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Help me sort out our bedtimes (almost 2 & almost 5 yr olds)

(13 Posts)
ilovetosleep Tue 29-Mar-16 13:22:15

I am planning to put my two boys in together over the next couple of weeks as we really need to free up the spare room, and the plan was always that they were going to share.

THey both have really nice solid bedtime routines and are good (enough!) at going to bed, the problem is at the moment it requires both me and DH to be there and he's going to be travelling a lot for work over the next few months. ATM they both have lights out at 7.30 (was more like 6.45 before clocks changed but either way they go to bed at the same time). THey share a bath and then go into their own rooms for stories and lights out. DS2 is only recently reliably settling himself at bedtime, its a military regime and each step has to be the same every night or he flips and needs one of us to sit with him at bedtime til he falls asleep. He's been a rubbish sleeper most of his little life.

Obviously it sounds easy, like I'll just read to them together and put them to bed. Problem is that they have such different books at the moment. DS2 can't sit through 2 mins of DS1s wordy chapter books or longer picture books but also can't be trusted not to run wild around the bedroom pulling toys out while I'm trying to read calmly to DS1. If I read his stories first, I'll put him to bed and he'll not be able to lie still while DS1 has his stories. I don't want DS1 to miss out on his reading time with me as we don't do nearly as much of it together since he started school

Anyone with similar situation, what do you do?

Thanks in advance

ApocalypseNowt Tue 29-Mar-16 13:27:39

No advice about the bedtime stories but i think dc sharing can actually help.

My two DD's share (4 & 2) and once they're in bed they often don't sleep straight away but chat and sing together instead. I'm pretty sure if DD2 was in a room by herself she'd cry once we left the room and need us to keep coming back in. I think little ones actually like not being alone at night.

Just wanted to point out them sharing might actually help!

With stores i try to pitch them so they both enjoy it but i sometimes read DD1 a more 'advanced' story and DD2 potters about playing with long as it's not a noisy toy i don't see the problem!

Out of interest why does it need you both to do bedtime? Do you do bath every night?

mouldycheesefan Tue 29-Mar-16 13:27:51

It doesn't sound like the right time to move them into one room, sorry. Need to get to grips with single handed bedtimes without additional complications. Is the spare room desperately needed?
Re the books, let older one read to himself whilst you read to younger one, or he can listen, get younger one to bed then read to older one. Keep it brief, perhaps read stories at other times of the day to compensate.
Or let the younger one watch ten mins of to earlier in the evening and read to older one then.
Don't need to do baths every night, we do twice a week
Try to move away from the military precision bedtimes, a bit of flexibility makes things so much easier

jsf123 Tue 29-Mar-16 13:32:00

What about getting the 5 year old to read the book? Then you're all involved together. Something like Green Eggs and Ham where there are two clear parts and it's easily learnt, fun and not as complicated as it first seems. My two still know all the words and they're now teenagers. smile

ilovetosleep Tue 29-Mar-16 14:46:46

Thanks for the replies so far.

In answer to some Qs, yes the spare room is desperately needed - while DH is off on some long business trips late in the year my mum will be staying with us quite a lot.

We both do bedtime so that they can both get down at the same time. DS1 is shattered from reception so can't stay up any later than DS2. And it allows them both to have a nice two or three stories each. We can and do sometimes do bedtimes alone if one is out, but I find it stressful and one is often down later than usual - usually DS2 as he's so easily disrupted at bedtime. As I said, smooth running bedtimes are a recent thing with him!

Getting DS1 to read is a nice idea, but by the time he's read his school reading book (also around bath/bed time) he's too tired and resistant to read any more! Although I can see that changing quickly as his reading improves day by day.

We do bath every night simply because we always have. I usually get in with them to save me having to get up earlier for a shower! They LOVE bath times. Plus its a good way to get them upstairs and that signals the start of bedtime - no one goes back down after bath. Again if we're late back or out for dinner they do go to bed without a bath, but thats just once a week or so.

I think I'm just going to have to experiment with letting DS2 potter while DS1 gets his story, then he can read to himself while DS2 gets his Gruffalo or whatever it is he's into. He's going through that really annoying repetitive story phase where he wants the same thing every night for a week!

ApocalypseNowt Tue 29-Mar-16 16:48:28

Ok - to make it easier for you you could start cutting bathtimes down. I know they're nice to do but they're not needed every night. Instead you could take dc and pj's into the bathroom and just do a quick wash at the sink and get them changed in there instead. Could still help 'signal' bedtime but not as much faff?

mouldycheesefan Tue 29-Mar-16 20:09:39

The bath times are nice, the three stories each are nice, but if you are single handed at bedtime either start bedtime really really early to accommodate all this or cut out some niceties so it doesn't take a really long time. I personally find at that time of day I really can't be doing with hour long bedtime rituals, I am tired, so are they and my patience is thin. I am sure if dh was here I may feel different but he isn't home by bath or bed time so it's me and so it's quick. We do lots of stories but not at bedtime!

Princesspeach1980 Tue 29-Mar-16 20:12:45

Could you read the chapter book with your older dc in the living room before bedtime starts, and let younger one play, then read them a picture book together in bed?

BusyCee Tue 29-Mar-16 20:20:35

We went through this earlier this year. Dc3 made an appearance and we needed a room for her, so the boys (5 & 2) needed to bunk up together. It didn't go well I'm afraid...ds2 is a right monkey and can't be trusted to settle himself when ds1 is there. He climbs into ds1s bunk and creates havoc. The routine at the moment is that ds1 goes and sits in our bed with a book while I put ds2 in his bed. Once he's had a story I go and read to ds1, then he falls asleep in our bed. Later on in the evening we transfer ds1 to his top bunk. Not ideal but working for the time being until ds2 stops being such an arsehole 2.5yrs old.

Good luck! You'll find a way that suits you all, even if it isn't perfect.

ilovetosleep Tue 29-Mar-16 20:58:27

I knew you'd all make it sound so simple, but in my world I just know it's going to end up like yours, BusyCee. I just know DS2 is going to be a right pain, and although he's still in his cot I give it about 3 nights before he's learned to climb out and disrupt everything for DS1.

The story thing is just really bugging me. DS2 seems to only want his rhyming books at bedtime, there's no way he'll sit through an Alfie or whatever. And stories downstairs never works either as DS2 either flings himself over us, tries to muscle in with his books, decides now is not a good time to play. He's a really high needs kind of kid.

I am beginning to think I'm going to have to stagger their bedtimes somehow.

Oh and bath time - its for my own sanity not for them! If they have a long bath then there's no more tv requests downstairs, no more begging me to play with them, no more excitement of toys. They are contained for 30 mins and I get to sit down!

cleanandclothed Tue 29-Mar-16 21:03:05

Audio books? Read to DS1, then if he is good he can have 20 minutes listening to an audio book while you see to DS2?

ilovetosleep Tue 29-Mar-16 21:19:51

Great idea! Audio books after lights out if they behave at bedtime...

BusyCee Tue 29-Mar-16 22:29:27

Actually audio books really do the job for ds1 too. As long as he's feeling entertained I have my hands free to sort ds2. To be honest, although it's not ideal it's fine. Now I'm past worrying about it, the boys have adapted well. Ds1 sometimes even takes himself to bed once he's checked ds2 is asleep. And it's not forever. We've been doing this since about July last year, but now ds2 is showing signs of civilization we may be nearing the point when thy actually can properly share...!

Good luck to you

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