Sleep Expert: 4 Tips To Put A 2-Year-Old And Newborn To Bed If You're On Your OwnAnd avoid crying and meltdowns.by Kitty Elicay .
Just when you’ve established a regular nighttime routine for your 2-year-old, a new challenge comes along: Your newborn is here, and everyone needs to sleep in the same room. To top it off, you need to handle double bedtime on your own.
How to deal with double bedtime
Thinking of it is already stressful — a toddler and newborn have a different set of needs and rarely operate on the same schedule. How do you restart your routine without the crying and meltdowns?
1. Create a sleeping room.
A newborn’s sleep schedule will be anywhere from 14 to 17 hours a day, in increments of two to three hours. So, it will be logical to put the newborn to bed first, then the toddler, according to Lopez.
“When the newborn is sleeping, the mom can tend to her toddler and complete the bedtime routine,” Ria says. Ideally, this should be done in another space outside of the sleeping room.
“Bring in the toddler only when it is time for them to sleep,” she adds.
If only one room is available, make sure your toddler and newborn each get a safe sleep space. This is to protect your child from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. (Click here for safe sleep guidelines)
2. Set a time to lay down your newborn to bed.
In the first eight weeks of life, your newborn’s sleep schedule will fluctuate, and their bedtime may vary, according to Lopez. But you can be consistent and lay your newborn down in her sleep space at the same time, say between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
“Usually, at this age, they have a stronger sleep drive and are easier to put to sleep,” shares Lopez.
When your baby is about 8 weeks old, bedtime will naturally occur earlier, between 6 to 7 p.m. “and there can be stretches of sleep at night,” says Lopez. “Then slowly, as the baby approaches 16 weeks, patterns are much clearer, and routines can be set in place.”
3. Incorporate putting your newborn to bed into your toddler’s bedtime routine.
Setting a nighttime routine is easier said than done when it comes to toddlers, but consistency is key if you want to take the stress out of bedtime. (Check out sleep schedules that you can follow here.)
While putting your newborn to sleep, distract your toddler with an activity that can also help calm and wind them down. Lopez suggests “a quiet activity that the child loves” and that should only come out at bedtime.
“When the baby is over 16 weeks old and sleep trained or knows how to sleep [on his own], the bedtime routine will [last] only about 15 minutes and the mom can go back to attending to the toddler and starting their bedtime routine, so that the toddler can also sleep by their bedtime,” Lopez shares.
4. Introduce sleep training to your newborn.
Sleep training teaches your baby to fall asleep without your help. According to Lopez, you can start doing it at 16 weeks, when your baby’s sleep schedule is much clearer. (Read how one mom was able to get her 4-month-old daughter to sleep on her own here.)CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
Lopez also suggests scheduling your toddler’s bedtime routine between 7 to 8 p.m. “It will help in terms of building routine and consistency for the family. When a schedule is in place, things flow better and there is an order of the day. Also, consistency will help the toddler understand and learn the routine and that will encourage their cooperation,” she says.
Putting both kids to bed early also opens up free time for you, mom! You can put more time for self-care and even get restful sleep. Then, everybody can be happy!
Looking for a schedule that your children can adopt at home? Click here for a daily routine — from waking up to bedtime — created and approved by a teacher!
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