Bedtime with one squirmy wormy is tricky enough but throw another one (or two! or three!) in the mix and it can get downright confusing. The end of the day bedtime routine with multiple children is always tough because everybody is tired but wired and whether you work all day and come home to do bedtime or are home all day and have to “carb up” to get through it, here are some helpful bedtime tips to make it less stressful, particularly when you have more than one.
Do Bedtime Stories Together
Depending on the age of your children, their taste in books may not exactly match up. But the great news is that as the older child learns how to read, she actually delights in revisiting some of her older “baby” books. So each night, usually after dinner but before shower or bath has started, you and your children can sit down and comb through a couple of books together. Older children get to exercise their reading chops and the younger ones have a grand time with the undivided attention of older siblings. Reading together and doing it a little earlier in the night, before parental fatigue has really sunk in gives us more flexibility with the rest of the night, while not foregoing that important wind-down time.
Bathe Them Together
I know, this isn’t exactly revolutionary, since siblings have been bathing together since the beginning of time. But if you can convert your crew to showers, you may find it not only saves time but it’s also physically a lot easier. If it’s an option, look into a shower head that attaches to your main one so that the stream is gentle and the hose is easy to maneuver around little bodies. You can still do showers together even though older children may go to bed later. All children are then clean and in their jammies, giving you more time to do fun but relaxing bedtime activities.
Have Your Older Child Help Put The Younger One to Bed
Even though older siblings can begrudge the younger ones sometimes (okay, a LOT), we all know of those stolen moments when they teach them something unprompted or give them a helping hand. Involving your older child with some of the bedtime tasks for the younger one (rocking together, helping put pajamas or sleepsack on, or even simply being the one to hand over the prized lovey once the little one is ready to go down to bed) is a great way to keep bedtime sweet and calm.
Take Bedtime Outdoors
What, you say? What is nice during the warm months is to get the kids out for a bit in the fresh evening air. A way to make it extra special? Let them wear their pajamas. If you have a double stroller, give them a quick walk around the block, playing a sight game or singing a song as you go. Let that fresh air seep in and help them settle down for the night.
But mostly, just breathe as bedtime rumbles on. I always say, bedtime is the most labor-intensive part of the day and since it also comes at the end of it, it’s tough to remain cool and present. Do your best and if you have a not-so-great night, don’t beat yourself up. There’s always another bedtime right around the corner.