Bedtime routine 4 and 2 year old(14 Posts)
Have you got one that works? Please outline it for me, approximate timings included please.
Mine get overexcited and go to sleep far too late so I could really do with some tips!
When DC1 and DC2 were a 2 and 3 year old (or a year later when they were 3 and 4), there's was:
Bath together 6pm
Sleepwear put on (usually both parents involved)
Story together in one bedroom
Into cots/beds for 6.30pm
When DC3 was 2, DC2 was 6 and DC1 was 7. By then routine was:
Sleep wear on
DC3 story and bed at 7pm
DC2 & 1 story and bed at 7.30pm
DC4 is currently 2. DC3 is 7. DC2 is 11 and DC1 is 12.
7pm baths with youngest two if needed/time
7.30 youngest two upstairs.
Sleepwear, story together and both into bed/cots, usually by 7.40/7.45pm
8pm oldest two shower if needed, into sleepwear if at home (often out an activity)
9pm oldest two bed, unless at an activity that finishes later.
Thanks FATE, I admire your efficiency. Do / did you do teeth before or after bath? And how long does story time take?
One of my problems is there's two of them and one of me and they keep running off / climbing all over the place / doing roly polies
Mine are 5 and 3 but the routine has been they same for a long time:
6.30 upstairs into bath together. Teeth done in the bath or after or just before
6.45 pyjamas on. They each choose a story and are read to together in one of their rooms.
7/7.15 into bed.
I tend to close the bedroom or bathroom door if getting them dressed/undressed and position myself in front of it to prevent escapees. Also having pjs and pull up ready while bath is running so once out of the bath I don't have to start hunting round for things giving them an opportunity to run riot!
Sometimes it does go a bit pearshaped though!
At the moment my 2 year old loves having her teeth brushed so "let's go and brush your teeth", is often the thing that gets her upstairs. Therefore purely by convenience teeth are the first thing done, before bath or sleepwear on.
I don't suppose when in the routine teeth are done matters, as long as its after the last drinks. Teeth might be done after bath or in the bath sometimes. Mine get sleepwear on in room and then don't leave their room, so I would always do teeth before pjs. That's just us though.
We read one book - given we have 4 children, we now have a really massive collection of books. Children choose a book (turn taking if they don't agree on a book). It's usually a board-book type length of book. So a Julia Donaldson, Hairy McClarey or that kind of book. Toddler is too young for cheaper stories yet. Story takes 5 minutes or so.
Then kisses for everyone (it sounds like The Waltons as everone us shouted for a kiss!), toddler into cot and lights out. 7 year old into bed, 30 second or so nan night snuggle and door closed.
Yes I suppose the order doesn't really matter. It's control I struggle with - we seem to have more or less the same components (bath, pjs, teeth, story, bed) but the whole thing takes about two hours.
Key time issues are:
- DC running off when I'm trying to undress them / put pjs on / brush teeth
- Endless debates over whose turn is it to go first with something, to stay in the bath the longest etc
- Stories. While it's a nice time of the day, it takes forever. They each choose their book, usually a Julia Donaldson, and then engage too much with the story (I'm that one, look that's me, which one are you?) or climb all over me while I read.
They're honestly quite well behaved children the rest of the day...
They sound pretty normal but you need to change your reaction to what they do.
- Dc running off .... close the door of the room your in/stay where you are and calmly say "oh we must hurry up or we won't have time for a story, quick let's get pjs on, who can do it first"
-Endless debates about who goes first/last... have a rota one day dc1 goes first when brushing teeth but second for getting Pjs on etc. The next day dc2 goes first and stick to it!
Stories- it's quite normal for them to interact but keep telling the it's sleepy time so no shouting etc. Could they take it in turns to choose the book, so you only read one? If they climb on you tell them you'll have to stop the story.
Talk to them iduring the day about how bed time will be from now on-a nice calm sleepy time, lots of taking turns and doing what mummy asks and how nice it will be. Then keep reminding them about what youve spoken about when they are going to bed.
I have a 3 year old and 15mo - dinner 5/5.30, aim to be going up for bath at 6.30 (later on weekend), got out pj's earlier in day so ready - echo closing doors otherwise the smallest one is all over the place! Mine have a tendency to run off too, I know what it's like! I have some milk ready for DS and take him to his cot around 7, older DD plays in her room (already in pjs) and then I come up and do her teeth, story etc and in bed sprung 7.30. Sometimes it takes longer! Agree with the whole 'hurry up or we won't have time for a story' type thing! I also have dimmers so have the lights on in their rooms/outside in the hallway on a bit lower to sort of calm the atmosphere for bed - probably does nothing but a hangover from when I fed them before bed as babies in a darkened room! I actually find it's quicker if I am doing bedtime by myself (which is most of the week as DH works late), they play up a lot more with both of us there, 'I want daddy to do it! No mummy brush my teeth!' Etc!
I can imagine 2 and 4 being difficult in terms of controlling behaviour. When I had 2/3 or 3/4 year olds (there's a 14 month age gap), bedtime needed 2 adults. Usually DH was home from work but on days I knew he'd be late, I'd try to get my mum round to help.
So I appreciate how hard it can be if doing it on your own. Is your DP around to help at all? Could you change their daytime routines so that bedtime is at a time your partner is home?
I can't bear chaos, the teacher in me needs organised structure. So I am quite strict with things like running off and not getting dressed when asked.
Stories though - much better that the time is spent animating a story than running after a naked child with a towel. There is an element of behaviour expectations though. While we might add in different voices or spot things in the pictures, this is not a procrastination tactic. The story is there to be read and you lose the actual story line and flow if you don't read at a reasonable pace. So delaying tactics reduce the enjoyment of books.
If the children like talking rather than reading, why not change to suit that? The You Choose books are not about reading, they are about encouraging discussion.
Or read factual non-fiction books instead of stories. Just open at a random page, look at pictures, read a few paragraphs and have a chat about the subject matter. My eldest sons choice of bedtime story was always this type of thing.
Mine are 4 and 2 and dh works away for months on end. The dc's routine is tea at 5pm. Upstairs at 5.45 for face and hands wash and pj's on. They race to get their pj's on first, 4 yo gets herself changed and I help 2yo. 6.15 brush teeth then they spend 5 minutes choosing 2 stories each. Then we all get in my bed together and read the books. 4yo and I take it turns to read (as she's the one who gets giddy if not involved!). Then because 4yo is a 'big girl' she gets to listen to an audio book laid in my bed while I take 2yo to bed. If 4yo is good and quiet then she gets another story when 2yo is asleep. If not, she has a cuddle then goes to bed. Both asleep in their beds by 7.15pm.
Yep it can be a pain at that age but gets easier, mine are now 3 & 5. We do bath at 5.50, teeth in bath, PJs on in bedroom and a couple of short stories probably about 15 mins in all.
What ever they are fighting about have 1 first one day and the other the next. Put a star chart on the wall if needed. Any messing around, running off and they get less story time. Same if they climb all over me or talk through it.
Oh and I have to do it on my own, dp doesn't get back in time.
Oh and setting a timer on your phone might help, so right 5 mins left until we go for a bath its time when the phone beeps, same with getting out the bath.
It might even work for putting on pjs, make it into a game so let's see if we can get our PJs on before the phone beeps sort of thing
Some good tips here, thank you. I like the phone timer approach, closing doors and strict taking turns. I don't particularly like taking story time away as I feel they should have that no matter what, but will consider as a last resort.
DH is usually home just in time for stories, but that prolongs the bedtime routine as he hasn't seen DC all day so there's lots a if excitement and playing.
I will try a new, stricter approach tonight and see how it goes. DC are fast asleep every morning when it is school / nursery time so they clearly need more sleep!
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