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Routines with more than 1 kid - how strict are you?

(32 Posts)
LuckySalem Fri 16-Jul-10 21:10:54

Hi All,

Ok so I'm interested in whether you have a routine, what your routine is, at what age you started a routine and how strict are you to that routine?

Sorry for so many questions but i'm starting to introduce a routine to DD1 who is now 2 and 1/2 and I'm sure I should have done it earlier and I'm wondering whether I should start with DD2 who is now around 16 weeks old.
Also whether I should be putting DD2 to bed before DD1 or whether they should go to bed at the same time?
Also how strict? Ie: if your going out with the kids do you ensure your home in time to do the routine or not?

Sorry again and thanks to anyone who answers.

thisisyesterday Fri 16-Jul-10 21:12:21

i dopn't have a routine and never have. kids are 5, 2.5 and 1

i find it easier without because i am not an organised person and hate having to be in a certain place at a certain time.
we just go with the flow!

LuckySalem Fri 16-Jul-10 21:13:20

Thanks very much for this,

Do you have trouble getting the kids to bed?

onepieceoflollipop Fri 16-Jul-10 21:17:44

We had a routine with dd1 (now almost 7) from around the age of 3 months. We were very lucky because she seemed to enjoy routine/continuity. We did relax things a bit when on holiday etc but on the whole she went to bed around 7. We didn't wake her in the mornings (she usually woke independently, any time between 6am and 8am - still does!) Now she is a bit older she seems to adapt well to school holidays or special evenings etc.

With dd2 we had a massively different experience. She has always needed far less sleep than her big sister. hmm If we put her down at 7.30 she takes ages to go to sleep (unless she hasn't had a nap, in which case she drops off and then wakes us around 6am). She is almost 3 and kind of wants a daytime sleep but if she has it then won't settle until very late at night.

So with dd2 we go with the flow much more. In fact we have relaxed more as parents I think as we have got older. I am stricter in term time now, in holidays I kind of think that I want to relax/have a social life too. so if we are with friends for example having a pub meal or whatever and I realise it is 8pm, we don't panic about getting them back home. If for some reason they were tired and grizzly we would, but if they were enjoying it then we would stay out.

llareggub Fri 16-Jul-10 21:18:17

When I'm on my own without DH, I am fairly strict. The trouble is, as the DCs get older and depending on the time of year, their bedtimes vary so what worked 6 months ago no longer works.

With 2 my best strategy is to exercise them madly during the day so they are too exhausted to argue.

onepieceoflollipop Fri 16-Jul-10 21:19:20

p.s. re getting the kids to bed you would be best speaking to dh. wink

Partly because I work late shifts sometimes so I am not here. On the other nights I go down to --pour a glass of wine-- start cooking a delicious meal for dh and me!

tummytickler Fri 16-Jul-10 21:19:37

I do not have a routine - I could not stand the pressure - I go with the flow, adn just try to make sure that everyone has a bath at some point over the course of a couple of days!
A routine would stress me out and to be honest, some days I am so tired, that the thought of having to do an elaborate bedtime routine would kill me off!

onepieceoflollipop Fri 16-Jul-10 21:21:18

Yes that is a Very Good Tip re the exercising llareggub. In fact tomorrow I am borrowing my 7 year old nephew as with extra company and literally a good run round the park my two are likely to be zonked by 730pm.

We take our children out even in fairly heavy rain (wellies and raincoats are great) as after a day in the house they would really find it hard to get to sleep at night.

LuckySalem Fri 16-Jul-10 21:22:38

We have a routine of getting up between 7-8 with DD1 (whatever time she wakes up) then bedtime starts at 6pm with dinner, bath at 7 and bed at 7.30 (after simpsons) however if DP is off then its relaxed slightly and if we're out then we dont hurry back but I know a friend who will not arrange anything except around her kids. Ie: he naps at 1pm so wont do anthing between 1-3 and then starts bedtime at 4 so you can't do anything with her after 1pm.

I was worried I was too relaxed.

onepieceoflollipop Fri 16-Jul-10 21:22:50

tummytickler I think that is where we are all different.

some of us (and/or our children) do not "take" to routine at all. Others find it stressful to not have some sort of routine.

Personally I feel more relaxed if the routine is not too rigid, but this has changed as we have got older and more confident as parents. Also I admit that I enjoy being flexible a bit more now.

MrsWobbleTheWaitress Fri 16-Jul-10 21:24:20

I do what works for us at the time, and that changes all the time.

Basically what tummytickler said!

onepieceoflollipop Fri 16-Jul-10 21:25:05

LuckySalem I used to be a bit like your friend. For some people if is a confidence thing (well it was in my case) trying to "take control" of everything. I found that sometimes I was lonely in the afternoons with my more rigid routine when I had dd1. In some ways it made me anxious.

As in most things, balance is the key and it sounds as if you have that.

There is a middle ground between set nap times and bed at 6.30, or the complete opposite of kids up for the entire evening every night.

LuckySalem Fri 16-Jul-10 21:27:04

See thats the thing. When DD1 didnt have a routine (which by the way has only been going for about 3 weeks now) she was up till 9/10 at night and that meant I didn't get my 2 hrs peace before bed which I know sounds nasty and selfish but I needed it. lol

preghead Fri 16-Jul-10 21:27:34

pretty flexible with us - our days are never the same and the 2 children (5 and 2) need different amounts of sleep. Basically I aim for bath at 6.30 bed around 7-7.30 and 3 meals somewhere in there. Definitley got a lot less strict when ds2 came along. As long as bedtimes are there, imo, and 3 meals a day, my work here is done grin

preghead Fri 16-Jul-10 21:32:23

Oh and I forgot a nap after lunch for the 2y old who still needs it - sometimes snatched in the car on way to school pickup (his brother had already given up his nap by this stage) - I second the need for evening time too - I can cope with any amount of chaos and stress during the day (just) as long as I know I will have a couple of hours to unwind in the evening undisturbed. I don't think that is selfish - it's essential for sanity if you plan on having more than one child!

I also find this "flexible rough routine" way of doing things less anxiety-inducing than when I had ds1 and was petrifies and thought everything had to happen at set times! It is easier to do the second time though becasue you know by then that the world won't end if they miss a nap or have a late night now and then.

onepieceoflollipop Fri 16-Jul-10 21:33:07

tbh on the nights they are up quite late, it is usually because we are all out socialising, either at a friend's home or at the pub etc. (I am making this sound like we are at the pub constantly, which is far from the truth. wink)

On the other nights, like you, by 7-8pm I am ready for bit of a break, probably dinner with dh, get a few jobs done without "help" etc etc.

Sidge Fri 16-Jul-10 21:33:49

I have a routine.

It's not carved in stone but it tends to be predictable - I have 3 children 11, 6 and 3 who are all at school/nursery in different places, a part time job, a husband away for months on end and no family to help.

Without a routine I think we would fall apart; the girls seem to like knowing what happens when and I need that routine to have structure to our day. It's important to me to have the younger ones bathed and in bed by a reasonable time, as I need some time for myself. They are exhausted by bathtime anyway! DD2 also has SN including OCD (which I have to some degree too) so it works for us to be quite structured. She has to eat regularly too so mealtimes need to be fairly scheduled.

I think that the routine itself doesn't matter - it's what works for you as a family. For example if out we don't dash home for 1900 to do bathtime but then I know that my kids are shattered by then (no daytime naps) so we won't stay out late as they are hideous. I bath the younger two together as it's easier that way doing it alone, and put them to bed at the same time.

So I say do what works for you; I couldn't stand to be routine-less - the lack of structure would drive me bonkers (as would having my children pottering around me all evening!) so it suits my personality but I would never tell a mother that she ought to do things my way.

onepieceoflollipop Fri 16-Jul-10 21:34:06

preghead your experience/way of doing things sounds very similar to ours.

4andnotout Fri 16-Jul-10 21:34:31

My only routines are get up at 7 on weekdays and leave to walk to school by 8.30 and all 4 dd's to be in bed by 8pm on school nights but the actual putting to bed is dp's job. Naps are taken when and where they drop.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Fri 16-Jul-10 21:36:55

I am physically incapable of maintaining a routine even though I love to think about them and even write them down sometimes but never stick to them so I've just about accepted that it is beyond me. I currently have 1 DS and 1 Dc on the way and TBH we just go with the flow- we get up between 6.30am and 8am, have breakfast before 9am, lunch anytime from 11.30am, nap after that, out in the afternoon but not always, dinner from 4.30pm until 6pm.

Baths happen once or twice during the week and once on the weekend for DS, I have a shower every other day (or two), cleaning gets done as and when desperate. Ds foes to bed before 7.30pm, sometimes falling asleep downstairs on my lap, sometimes falling asleep cuddled up to me in bed.

Personally, I think people who adhere to a strict routine have issues with control and feelings of insecurity about life and not trusting things to work out if they weren't micro-managing everything. so I try and just go with the flow and accept that the world will keep revolving and everything will be fine if I don't plan exactly the same thing as I did last week.

undercovamutha Fri 16-Jul-10 21:44:27

I am a serious routine obsessed control freak!!!! wink I was a bit this way before having DD, but I've got worse as DD has always loved a routine. If she doesn't get 12 hours sleep a night, she's a disaster zone the next. DS is a bit more flexible (2nd one has to be i think!).

Also I work p/t and have to get up early to get DCs to nursery and school. The nursery are fairly routiney as well (altho not with the really LO's). Its like military manouveres in our house at 7am!

Went on holiday recently, and DCs went to be after 9pm every night. I felt like a real dare-devil grin!

preghead Fri 16-Jul-10 21:47:19

OP I forgot to say that I think when my 2 were your two's ages we would put the baby down about half an hour before the older one (once he had grasped the idea of bedtime - first few weeks he would be up til we went to bed!) - mainly practicalities as we would bath them together then I would feed the baby who would fall asleep and DP would finish off the older ones bath, story etc. Now they go at the same time, tho we are starting to let the older one come back downstairs for half an hour or so sometimes for a treat as he is getting a bit older. I think you have to be flexible on this and adjust as they get to different ages/stages.

We normally aim for getting back roughly for bedtime, esp during the week, but I would never let the routine get in the way of a good night out! Holidays, special occasions etc it all goes out the window! We were on holiday last week and they were both up until midnight one night! - but they were back in bed for 7.30 ish tonight. I think they can cope with a bit of flexibility as well.

strandedatsea Fri 16-Jul-10 21:56:49

I think the word "routine" can conjur images of timing everything down to the last minute, making sure the same things happen at exactly the same time every day.

In fact, I suspect most people have a routine, even those who claim they don't. It's just that some people's are more flexible/loose than others.

I follow the rough same plan every day - eg up whenever we are woken by the dd's (usually around 5.30am), breakfast around 6.30am, we all have to be showered, changed and out the house by 7.30am, with dh following close behind; I pick them up at 1pm, come home, do whatever the day or weather dictates in the afternoon, supper around the same time, bath, tv, books, bed.

As your two are similar in age to mine, I will say that to start the baby on a similar routine to the older child (which of course will take a long time to implement well, the baby might go down at the same time as dc1 initally, but will be up again several times...) as when they get to the age mine are (2 and 4) it's a helluva lot easier if they do the same thing at the same time.

And I'm with everyone who needs a bit of "me/adult" time in the evening so pack mine off to bed by 7.30pm latest unless we're out etc.

LuckySalem Fri 16-Jul-10 21:57:25

Thank you for these everyone.

So those who do routines what age should htey start? I was thinking that when she moves into her own room at say 6 months then DD2 should start to get a routine but no later than the time she's 1.

jetgirl Fri 16-Jul-10 22:01:07

I have different routines depending on the day! Tuesday, Thursday and Friday when I work I am up at 6 and take ds to nursery on my way to work, dh does the school run with dd. On Monday and Wednesday I make sure we leave for school at 8:30. Ds naps if he's tired and always has a nap at nursery. Bedtime starts t 7pm for both kids meaning I get time to myself in the evenings. At weekends we go with the flow and bedtime might be a bit later for the kids.
It's flexible enough for the kids not to be thrown by the odd night out but rigid enough for them to know what to expect each day. It works for us and that's wht's important - do whatever suits your family set-up smile

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