When you have children of different ages, they will often need different bedtimes to suit differing needs and sleep requirements.

Studies have shown that children’s bedtime routines help everyone in the family get a better night’s sleep; therefore, it makes sense to establish an age-appropriate routine for each child.

Make Sure Each Routine is Unique

To ensure all of your children’s bedtime routines are unique to them, take into consideration your children’s habits. For example, bath time is a common aspect of many children’s bedtime routines; however, some may not enjoy having their bath right before bed therefore it may suit you to bath them immediately after tea, giving them time to relax afterwards.

Develop your child-specific schedule by beginning with what time each child must be in bed and working backwards, taking into consideration what each of them needs to get accomplished before bedtime. It is a good idea to write up or print out each child’s schedule and keep this on the wall or fridge to be referred to as needed.

Here are some suggested activities to include in the schedule for each child:

  • Time to pick up toys and straighten their room
  • Time to wash up, brush teeth, and put on pyjamas
  • Time for being read to or reading by themselves

Some activities, such as putting toys away, both children will be able to do together or at around the same time. Doing so teaches them cooperation and teamwork.

What to Do if Your Children Share a Bedroom

If your children share a room, make sure the child with the earlier schedule is not disturbed after they are asleep. To do so, try the following:

  • Have a set time each evening when toys are put away by both children.
  • Have your older child prepare for the next day before the younger child gets in bed – pack the backpack and get out clothes for the next day.
  • Set a time after which your older child is not allowed in the room except for sleeping.
  • Try to set a time for your older child to go to bed after the younger is already asleep.
  • Make sure a night light is available that lights the way for both children to get to their beds safely and quietly, both at the start of their sleep and before and after mid night potty trips.

There are some advantages to having different bedtimes for your children. You can spend pre-bedtime alone with each child, engaging in whatever activity helps them prepare for sleep. Your older child may wish to have a conversation about their day and share concerns they have. A bedtime routine helps kids feel more secure, learn to follow directions, and build responsibility.

At first getting into a routine could seem chaotic, however you’ll soon notice how much easier it makes bedtime in your house and allows you extra time in the evening for your own relaxation time.

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