Let’s talk schedules, they are so important! I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but kids thrive on a schedule. I don’t know why but they do. Not saying I have perfect kids (far from it) but I can say that they sleep all night and rarely get out of bed. When they do it’s because of a change in their life like daddy going on deployment or having visitors. I have been in the situation where I didn’t have the kids on a schedule and it was terrible. Let me paint a picture for you. Mia was 2, Axel was maybe 3 months and Matt was working from 11 AM to 11 PM. So that in itself can be hard, but add in that Axel always wanted to be held especially when sleeping and Mia who would stay up until 2 am playing with the iPad. I know bad move on my part. The kids would eat when they were hungry, nap when they were tired, and went to bed when they felt like it. In my defense being a new mom of two and having my husband gone most of the day and night was hard and the iPad made a pretty good babysitter.
After a few months of this we decided somethings got to give and we need to change it up or I’m going to go crazy. Spoiler alert, 4 years later and I’ve gone crazy! I decided I’m going put these kids on a schedule if it’s the last thing I do. When I say schedule I don’t mean for everything, I’m talking about when meals and sleep time happens. As soon as the kids woke up it was breakfast time, naptime for Mia at 12 pm, lunch after that, dinner at 5 pm and bed by 8 with no iPad! Axel was still so tiny so my main goal with him was to not have to hold him every second of the day. He’s now 4 and still wants to be held all the flipping time!
Here are some things that I have learned in the years of doing this.
1. Stick to the schedule! If dad isn’t normally home during bedtime make sure he knows what the schedule is and that he follows it, otherwise your going to miss that bedtime. Dinner is at 5, not 6 or 5:30, 5 pm on the dot! If your dinner time gets pushed back then that means bedtime gets pushed back!
2. When your first starting the schedule put the kids in bed an hour before you want them to be sleeping. I know this might sound crazy but think of your toddler, how many times do they get out of bed? They all the sudden need to go to the bathroom for the 10th time, dying of thirst, deprived from all the love that you NEVER give them, and need to talk about every thought they have had throughout the day. I know you’ve experienced this! So that being said you’re making time for these things to happen and having them still going to bed at the time you want them too. Once they are use to going to sleep at that time then you can put them to bed at that time or 15 minutes before hand.
3. Prepare yourself for the day. You need to have the expectations of sticking to the schedule or you won’t. I’ve done this too, it’s not fun.
4. Create a bedtime routine if you don’t already have one. What we do is brush teeth, get pajamas on, go potty, read a story and in bed they go! Of course we have the bath & shower days and on those days we start a little earlier.
5. When the kids get out of bed, because they will get out of bed, you have to put them back to bed right away. I don’t always do this and it always bits me in the butt! Axel is my biggest challenge to when it comes to just about everything and bedtime is no exception. Those nights that I’m really strict about going to bed he fights me for a little bit but ends up going to sleep on his own in his own bed. Axel is a special case so if your child is like him and you have questions feel free to ask!
Here’s our schedule that I like to stick to, of course alter it to your lifestyle and personal schedule if you chose to use it.
- 6:30 am: wake up time!
- 7:00 am: breakfast
- 8:00 am: leave to take Mia to school
- 9:00 am: August (one year) takes a nap & Axel (4 yo) has quiet time
- 11:30 am: lunch time for the boys
- 12:00 pm: August takes his second nap
- 2:00 pm: we get Mia from school
- 5:00 pm: we have dinner
- 6:00 pm: August goes to bed for the night
- 6:10 pm: start the big kids bedtime routine
- 6:30 pm: in bed for the night
Getting your kids on a schedule is hard and exhausting for the parents, but give it two weeks and your kids should be staying in bed, be in a better mood and the home life will be all around better. Not to mention you now have the whole night ahead of you to watch tv that isn’t animated and eat ice cream without having to share!
This may not work for everyone but it has worked for all three of my kids and I have had friends use this method and it has worked for them as well!
Good luck my friends and sleep tight!