Updated: Jan 29
Navigating bedtime with a toddler & a baby is not for the faint of heart but there are tricks to help make it easier!
You've welcomed your second baby, and while you know what to expect in the newborn stage this time around, you're in uncharted waters with how to handle bedtime now that you have a toddler and a newborn to care for. Here are 3 practical ways to make the bedtime routine run smoother when you're juggling a toddler and a baby.
𝟏. 𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐞. 𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐞. 𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐞.
Nothing works better than having a consistent routine. Having a predictable schedule, for both your toddler and newborn, will help decrease unexpected bumps in the road so bedtime goes smoothly. Kids thrive on routine, as it gives them a way to predict the events of the day. Big changes, such as welcoming a new baby, can throw off a routine quickly, but remembering to communicate with your little one, even your young toddlers, can help them adjust back to the normal routine quicker. Allowing extra time and support to complete tasks during the day, i.e. helping them clean up before nap or reading an extra book, will also help your child acclimate to the new changes in the household.
Baby wearing both during the day and evenings is a great way to give your toddler some extra attention and still bond with your new baby. It is also extremely helpful during the bedtime routine, as it allows you to help your toddler and get in that last nap of the day for your new baby. *Remember to avoid anything extra at bedtime as this may create bad nighttime habits.⠀⠀
If your toddler is struggling with their bedtime routine even before your newborn arrives, let's talk, as it is never too late to lay sleep foundations so everyone can achieve healthy, sound sleep in your household.
𝟐. 𝐓𝐨𝐝𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩.
Give your toddler a job to do that will help make it easier on you to manage a toddler and baby. In our house I always had my toddler on diaper duty. You will be amazed at how such a little task, such as throwing a diaper away, can make your toddler feel so accomplished, instantly making the bedtime routine go a little bit smoother.
Toddlers are tiny little people with big emotions and big expectations for themselves. They are beginning to learn autonomy and when we shut that down = enter tantrum. Bedtime is where we commonly see tantrums because it's a transition that toddlers don't like to make. So how do we fix this? Get them involved in the bedtime routine!
Yes, it may take a few minutes longer but if your bedtime routine is 𝐒𝐈𝐌𝐏𝐋𝐄 than it won't take that much longer to accomplish and you will experience less push-back overall!
👀 Here's an example of our bedtime routine in our household:
✅ Independently or assist changing into PJs
(You can begin teaching this skill as early as 18 mo old!)
✅ Pick out 1-2 books and read together
✅ Brush teeth
✅ Songs, Prayers, & Goodnight all while in bed in a dark room 😴
Now is also a great time for your toddler to practice everyday tasks to become a more independent. Let them try to put on their PJs, brush their teeth, etc. so you're not needed 100% of the time for both little ones.
𝟑. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬.
Tired Mama and Daddy, this too shall pass. I would say that first 6 months of having a toddler and newborn are the hardest but around 4-6 months a routine truly starts to appear and things slowly begin to fall into place; however accepting sleep deprivation as the new "normal" is not a badge of honor you should wear. Helping your little one learn the art of sleep can begin from day 1 through proper sleep education. Will your newborn sleep like your 12 month old, well no and they should not, but you can lay the important sleep foundations and start getting the right building blocks of sleep into place early so your entire household can have healthy, age appropriate stretches of overnight sleep!
Serenity Sleepers is committed to helping families develop peaceful sleepers using only the safest, healthiest and most gentle approaches that are based on the proper sleep science. My methods are unique and individualized taking a variety of approaches to help that individual child or family, there is no one size fits all or cookie cutter approach to my methods.