How to Survive Bedtime with Only One Parent

With more than one child, bedtime is always a bit of a balancing act. Attempting to get through bedtime alone with two kids can be terrifying, but it IS possible. Unless your kids are angels and pretty much put themselves to bed, you’ll probably need a plan. And a bit of a mental adjustment. 

You will survive.

If you’re by yourself, you just have to give yourself some slack. You are only one person, so there is very, very little chance of accomplishing everything according to your normal routine. That’s okay though! If you start bedtime knowing that the routine will be a bit off, and things may take longer than usual, it will help you a lot and take some of the stress away. 

If bathtime for one or both children is part of your routine (or needed), try letting the toddler play in the bath while you feed the baby. It will probably be a bit awkward to feed in the bathroom, but sometimes you just need to do what needs to be done! Don’t forget to bring something to lay the baby on, or a vibrating chair or something to lie them down on safely when you need to help your toddler in the bath. 

Photo credit: Dobromir Dobrev

With bathtime over, you can put the baby’s pyjamas on while the toddler picks out books to read. Then, jammies on the older child while the baby is safely in their crib or bassinet. If your baby is okay to be put down immediately, that’s great. If not, don’t worry. 

We always read two books snuggled up in our toddler’s bed, so I found that we would read the first book with the three of us snuggled up. It can be hard to hold a baby and a book, so if your baby is still small, try and choose a book that you can read with one hand. After the first story, I would put the baby down, then continue to read additional stories with the toddler.

Once our reading was done, we would have a little snuggle and then a hug and kiss goodnight. And that’s it! Leave the room, cross your fingers, and try and relax. And have a glass of wine, and watch your favourite show, or read a good book. You deserve it. 

Relax… you’ve got this!

The bedtime routine with one parent might not be one hundred percent on schedule, but it will be close enough. Start early if you can, and cut yourself some slack. Choose your battles too. If you know one child is much easier to get to sleep, then try and get them to bed first, so you can focus on your other child. Or vice versa. The main thing is getting them to sleep, whichever way works for you. The routine might be different, but they will survive. You can do it! 

Side note: Our baby and toddler share a room so bedtime might be different for us to start with. The main thing is, you do what works for you. It might be hard and stressful and different, but you will get through it and so will your children. 

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