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Bedtime


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#1 Grrrumbles

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:06 PM

Feeling like a complete failure. There is endless advice about bedtime for babies and toddlers but nothing for older children.

I have two children a full four years apart in age. The youngest doesn’t read yet so after you put her to bed she plays with her toys. Oldest I like to get to bed no later than 8.30 as he reads in bed but doesn’t read during the day.

No matter how long I keep the oldest one up, the youngest is often still awake and bed time turns into a brawl. They also fight over sleeping in DH’s bed. Allocated nights don’t work at all because sometimes youngest creeps in the middle of the night and then oldest gets mad.

The evening is unpleasant for everyone, I miss out having one one time with each child and then don’t get any time to do jobs or unwind before my bed time.

It was happening during term and is no less painful in holidays.

#2 Riotproof

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:14 PM

Are they in the same room?

Sounds so difficult.

#3 PooksLikeChristmas

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:17 PM

What have you tried to help youngest get to sleep?

#4 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:24 PM

Put them to bed at the same time? My two are younger but 3.5 years apart, on holiday recently when sharing a room I put them to bed at the same time, and read a book appropriate to the older one until the younger one fell asleep. I was pleasantly surprised.

#5 Grrrumbles

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:26 PM

Not in same room. Youngest is an energiser bunny type, we just can’t seem to find the right bedtime for her. She is 5.

It just isn’t feasible for them to have the same bedtime so ideally we would like to keep their bedtimes separate.

We have tried one adult doing each child’s bedtime but they fight when they are brushing their teeth or one goes to the toilet and then detours past the other’s room. They then decide they are going to sleep in the same bed - which has never worked. Holidays where they are in the same room are a nightmare.



#6 purpleblaze

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:28 PM

Another for putting them to bed at the same time. My 3, 5 and 6 yr old all go to bed at 7.30. Reading a book to them can be difficult as 3 yr old needs 1on 1 for books - but if hubby gets home in time one of us is with the 3 yr old, the other with the older 2. Been doing this for over a year, works a treat!

#7 Grrrumbles

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:36 PM

Oldest is 9 so 7.30 is too early for him but we would like him asleep by 9. His bed time is 8 on school nights and 8.30 on weekends/holidays. My sanity cannot survive them both being up til 8.30 and she is really hard to settle that late anyway.

#8 PooksLikeChristmas

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:38 PM

My kids are 3 1/2 years apart, they’re both terrible sleepers and generally hyperactive.

Bedtime is a lengthy process, I put the youngest one down first then the oldest.

Things that help us:

Routine chart, always following the same steps to bed
Timer showing countdown to bedtime
Goodnight song and hug as a family
Oldest may read or quietly watch videos on his iPad on my bed while I put youngest to her bed
I take youngest to toilet and give her a drink bottle for beside her bed
Cuddle and song
I lie next to her bed and play a sleep story
Once she’s asleep I follow the same process for DS (who also takes melatonin for his sleep disorder)
He is given 2 minutes to talk to me once he’s in bed, and then I turn my back. If he keeps talking I leave.
No toys, no playing, no reading. Once they are in bed there is nothing to do except settle.

#9 Prancer is coming

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:44 PM

I try to get my 13yo to bed at a similar time to her siblings.  She will often read or do stuff for an hour or two, but often for my sanity I need her in bed!  

When I am organised, I make sure teeth and bedroom jobs are done before bed, drink bottles in bedrooms so there is no disturbing anyone else or no last minute reasons to get out of bed.  When I really need them asleep and they disturb each other, I will often sit in the hall between their rooms to monitor. If one is being disruptive, I have taken them outside and made them wait with me until they have got all their noise out.

i find breaking the routine helps, as sounds like you are in a routine, even though it is one you don’t want.  One kid listens to an audio book whilst going to sleep, another story time on abc kids.  This helps block out noise and keeps them somewhat interested and still.

#10 Zeppelina

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:45 PM

What works for our two who are 4.5 (DD) and 8.5 (DS) and share a room (bunks) is this:

Both in bed by 8pm, or thereabouts. They are then allowed to 'read' quietly until 8.15pm with their lamps on but big light off. DD looks through her books, and DS reads whatever chapter book he's on. DS is actually allowed to  read until 8.30pm if he's feeling like it, but DD must turn her lamp off (or have it turned off) at 8.15pm. She usually falls asleep pretty quickly, DS sometimes isn't sleepy until more like 9pm, but they both prefer to go to bed at the same time rather than separate times, so while it works we are going with it.

#11 lozoodle

Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:45 PM

How old are they? Do they share a room? Honestly I gave up on trying to stagger it and the 11, 9 and 6 year old all go at the same time. they also don't have a set bedtime anymore, sometimes its later (like tonight, they've just gone), sometimes its early all round due to tiredness.

Gosh it saves my sanity, no more fighting bedtime bullsh*t, no more "oh its X'oclock lets go to bed", we just roll with it now. less fighting, they're happier to go to bed. Some people say to me oh how can you stand not having down time, but really, they're up til like 9 usually at the most, and I'd rather have them up and chilled out than fighting bedtime battles for an hour or two of that time.

Hope it improves. Just a suggestion as I personally found it so much easier when I stopped trying to fight it (my partner works long hours so I am on my own for bedtime). And yes, some days they are bloody exhausted, but thats just when we pull an early night the next day.

#12 Lou-bags

Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:18 PM

What time are you trying to get the 5yo to sleep?

We have a 3 and 6yo who we put to bed together (two singles pushed together). I (or DH) lay in between them and either tell them stories or play audiobooks.

Staggered bedtimes stopped working when the little one was about 18mo and taking AGES to fall asleep each night. The older one would ge so tired and unhappy waiting for me.

Can I ask why the same bedtime wouldn’t be feasible?

#13 Grrrumbles

Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:21 PM

Next year DD is first year of school and DS is Year 4. He won’t stand for his bed time being brought forward so while I am happy that his bed time won’t need to go later in the year I don’t think she will be able to cope going that late. Already she is difficult to get out of bed some school mornings but he usually isn’t. I think she needs more sleep than him.

#14 Fluffy Potatoes

Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:42 PM

Bedtime is hard with kids of different ages. I found Ds1 impossible to keep in bed at that age. Could you sit in there and read on your phone until she goes to sleep? I found that quicker and less stressful than the endless putting back to bed.

We have 6yrs between our kids (1 & 7) and the both go to bed at the same time. Ds1 is allowed to read or play quietly  for a bit so I set the oven timer for 20mins (I’m quite often still in with ds2 & DH goes away a lot) and he is responsible for turning out his light and go to sleep. If he doesn’t he loses the privilege for the next night. More often than not he’s settled nicely when I check on him.

#15 BitsandBobs

Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:58 PM

Mine are 3 years apart, but have the same bedtime (8pm ish).  Older one is allowed to read for longer, but often falls asleep earlier. Same bedtime makes life easier! My eldest is in Year 5 next year, and 8pm bed works. He is sometimes awake till 9pm, but not often. I figure that an average of between 9-10 hours each night for them is ok, and they seem to work well with that.

#16 Lou-bags

Posted 22 December 2019 - 10:06 PM

Could you give us a run down of how bedtime is currently structured and then we could give suggestions?

(Acknowledging here that I’m not really in a position to give advice with any authority given mine sleep together, with me laying with them to go to sleep, and both still regularly wake in the night and need me...).

#17 EPZ

Posted 22 December 2019 - 10:16 PM

I have an energizer too... still is!

Story cd’s were our only way.  In prep,  she was then allowed to read for over an hour, needless to say one positive of lots more reading happily done!


#18 ekbaby

Posted 22 December 2019 - 10:48 PM

I have a 5yo, 8yo and 11yo
They all start “getting ready for bed” at the same time I.e. bath (youngest to oldest, some may bathe together) or top n tail, pjs, medications, teeth etc. Youngest gets read a story in her room while older kids read to themselves in their rooms. Lights out for 5yo then An adult lies with 5yo until she falls asleep - either in the bed or sitting on the floor in her room while she goes to sleep. The other kids started going to sleep without an adult in the room around age 4 but we haven’t pushed for that yet with DD (who has only just turned 5) though are slowly starting the transition I guess with the sitting in the room but not in the bed thing.
Anyway...
If only 1 parent is home we then go to the 8yo, lights out, cuddle for about 5 mins in the dark then say goodnight
Then same to 11yo
If very late/only 1 parent the older kids know that the cuddle part will be short
If 2 parents home, kid a bit sad etc the cuddle bit might be longer  
Sometimes if 11yo really not tired he chooses extra reading time and later lights out but no cuddle

One thing I will say is that with solstice and this time of year my kids bedtime gets really late
Like 5yo has gone from 7pm till after 8:30pm
No point trying to get to bed when it’s still light outside
Plus all the after school concerts, parties etc their routine is all out of whack
I just go with the flow and allow later bed times this time of year as they head into school holidays
Then the first week or two back at school is a bit of boot camp trying to adjust to earlier bed times, but they are usually tired from being back at school so not so bad
Definitely easier and less stressful than trying to get them to bed at 7pm for the next 6 weeks

#19 BusbyWilkes

Posted 23 December 2019 - 12:15 AM

View PostGrrrumbles, on 22 December 2019 - 09:21 PM, said:

Next year DD is first year of school and DS is Year 4. He won’t stand for his bed time being brought forward so while I am happy that his bed time won’t need to go later in the year I don’t think she will be able to cope going that late. Already she is difficult to get out of bed some school mornings but he usually isn’t. I think she needs more sleep than him.

I get that he may not be happy to have an earlier bed time, but you get to make the rules (and change them if needed).

Perhaps recruit him into the challenge to get his sister to bed (do teeth, toilet, bed at the same time) and then he reads in his room while you stay with DD. Let him know that it might take a little while, but once she is asleep, you can spend one on one time with him (reading, listening to music, chatting). He’s old enough to be part of the solution rather than the problem.



#20 Crazy4

Posted 23 December 2019 - 06:46 AM

We have staggered bedtime but the bedtime routine is the same for all of them. So they all bath / shower, teeth and into bed (seperate bedrooms) at same time. Elder ones have to stay in room and read while I get younger ones to sleep. Younger ones have a book each, goodnight cuddle and lights out at 7ish. Then I go to older one and chat or read to her for 5/10 minutes and say good time to her about 7:15pm or so and then she reads till her bedtime of 8pm. She’ll turn her light off herself so her later bedtime doesn’t affect me as I know it’ll go back to 8:30/9pm soon.  Occasionally she’ll appear in the kitchen where I am before she goes to sleep kiss me goodnight which is sweet but she’ll take herself back to bed.

Biggest thing for me is they are all out of my hair at 7ish, some are asleep (or in bed going to sleep) otherwise reading and turning their own lights off so my active parenting is done... and onto all the other parenting crap that magically happens by fairies -  cleaning the mess they’ve left behind!

Edited by Crazy4, 23 December 2019 - 06:50 AM.


#21 José

Posted 23 December 2019 - 07:04 AM

I try and do teeth brushing a little more bed. So brush teeth, more quiet play. Then toilet and bed.
Just to eliminate any potential difficulties with teeth brushing.
With my energetic kid it's super important they are actually tired.
Put them to bed too early and it's a nightmare.  Especially on weekends and holidays I can't let them sleep too late and need to make sure they are active to 'earn their sleep.
I've used the dinosnores stories before as well- worked a treat!




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