A breakdown guide to help you with getting 2 little ones to bed when you're flying solo.
So, you've introduced your new little one to your toddler, and so far they're getting on beautifully (with only the odd hand-to-face-plant, and head sitting here and there). Your partner is off work and your gorgeous newborn bubble and life adjusting to a family of 4 is dreamy. Then, your partner starts to fill the diary with work engagements and suddenly, your first evening alone with both little ones is lurking. Trust me, I've been there. But please DON'T PANIC: I GOT YOU!
I have broken down the stages of bath and bedtime with 2 little ones to guide you though and help you find your own groove with it.
Preparation is Key
Put babies somewhere safe (their bedroom, bathroom, in cot/bouncers etc.)
Prep the rooms; prep yourself.
Prep rooms - while bath is running get towels, pjs, nappies, wipes, white noise machine, swaddle, blankets, books EVERYTHING you’re going to need for the rest of the nighttime routine.
If you can, close the house down as if you’re going to bed. This will help to fully dedicate yourself to the routine and reduce any stress of having more things to do after.
Prep yourself: have a snack & water to hand, make sure you’ve eaten, don’t need a wee, get your comfies or pjs on ready. Take some deep breaths if you feel stressed. Get some nice calming music on in the bathroom - keeping yourself calm is super important as little ones pick up on our stresses so calm mamma = calmer little ones.
You’re gonna be great!
Get them in the bath, and breathe. Take this time to check in with yourself, how are you feeling?
Breath in for 4, out for 6. YOU'VE GOT THIS!
Then, whatever works best - either get the youngest out and dressed ready in PJs in the bathroom while older one plays.
Get the older one out first to get dry and brush teeth, then get the littlest one out and all go to the bedroom to get into PJs in there.
Depending on your set up, the ages of your little ones and how they fall asleep - there are lots of different routes to take for this next stage and with practice, you'll find what works best for you.
Here are a few options to get you started:
Feed little one to sleep while big one reads to themselves then you can have 1-1 time with older one.
Read stories all together in big bed and let them fall asleep cuddling you together, then move them into their own beds if applicable.
Feed little one to sleep while reading to toddler then leave toddler to fall asleep in their bed while you go and put little one down/ get into bed yourself with little one.
Put the easiest one to bed/sleep first
Don’t worry about creating bad habits: you’re alone here and you’re doing the absolute best you can with the easiest and most direct way of getting your little ones to sleep. It really doesn’t matter if you cuddle/feed/rock them to sleep when you might not usually do this.
Practice will almost certainly make this easier so try not to panic. The more you do it the better you’ll become at keeping calm.
Give yourself extra time - it may take longer than usual to get them to sleep so factor this in and get them in the bath a little bit earlier to avoid any overtired meltdowns.
Don’t worry if it goes tits up - it’s ok, tomorrow is a new day.