Bedtime routines are no easy feat and can be extra difficult if you have to go through them alone. However, there are things you can do to help.
Sleep is a basic human requirement and it is important that all family members are getting enough of it. It goes without saying that there are a lot of parents that would love a better relationship with sleep in general.
Often the obstacle between us and a great night’s sleep is the pitter-patter of tiny feet. Our children can sometimes fail to appreciate how important rest is for all members of the family.
A solid bedtime routine is often recommended by experts. It involves clear check-points and sleep signals that help our children to recognize what is happening. It becomes the norm with time.
However, a bedtime routine is a lot more challenging when you are outnumbered. Perhaps you are a single parent and being outnumbered is standard in all elements of your parenting journey.
In other cases, a partner may work late or in a different country from time to time. Whatever the reason, getting more than one child off to sleep when you are alone is not an easy task. Here are some helpful bed-time hacks for parents who are outnumbered:
Adjust bed-times to suit your circumstances.
Would slightly altering the bedtime make a difference? Perhaps bringing it forward or later by thirty minutes might mean you are not outnumbered at all, for example. It could leave time to wait up for your partner who can get involved. Adjusting bedtimes according to age can have a great impact also. Older children may be reading or playing a board game while you do bedtime with the younger kids.
Consider putting a comfortable chair in one of the bedrooms.
This works well when you have a small baby that is reliant on you as well as a toddler or infant that requires your presence to fall asleep. You can rock/soothe your baby in your arms while holding your toddler’s hand as they drift off.
Re-jig the bedrooms.
In the grand scheme of things would a shared bedroom or bunk beds work better overall? Many parents allow children to bedshare as it makes sense when it comes to bed-time. You can make your own rules and it is all in the name of a more peaceful bedtime and better sleep all round.
Avoid screen time an hour before bed.
Screens can lead to over-stimulated children that cannot wind down easily. This adds an extra layer of difficulty. Encouraging reading or gentle activities before bed will help children to naturally wind down and welcome sleep with a little more ease.
If solo-parenting is a rarity, then you might consider enlisting the help of a parent or friend. They could sit with the older children or help settle one child while you attend to another.
Consider a sling.
A sling is a great way of freeing up your hands while also comforting and soothing an infant. This means you can prepare bedtime snacks and drinks as well as helping with teeth brushing, reading a bedtime story and tucking your little one’s in before they sleep.