How do you manage a good routine for two kids under 2?(10 Posts)
Hi there! I have a 20 month old and a 3 week old baby and I somehow can't find the time to fit in a lot of stuff and get the kids settled by 7:30pm. It always ends up being 9pm and then they don't sleep until 10/11pm! Just wanted to know what type of routines everyone has with their kids, timings etc and how much play time gets fitted in. TIA x
What things are you trying to fit in? Your youngest is tiny - my advice would be to keep your expectations achievable (low!) and build up to a productive day when you've all settled into a routine of sorts.
My first two were a similar age apart & I found it was imperative to get prepared for the day the evening before. I even made a picnic for lunch - plus activities for eldest whilst I was feeding baby etc. Lots of national trust days out as youngest slept in buggy whilst eldest played and everyone got fresh air. Cleaned at w/ends when dh around (have newborn dc3 now and have a cleaner thanks to working last year). Online banking and correspondence on my phone when feeding. Batch cooking.
Our routine of sorts was get toddler up whilst baby slept, feed when eldest having b/fast, buggy walk (youngest sleep, eldest played at park/collected stuff for collage making), home and feed (eldest activity - playdough or similar), play mat in travel cot to protect youngest whilst I made lunch, lunch, both nap - hooray I got stuff done - then similar afternoon but with tv for toddler at 4 to allow dinner making whilst youngest had last nap. Dh home at 6 to help with bath time and bed for 7pm.
It'll become clear soon enough but don't pile on pressure to achieve more than basic survival for first month or so!
We get out in the morning to a play group or play date, or playground if possible. DS would sleep wherever at 3 months. At that age though, it's useful to have other people around when you're feeding the youngest. He's now 1 yr old, DS1 is 2.5yrs and we still do similar. DS2 had basically been pushed down to one nap really quickly so he has been squashed into our routine.
He has a big lunchtime nap where I play with DS1 things we can't do when DS2 is around, like puzzles, train sets and board games. I also prepare dinner (sometimes DS 'helps' sometimes plays on his own) and do any other house chores in the lunchtime nap. He often naps 12-3pm so when he wakes we'll go out for a walk or visit someone for an hour, then home at 4pm to throw dinner in the oven. I've made sure that dinners at the moment can be prepared ahead, with little input when they are both awake. Fish Pie, Lasagne etc. 4-5 is the worst hour..... cooking while trying to supervise two hungry / grumpy kids.
After dinner, they play in the lounge while I tidy dinner stuff away (5 mins). DS1 normally gets telly from 6-7pm while I 'manage' the little one. Every other night we do a bath after dinner so telly would start later. DH gets home at 6.30, by which time kids are in PJ's with milk in front of the telly. (It's never as serene as that sentence makes it sound!!) then we do one kids bedtime each after In the Night Garden. Both in bed 7-7.15pm.
At that age bed was 9-11pm. That way we could have dinner together 7-8pm and they slept most the night that we did with later waking. Can nap in the day more
I had 2 under 2 and found the first 4 months tough but once dd started taking regular naps it became more manageable. I started small and built on it and soon I had a really good routine going. Mine was something like this-
Up in the morning, everyone dressed before going downstairs. Then we'd have breakfast and go out straight away for a walk (this was invaluable for my own mental health and for tiring out ds ) Once we were back home I'd get whatever housework needed to be done out of the way. Then I'd give the kids lunch and put them down for their snooze while I had some much needed quiet time After snooze I'd spend the afternoon playing with the kids and then start dinner prep when dh arrived home.
I found that getting any jobs or outings done before lunch/snooze freed up the afternoon so that I could spend time with the kids without being stressed or trying to get anywhere. It took a while to get the routine going but it was really worth it in the end. I used a planner in the beginning to write it down but after a while it became second nature.
2 years later, I still stick to it and I'm hoping when Dc3 arrives in march I'll be able to keep it going. Good luck OP
Also, a slow cooker is great for batch cooking or for prepping stuff in the morning when you have 10 minutes and sticking on low for the day
Concentrate on the older ones bedtime routine, keeping it as normal as possible - and carry the baby around with you (from basket downstairs to basket upstairs or you could try a sling) so you can feed them if you have to but otherwise try and concentrate on the toddler.
It will get better I promise, you don't mention a partner? If you have a DP then definitely both get involved, deal with one child each or DP could sort out dinner tidying up when he gets in etc.
As someone else said, stick with the toddler's routine and just let the baby fit in. And don't try to accomplish too much.
Mine are 17months apart, and are now just turned 3 years and 20mths, but our routine has always pretty much been:
7am-ish (often earlier): Up, milk, then breakfast
9/9.30 ish: Leave house for some kind of activity - library, walk, shops, playgroup, whatever.
11.30/noon: Home for lunch, then toddler nap
Afternoon: Around the house
5pm: Dinner (cooked with at least one child hanging from my leg screaming that they're about to die of starvation)
6.30pm: Bath and in bed for 7pm.
Getting out every morning was a big sanity saver for me - toddler was knackered out, fresh air & a change of scenery did everyone good and when she was a baby, child 2 just slept in the pram.
Getting the toddler sleeping reliably at lunchtime was key for me too - if they were sorted for a couple of hours I could give the baby some proper attention/have a little nap/make a start on dinner/etc. Even now, the rule is 'everyone has an hour in their bedroom at lunchtime, quietly playing with toys if they don't sleep'.
My husband was home in time for bathtime 3 out of 5 nights, and brilliant at it, which was a huge help.
Getting the toddler into bed at a sensible time was important for me (not that I had children who were great sleepers). Even though I had a baby cluster feeding, I still had something resembling 'an evening' (ie watching TV and nodding off).
Housework etc all just fitted in when it could. I don't really think you can have a routine as such with a baby, but it definitely works with a toddler and the baby eventually falls into over time.
I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old. I still stick to the routine I had before the baby was born. This is our holiday routine when DS1 isn't at nursery in the morning.
Awake at 7am, up at 7.30am.
Breakfast at 8 am
Out of the house at 9.30am - we go to the park, grocery shopping, for a walk.
Home at 11.30, lunch at 12 at the latest, toddler in bed by 1pm. He naps for a good two hours normally.
We go for another walk from 3.30 to 5 pm.
Bath at 6. 30, tea at 7.30, bed for toddler at 8.15 pm.
I do housework and cooking between 5 and 6pm. My standards aren't very high regarding cleaning and I don't cook any elaborate meals, though I always cook from scratch.
I do find it hard fitting things in, especially things like showering and doing my hair are always very rushed. The baby just slots in, naps are a real mess though. I don't know how anyone gets a baby into a decent nap routine with a toddler around!
Thanks for the replies they all sound helpful so il try them out. My problem is I keep getting up late as in 10am and end up having a late breakfast. I admire you all as you all seem to be able to pack in so many things in your day where as I struggle to 🙈
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