How to Effectively Manage Sibling Bedtimes (When There Are Age Gaps)


 How to Effectively Manage Sibling Bedtimes

This is a tough subject. Especially for me since my son HATES going to bed. Getting one child to bed is difficult enough. When you have more than one, the challenges can feel impossibly overwhelming. It might just be easier to send them all to bed at the same time. However, then each child is missing out on one-on-one time with parents, and they may not be getting the sleep that they need. So how do you manage bedtime when you have children of different ages? Here are some things you can try that has been working for me.


One easy way for younger children to understand an earlier bedtime is to attach their age to the clock. For example, you might say, “When you turn five you can go to bed at eight o’clock.” This helps the child understand that their age impacts the different rules that you have for them. It gives them something to look forward to and it helps them feel like life is a little fairer. The rules aren’t arbitrary; they’re rules because it’s the right thing to do for them at their age.

Tie Bedtimes to Future Responsibilities

The right to go to bed later can be tied to more family and household chores. When your younger child sees that their brother or sister gets to stay up later but they also have to take out the recycling, they may feel a sense of fairness. They can begin to learn that with age comes certain freedoms and also certain responsibilities.

Make Bedtime a Positive Experience

Some children take a while to wind down. You can create a sense of wellness and bond with your child by creating a special bed routine to help them get relaxed and prepare their body for sleep. You might read to them or have them read to you. You might pray before bedtime or talk about the day’s events – both good and bad. It’s a good time for a little one-on-one conversation. When a child can look forward to bedtime and bonding with a parent, they’re less likely to throw a fit about the earliness of the hour.

Be Patient

Bedtime routines can be a challenge for some children. Stay calm, be persistent and non-emotional. Some children may test the limits and get out of bed repeatedly for several nights in a row. The best thing to do is to calmly and quietly usher them back to bed.

Rest assured with patience and persistence, your child will learn that you make the rules and that it’s in their best interest to go along with them. You can help your child by making bedtime fun, by establishing clear-cut rules and guidelines, and by paying attention to your child’s unique needs.

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