Coordinating Bedtimes

Coordinating Bedtimes

In the past weeks since we moved Bella into a toddler bed and Sophia into the crib in Bella’s room we’ve developed a routine. After dinner we give Bella a bath. Sometimes Sophia joins her. Then Dom dresses her and brushes her hair and teeth, then we all say prayers. Then I go and nurse Sophia in our room while Dom reads Bella her bedtime story (usually a chapter from Winnie the Pooh). After Bella’s story, Dom turns out the light. Then when Sophia is done I move her to the crib. She usually opens her eyes while I’m transporting her or when I put her down and then turns over and goes back to sleep with at most a little whimper.

This all works fine except for one thing. Usually Sophia is getting tired at almost the exact same time Bella is just deciding she wants to eat dinner. Now we’ve tried to feed Bella earlier. She usually has a small snack or meal after getting up from her nap between 4 and 5. Dom and I generally sit down to eat between 6 and 7 and we try to get her to eat then. But she almost always is in play mode and will hop down from her chair to run around no matter how much we cajole. Then around 7:30 or 7:45 she suddenly gets hungry and will go back to her food from dinner or will ask for something else.

Of course by 7:15 or 7:30 Sophie is already fading and by 7:45 she’s rubbing her eyes and whimpering. My tactic up till now has been to keep her up despite the fussiness so that they can go to bed at the same time. Tonight she was just so pathetic we decided to try another plan. Dom gave Isabella her bath while I put nursed Sophie and put her to bed. Then I joined Dom and Bella in our room while he dressed her and groomed her. Then we all said prayers and Bella laid down and pretended to sleep while Dom read a Pooh story. Bella didn’t pay much attention to the story, was very distracted by being in our bed and by my presence. After the story, I carried Bella in and tucked her into her bed after getting her forgotten socks out and putting them on. She confirmed that in the morning I’d be cooking oatmeal for breakfast (evidently she says this every night with Dom) and then I crossed her forehead and left. As I shut the door Sophia woke up and whimpered a bit but quieted down within a few minutes.

We’ll see if this new routine works any better. Certainly I feel much less mean allowing Sophie to go to sleep when she wants rather than keeping her awake when she’s long past cranky. I think Bella will prove to be adaptable as long as we keep enough things consistent.


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  • I just had a flash of my oldest now a senior in college(FUS) doing the same thing. Thanks for that sweet memory. We made a spot in both frig and non frig areas with healthy ready to eat snacks she could get to herself when baby was fussy and needed lots of my attention nursing etc.  Also, made a spot where she could prepare her own drink without watering the entire kitchen. She wanted a big girl glass not spillproof cups!

    Now, my youngest an 11 year old boy usually helps me put food away after we’ve grocery shopped. It’s necessary to tell him what is being saved for meals to be prepared and what is available for his snacking. For instance “no you can’t heat up the frozen lima beans(he loves all beans) that’s our Sunday meal hot veggie” He’s a string bean like his dad that needs to graze all day. So teaching him how to snack healthy was important from toddler years.

    I love your blog so much! Keep up the could work and love for your family. God has used homeschooling to bless my family so much more than I could have ever imagined.  It is worth every moment!

  • We instituted the “ask first” rule to getting things out of the fridge.  I actually make them ask me to do most things first, and my answer is almost always yes, but at least I know what is going on.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all four little ones!

  • I would institute a rule about asking first. Even my teenager still has to ask first – otherwise I would be constantly looking for things that had disappeared!

  • I don’t remember having this come up. Somehow we had snack times and meal times … and at those times if I was doing something else then the girls would come tell me that they wanted something and I’d tell them that they could go get it.

    However, once they got old enough they usually helped me put food away and, like Annina, I’d point out special things that I’d gotten for snacks or things that I had earmarked for a recipe. Of course, everyone’s trained to this. Tom will ask me if it’s ok for him to eat certain things or if “they’re being saved for something.”

    That’s all a long way of saying, “Go with your gut.”  What makes you comfortable? Believe me, that girl will be plenty independent no matter what you do. It is built in, it seems to me. grin

  • Cecilia opens the fridge and freezer too. I’ve taken to keeping any ice cream on the top shelves. For the most part the only things she can reach are fruits and veggies, but she has gone in and taken out tomatoes, carrots, ranch dressing, and grapes. Personally I can’t see scolding her for learning how to do what she sees us doing every day. I would just make a point of keeping the things she might go after that you wouldn’t want to without you higher up.

    Unfortunately, I still have to work on the “close the door when you are not in the fridge/freezer” part.