Routine with 2 kids! : I really need some advice from... - NCT


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Routine with 2 kids!

Abs1403 profile image
12 Replies

I really need some advice from mums with 2 little people, ideally those who also experience shift work!

My youngest is 4 months old, and eldest is 2 years 4 months. Day times are no issue, its chaos but fun until it gets to bedtime routine.

The 2 year old won't go to sleep unless we stay with him in his room and until about a week ago wouldn't sleep in his own room all night, he'd end up in our bed by about 2am. That's slowly stopping and although he still comes in and wakes us up, is calm when we take him back to bed. Although we still have to lie with him again til he gets back to sleep.

The baby is showing signs he's getting ready for a regular bedtime around 7.30 but bedtime for eldest is at 7.

So the issue is, my husband works shifts, meaning 3 / 10 nights he isn't around for bedtime, and another 2/10 nights he's on a night shift so not there through the night.

We cannot seem to find any way of making it work where we can get them both settled and in bed when it's only one of us around for bedtime.

Does anyone else have any experience of this or suggestions of what we could try for a 'single parent routine with 2' Letting the eldest fall asleep on the sofa then carrying him up seems to be the only way of a calm bedtime, but I hate him doing this! Or help with how to get the eldest to go to sleep on his own / stay in his own room. We have a night light which he loves, it's a soft silicone dinosaur that changed colour and we've told him he 'looks after him' at night time.


12 Replies
Lydialego123 profile image

hey I’ve not got 2 yet - but am about to!

What I think will probably help you is dedicating some time to getting your toddler to fall asleep on his own and stay in his room - we still cuddle our little boy to sleep for a nap but at bedtime he goes in his bed on his own, tends to chat for 10-15 mins himself and then is off to sleep.

I won’t lie - I thought we would never get there with him, but we have and I think it will make life much easier when baby comes so I can then dedicate time to babies bedtime once he’s in bed. We got there by talking to him about bedtime, going to sleep on his own and there were tears for a while, but he’s happy with it now, I haven’t got exact experience of over 2 and being in a bed rather than a cot, hopefully someone else will do.

We also have a gro clock which changes colour, he knows mummy is asleep while it’s blue in the morning and I’ll come for him when it’s yellow. I’m not sure If that’s the same sort of clock/light you have but it really helped us with him wanting to get up at a time starting with a 5! Sometimes he wakes up when it’s still blue (it changes at 6.20) but as long as he’s just happily chatting I wait until 6.20 to go and get him. We got our gro clock second hand on eBay for about a tenner, well worth it for us!

Best of luck x

Seb9 profile image
Seb9 in reply to Lydialego123

I tried a grow clock with my daughter, she carefully listened as I explained she'd need to be in bed while it was blue etc, she smiled, nodded and walked over and switched it off 😂

Abs1403 profile image
Abs1403 in reply to Seb9

I imagine this is what my little boy would do too!! :)

LaurajaneF profile image
LaurajaneF in reply to Seb9

LOL that would be mine too

Lydialego123 profile image
Lydialego123 in reply to Seb9

haha oh dear!! Think we may have just been lucky with him on this one then 😂 but it is out of reach too so that might help x

Abs1403 profile image
Abs1403 in reply to Lydialego123

Thank you. How old is your little boy?

You don't mention if there was shift work involved in your routine setting. We can manage it while there are 2 adults at bedtime but as soon as there is only 1 it doesn't work.

Having him in the routine you talk about should definitely help when the new baby arrives. Good luck x

Lydialego123 profile image
Lydialego123 in reply to Abs1403

he’s 2 years 7 months now, we don’t have shift work but my husband is often out 2 nights a week, and sometimes the same for me so we need something that’s manageable for both of us to do on our own.

Thanks, I am nervous about having to do bedtime and things on my own, but will get there I hope, all the best x

LaurajaneF profile image

hi there

I’m wait eagerly for some creative responses to this post!! As we are really stuck with this I could do with working evenings more and my husband could do with working some lates too but we have no idea to make this happen!!

Yeah I have 2 yr 8 month and 4 month both not great sleepers although my oldest can now go to bed independently and generally does okay.

I think it depends on what your feelings are on letting you eldest cry in any way to transition to them going to sleep independently. If they are strong willed I’m not sure how possible it is for them not to cry ! It’s horrid.

Or if it’s a no to that, can you shuffle the timings and get the little one to sleep on you (basically mine sleeps on me or next to me pretty impossible to get her in a a cot for a nap) , and then stay with the eldest till they sleep and then transfer the baby after to cot ? Are you supporting the 4 month to sleep or are they a unicorn baby who goes down drowsy?

My oldest girl does now go to sleep independently but needs quite a bit of support resettling but we just had a rough month of screaming a bedtime when we left her and and to keep going back in constantly to reassure her. We talk about the nice things we are going to do the next day it seemed to help her be on her own awake .

We are about to try home recorded books that me and my husband read - you can get cheap Bluetooth speakers with SD card slots or you can get something fancier like a yoto player and put them on in the night if we have a split with our daughter and try and leave !! Otherwise gentle regular audiobooks classic not too animated stories ?

We use a baby gate for my eldest which keeps her in practically - always have as she’s always been in a floor bed but it is sometimes difficult to introduce a gate to get them to stay when they are older

What are the boundaries with your eldest you want to set - overnight can he come in and sleep in your room on a floor Mattress rather than you go in there - that way he is close but not as disruptive and still learning to fall asleep semi independently ….

Excuse typos - so sleep deprived! Good luck x

Bigblueskies profile image


I have two, a bit older than yours and have similar problems. My daughter is 3 years old and still won’t go to bed alone although she is fiercely independent in other ways. I have tried everything and I haven’t found a magic bullet yet. However when I’m alone I take her to her room with my son and we play there for a little bit. We have a routine now of reading 3 books together and after that she lies in bed and listens to audible stories. I have dowloaded a few that she likes. When she was two she used to love the “little explorer” stories which were free on the Alexa and you can get it through the Alexa app on your phone too.

As she is listening I often say to her I’m going to get you some water or go to the toilet etc. by the time I’m back she is often asleep but I make sure I come back as I said.

In our routine my son falls asleep first so I sometimes leave her to play and get him to bed. But if he wasn’t asleep I can imagine I would leave him in his cot to play with a lights projector or something and stay with my daughter until she is asleep. If he cries, I can tell her “I’m going to check on the baby and I’ll be back”.

Some children just need more help to wind down and between 2-4 years old they often develop fears etc so it’s not unusual to have to be with them until they fall asleep. But it is very inconvenient and I am in the same place!

Abs1403 profile image
Abs1403 in reply to Bigblueskies

Thank you. I know it's so hard, but is also reassuring to know we're not the only ones in the thick of the chaos!

Shelleybean profile image

Only have advice on the 2 year old falling to sleep on their own part of your dilemma as we twice found ourselves having several weeks on our boy’s bedroom floor after he’d been unwell.. we started using audiobooks as others have said and sitting on a beanbag right outside the door (with this slightly cracked at his insistence!). Our legs were even inside the room to begin with and we could reassure him Mummy or Daddy was there. The audiobook is controlled on a phone and gets paused if he gets up. Once he was confident we were actually staying with him then we were able to get fully out of the room and now can go out and potter upstairs as he sometimes still calls out (but not often).

Wondering if you might be able to work towards putting your toddler in bed at 7pm and then giving baby a feed and set up a changing station right outside the door so you are preparing them for bed at 7.30 by which time your eldest might hopefully be asleep!

Another thing which sprang to mind was if your toddler maybe has FOMO affecting their ability to go to sleep as you and baby are still awake could you maybe try switching their bedtimes so putting baby down first and then spending a little time sitting outside your toddler’s door (probably quieter on your own than with a baby!). I used to be in my pyjamas and say Mummy is tired and wants to go to bed too.. actually accurate 😂 Good luck! Hope you can find a solution which works for you guys. We have another little one arriving this summer and I’m feeling a bit scared about stuff like this 🙈 xx

Abs1403 profile image
Abs1403 in reply to Shelleybean

Thanks so much

Audio books definitely seem to be a thing. Has anyone tried a Tonie? Is that what it's called... the amazon book thing with the characters that stand on the machine.

We're finding that baby is now going to sleep before toddler so this all sounds like first step to making it work!

Good luck with your next arrival, it certainly mixes things up a bit but its good fun 😀

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