When the second child come into the house a lot of things get more difficult, especially bedtime! With your first kiddo, it’s easy to let the baby’s schedule become everyone’s schedule. Baby looking tired? Rush home from the store to get her in bed immediately. Baby just woke up? It’s time to run as many errands as possible before she needs to eat or sleep again.
Then suddenly you have two kids and their clashing schedules make running errands seem laughable. One child sleeps all night, the other sleeps all day. One naps at noon while the other is waking up. Thanks to Member’s Mark for sponsoring this post as we figure out how to get kiddos sleeping on the same schedule.
It’s the worst kind of complicated, so when you are finally able to find a nap schedule that works for all, it’s a day of rejoicing!
Here are some tips to get you moving towards coordinated naps.
First off, you need to figure out whose schedule is the most flexible. If you find that your baby will fall asleep at 12pm regardless of where she is or what is going on around her, then your goal should be to scoot the toddler’s nap to hers. However, some toddlers are more set in their napping schedules, so it might be easier to coordinate your baby to the toddler. Once you’ve chosen whose schedule to adjust start slowly. You can’t change a nap schedule over night, but start by adjusting it by just 30 minutes at a time. Move 30 minutes at a time over a few days (Depending on how far apart they are napping now) until you are putting both kids down at the same time.
How do you scoot a nap? Here are some ideas… If you are moving the toddler’s schedule around it will be tempting to let them have screen time when cranky. Instead, try to keep them as busy as possible for a few days. Run around outside, hold dance parties in the living room, play leap frog. Whatever you need to do to keep them awake until you’re ready for them to sleep. Keeping them active will also help them fall asleep as soon as they get in their room too, instead of laying there crying for awhile.
The next step is to allow a special toy or book in bed. If you find that getting their wiggles out isn’t helping and they are still lying in bed awake either before they fall asleep (or waking up too soon), make sure that they have a quiet toy or two to play with in bed. Something like this glowing sensory bottle. My son loves his! It will keep them in bed and start training their bodies that this is rest time. It can take a week or so for their bodies to adjust, but keeping them in their room and in bed if possible during the new nap time, helps a lot.
If you are moving your baby’s schedule…
Remain calm. Seriously, it can be rough, but it’s so worth it to have both kids napping at once. Just expect a lot of sleepy tears for a week while you get it all adjusted. Trust me, a week of baby drama is worth having an hour or two to yourself every day thereafter!
The key here is to stick to it. After a day or two it will be tempting to just throw in the towel and assume that switching up a baby’s schedule is not a smart idea, but don’t give up! It will get easier as the days go by.
Unlike the toddler, to move a baby’s schedule might mean adjusting all naps and even bedtime by a little bit. Start with moving everything by 10 or 20 minutes and then, keep moving things until the nap is at the same time as the toddler’s. Since babies sleep so many times a day this can be a harder, but as long as you are watching the clock carefully for a few days it can totally be done.
Also, make sure that baby has no other reasons for not falling asleep or staying asleep. Feed her just before bed and then make sure she has a dry diaper to wear. You also have to make sure, for both kids that you are using a diaper that will last all the way through nap time. If you are having trouble with this part, try Member’s Mark Comfort Care diapers.
They are silky soft so baby stays comfortable and have up to 12 hours of leak protection. That’s a good solid nap! A good diaper can make the difference between a good nap time and no nap, so it’s essential.
Last, let me encourage you, that however hard it is right now and however sleepless you may feel, it does get better. One day your kids will be giggling and playing together and it will make every sleepless week oh so very worth it!
For more baby & big sibling adjustment posts, check out these: