Two Kids with Two Different Schedules

Updated on September 05, 2008
D.R. asks from Utica, MI
5 answers

Hello...where do I start? I have two children. My son just turned 3 and my daughter is 16 months old. Until recently, both my kids would go to bed around 8 pm; sometimes my daughter would even go to bed at 7:30 if she had a very short nap (she naps just once a day. My son gave up his afternoon nap months ago.)

Now, my daughter is starting to change things around. Instead of taking her nap around 12:30, she is constantly fighting me and won't go down until about 1:30, maybe even 2. She sleeps 2.5 - 3 hours. Since her naptimes are later, she isn't ready for bed until about 9:00, if not later. This is NOT cool with my son, who understandably won't go to bed until his little sister does.

Before I had my daughter, my son's schedule was pretty relaxed. Since I am a SAHM and he was an only child, he would just go to bed when he was tired, plain and simple, no matter the time. We had a routine, but it was not as "set in stone" as it is now. Now, I wish I could let things be as relaxed as they used to be, because if that were the case, I would just let my son stay up until my daughter goes to bed. Unfortunately, my son will NOT sleep in these days. If he goes to bed late (like 9 is now considered "late" for him), he doesn't sleep as well through the night and he actually wakes up much earlier, like 6:30, and is crabby or whiny all day.

I guess my question is, can I go against my daughter's "natural clock?" How do I get her to go back to her old schedule--is that even possible? It's so frustrating because my husband works late and is not home in the evenings to help me out! How can I handle these two different sleep schedules? Am I even making any sense? I know what I want to say but it seems like I am having a hard time getting it all out.

Any advice is appreciated! Thank you!


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answers from Detroit on

hey D.! "yes" you can go against your daughter's "natural" schedule! i give you permission to do so! Lol! when does she wake up? perhaps you can wake her up earlier (no, i'm not crazy!) and this may prompt her "natural" clock to kick in for the nap at the earlier hour that works best for the rest of the family. tots at this age ...their "clocks" are changing anyways as they, think of it as "coaching" her sleep pattern... and perhaps there's some tweaking that's neccessary for your son too? my Mom used to put us (sis and I are 4 yrs apart) to bed at the same time.... regardless of age...regardless if we were tired, etc... and we turned out just fine! take care!! remember, this phase is temporary!!



answers from Detroit on

Babies don't have "natural clocks." They respond to what the parents initiate. Therefore, wake her up earlier in the morning so she will nap earlier in the afternoon. If she sleeps so long at a nap that she can't settle down for bedtime, wake her up at naptime. It is all a cycle. :) You just need to "reset" the schedule.



answers from Detroit on


I think everyone below has already given you great suggestions. There are a million different ways you can 'tweak' her schedule. Just go with your gut and give something a try for at least a few days or a week b/f you move on to another idea. Up earlier, shorter nap (2 hours only?), etc.

I just wanted to chime in to say as well, "Yes", it is possible to go against her natural sleep patterns. If you think it's in the best interest of the family to have them sleeping at the same time, you can make it happen. I have twin boys that are 2, and they have always wanted to be on slightly different sleep schedules. Each has had to 'compromise' a bit along the way, but I've always managed to keep them ont he same schedule. Sometimes I feel bad about it (I know one of my boys would love to sleep later in the morning...if his brother didn't wake him up -- and us too), but I do think it's in the best interest of the family to have them stay in synch. And that includes me!

Good luck, and just keep 'tweaking' and trying different things until you find what works. :)




answers from Detroit on

I think you have lots of things you could try.
1. Hold firm with your son. His bed time is 7 pm regardless of his sisters. You have two different kids with two different sets of needs. What one goes for one is not always the case for the other. They need to learn this because, these situations will continue to happen as they both grow older.
2. When your son wakes up at 6:00, tell him it is too early and he must go back to bed. Don't get up yourself and keep his room completely dark. If there is no one up at 6, and there is nothing to do, he will hopefully, find it boring and sleep later the next day. Keep at this, it may take some days.
3. You could start your daughters whole day earlier. Then, she would have an earlier nap time and bed time.

When I get frustrated, like you are, and I can't seem to find an answer, I've found that a nap for me can make all the difference. Then, I can see everything in a new light. Find a friend or babysitter to watch your son for a few hours and take a nap when your daughter does. I think you will find a solution that everyone can live with. Good luck.



answers from Detroit on

What time does she wake up in the morning? Start there. What I would do is set her morning wake time by waking her up at the same time every day.. that way you can control how early she naps. If she is waking up at 8 and won't take a nap until 1:30 then wake her up at 7 instead and put her down at 12:30. You are the mom, you set the nap times and bed times. 9:00 is too late for a baby to stay up and I am sure that your son won't mind if his sister is waking up before him rather than going to bed later.

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