Ah, night-time. Peaceful, quiet, serene… Erm, not so much. Especially when your toddler’s waking up with your baby. But don’t panic – introducing the action plan to see you through
Whether you love being up in the night with your baby or you’re desperately trying to soothe her back to sleep, things can definitely take a (sleep-deprived) turn when your toddler wants to join the 2am party.
So, prep yourself for these middle-of-the-night scenarios to bring some calm back to sleepy time.
Your toddler’s upset…
You’re trying to soothe your baby and then suddenly you hear tears from the next room.
‘I'd recommend always going to your child if they've woken crying, even if that means taking your baby with you,’ says Fi Star-Stone, author of The Baby Bedtime Book: Say Goodnight To Sleepless Nights.
‘Often he’ll just need a little reassurance after having been woken from a deep sleep, especially as a baby crying always seems so much louder during the night, which can be worrying for him.’
He’s come into your baby’s room…
It’s 3am, you’re finally getting your smallest person back to sleep… and your toddler wanders in eager to see what he’s missing. Worried about everyone becoming riled up? Be gentle but consistent.
It’s 3am, you’re finally getting your smallest person back to sleep… and your toddler wanders in eager to see what he’s missing
‘Talk to him about how he needs to sleep in his own bed, just like his little sister needs to be in hers,’ says Fi. ‘You don't need to get cross – just take him back, reassuring and reminding him it’s sleepy time.’
Your older child can’t resettle…
The baby’s asleep (yay!) but now your toddler isn’t.
‘It’s common for older children to have disturbed nights and more wake-ups after a new arrival,’ says Fi. ‘Still, it’s important to help him learn to soothe himself back to sleep, otherwise he’ll always expect you to be there when he wakes.’
Do this by stroking his hair, singing or sitting by his bed until he’s sleepy and settled. And make his room a happy, safe place for him to be – so no scary stories before bed and a soft night-light to reassure him.
You’re feeling overwhelmed…
Understandable when you’re awake with two crying/excitable/demanding little ones.
‘As a parent of two born less than a year apart I know the stress of having two awake and crying in the night sometimes,’ says Fi. ‘I found that singing softly to the children was a great stress reliever in those early hours – it keeps you all calm and gives you focus if you’re feeling panicked.’
And don’t forget to breathe. ‘Centre yourself and try to focus on the end result – what you want to happen. The more composed you are, the better your children will respond.’
If you’re going through a difficult patch, perhaps ask your partner to do bath and bedtime so you can go to sleep early and be ready for getting up in the night.
What’s your experience of being up with more than one child in the night? Let us know on the comments board below.