space.
I have two DC who had separation anxieties that mean they literally wouldn’t let me out of their sight. It’s hard to understand the frustration and exhaustion of children who really really need you next to them all the time.
What helped me was having the same routine every night as far as possible so at dinner we’d have the “books, bath time, brush teeth, bedtime” chat so they knew exactly what would happen after dinner. If I moved I’d tell them where I was going and what for “ok going to leave you in the bath and pick up the hairbrush, I can see you and you can see me” and talk to them the whole time I was moving.
I bathed them together, took the youngest out of the bath, got them into pjs and while they were brushing their teeth I’d get the older one ready. Older teeth brushed, story together in youngest bedroom and then bed.
We also have a family way of saying goodnight and they each have a cuddle toy that we have them to “look after” while they are sleeping. Basically stuff that keeps them connected to me and DH while they’re sleeping. After lights out I’d be around until they settled but no more chat.
It’s very draining but they’re much more settled now and less in need of me being glued to them. Given their trauma, it might be worth treating them as younger than their ages - so I have lower expectation my 7 year old in terms of her being able to get into pjs etc and do more care for her than you’d necessarily think.
If you can afford it you need to keep child minder on longer. You just need another pair of hands or get some one happy to stay on longer
Audiobooks have been a saviour for me getting my oldest 2 in bed at the same time. You can buy from Audible or often get for free from your local library, mine get to listen to one between 7.30 and 8 and it's turned on only once they are both in bed with lights out and I am out of the room. They take turns choosing and if they are too slow they miss out on more of the book as it's a hard stop at 8pm - they don't fully realise this, but they're usually asleep well before that anyway
Gives them an incentive to get into bed, and occupies them if your youngest is being a late night monkey....
I tend to do everything in the sitting room so I can keep an eye as my boys have sen. So their pj's stay in the sitting room and they get changed there. We then usually have story or dvd in the sitting room. Then we all go upstairs and brush teeth. Then we all pile into one bedroom, read another story and older two go to bed. Then younger one goes on his room
is it possible to get the childcarer to get them in there bedclothes ready for when you get home, then you can have a more relaxed bedtime routine? as PP said, read downstairs for quiet time before going up. I always find my two can be a pain if going from mad play to bed rather than quiet tv or reading then bed x
I used to love bedtime but at the moment they are going through a patch where they are trying every trick in the book to get out of lying still and going to sleep x
Do they share a room? If not, can they? I would suggest getting PJs and tooth brushes laid out in the bathroom in the morning before you leave the house. Then dinner - story - all 3 in the tub/shower - teeth and PJs in the bathroom - all 3 into bed in the same room - story - lights out. Use a visual guide on a magnetic board, with a magnetic counter to move between stages, and a timer to beep when it's time to move to the next stage. Or, drinking wine until they all pass out with exhaustion on the living room floor is an option too
I would probably have all them sleeping in the same room - kids bedroom. And do the routine at the same time with all of them, all through the bathroom, into pyjama, in the bedroom, read the story to all of them at the same time.
Also what are they doing the the carer? Do the boys get enough active time outside in the afternoon?
You are all going through a very difficult time, you're the only certainty in their life now. Hug them, help them, show them you're there for them. You might not save any time but at least might not be constant fight.
I have almost the same kids as you, 7 and 5 boys and a 2 yr old girl. I find I have to stick the boys in front of the telly to keep them manageable while I sort out DD, get her ready for bed and do her story. Or they kick a ball around outside. Then sort the boys, the big one reads while I read to the little one, then big one gets a story too. It works fine, but it does take a looong time from first thinking it’s bedtime to getting them there. DH comes home in the middle of it all, but not early enough to actually do anything useful...and I then make our dinner. And then I have wine.
Firstly good for you for getting away from that toxic situation, Ive been there and is hard! Second I have no real uselful advice other than organising things so they are in one place for getting ready. Maybe give the older two specific tasks to make them feel they are in charge of something.
It will get better in time I have no doubt. Its very early days and the kids need time to learn they can relax. Good luck and enjoy the large glass of wine you totally deserve !
As said by others:
1. Don't necessarily bathe the bigger ones every night
2. Delegate e.g. the baths, brushing teeth etc to the childcare so that when you get home you just read a book etc.
3. Keep the elder two amused (TV?) whilst you get the little one into bed.
In general bedtime is exhausting because you are tired and they are tired but excited to see you so its a toxic combination. But 2 hours is crazy. I only have 2 kids but can get them from bath to lights out in about 40 mins (including reading 2 books!). I would try to get the childcare person to do some bedtime preparation to reduce your scope.
I should add, we are in UK. Kids are aged 8 and 5. They have a bath every other night. Older one has a shower if they want / need something between baths. Older one brushes own teeth. They get their own PJs on (several rounds of shouting required) and then I read a book to the 5 year old whilst the 8 year old reads to themselves and then I read to the 8 year old too.. Some evenings I am too exhausted / run out of time and then I read to them the next morning and we have a cuddle on the sofa so they don't feel they have missed out.
Try to figure out what triggers their bickering? That's also a major source of stress. Have they been playing together all afternoon and now fed up of each other?
I'm guilty of leaving my older two to their own devices for too long whole sorting out the baby, it invariably ends in cross words and slammed doors.
I've realised it's better to get them sorted with teeth, pjs etc BEFORE I sort the baby out. At that point they need my attention more tha the baby.
I also find it works not to spring the change of routine as a surprise. Just a quick " tomorrow when I get home we are going to do bedtime in this order (e.g. pjs and teeth as soon as I get in).
Take it in turns to read a story to the baby then pop her in bed, then story with the older two?
Do they sleep in separate rooms?
Also might be worth having a pj station, everyone's night time things stored in one place?
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