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How to Deal with Different Bed Times for Children

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

One of the questions I get from parents on an almost daily basis deals with sleep. So I thought I would spend the rest of the week answering some top sleep questions.

Question #1: How do you get 2 younger kids to bed on good schedule when you have 2 older sibs too?

Having a bedtime schedule for both the younger and older kids helps. I would enjoy family dinnertime, and some activities together after dinner. Then separate the younger kids from the older ones. You might have older kids doing homework or independent reading (really dependents how much older they are) in a different area of the house while you take younger kids off for bathes and bedtime stories. Even if their bedtimes are only an hour apart, this will give you time alone with both sets of kids and age appropriate activities with each. Once the younger kids have had stories, prayers and are tucked in for the night you can now spend time with the older ones. I often found this a good time to do any review of spelling or homework they wanted me to look over etc and plan for the next day with them. Then we would enjoy “older version” of bedtime stories when they would read to me. Very relaxing, (must admit I sometimes found myself lulling to sleep while they read), and then I would read to them. It was a way to keep us both involved in reading aloud and I enjoyed most of Harry Potter books this way. They too liked saying prayers together, a hug and kiss and then to bed. Try to limit computer or TV for older kids prior to bed, as this seems to disrupt sleep.

With that schedule I felt like both sets of kids had parent time, and you can also alternate Mom and Dad doing this routine depending on parent schedules etc. Divide and conquer seemed to work well in our home.

That’s your daily dose on sleep for today; we’ll talk about it some more tomorrow.

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One Response to “How to Deal with Different Bed Times for Children”

  1. Michele says:

    How do I get our 3 yr old to sleep in his own bed. He always says he is scared when I leave him in the room by himself. Most times he won’t even play in his room by himself.

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