Bedtime duty for more than one child by yourself? Here are some tips to help

Having a baby when you have a child (maybe more than one) already often leads families to consider how they will manage to juggle naps and bedtime for when they have another child/to look after, often on a solo basis. If this is you and you are pregnant, it can be a good idea to plan for this. Helping your child learn to fall asleep on a slightly more independent basis can help reduce stress when baby arrives, while working on a consistent bedtime routine that will continue to afford you precious one on one connection time both now and when the other baby arrives. There are lots of gradual and responsive approaches to help achieve this. If baby has already arrived, fear not, it is never too late to help your older child/children achieve more independent and settled sleep.

I have included below some of my top tips that have helped many families I have worked with.

1) If you need to do bath times, aim to do the baths earlier in the evening if possible. For example, if you have a baby and a toddler it can be easier to bath your toddler when baby is having their last nap and then get your toddler to “help” when you give your baby a brief bath. Once your youngest is a little older, you can bath them together.

2) Story time can be a great addition to a bedtime routine, and when you are on solo bedtime duty for more than one child, I recommend doing a shared bedtime story with both children in a room with soft lighting, as you start to help your little ones unwind at the end of the day.

3) Consider using white noise for your baby (it can be a great option at the toddler stage). White noise can help to buffer out household noises (including other siblings going to bed once your first child is already asleep).

4) If your children have similar bedtimes, I recommend putting the youngest to bed first where possible. If bedtime for baby can take some time/your older child cannot be left unattended just yet your older child may sit with a toy/book outside/close to your baby’s room (the white noise will help to buffer any noises coming from outside of the bedroom for baby).

5) If you need to do your older child’s bedtime first and your youngest child is a baby, an option is baby wearing your smallest child depending on their age, or placing them on a playmat/bouncer inside your older child’s bedroom while you attend to your older child.

I hope these tips help.


Colette McCann

Certified Child Sleep Consultant, Parent Coach, and owner of Phoenix Dreams

Colette who is a busy mum of 2, specialises in working with children from the newborn stage through to 10 years of age. She is one of the only experts in both Child Sleep and Behaviour in Ireland, having built up a strong reputation in Ireland and abroad with new and repeat clients.