help with evening time chaos! (x-posted in LWAB) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-25-2011, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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alright mamas I need some suggestions.... I'm going to X-post in LWAB because this involves a toddler and a baby..DS1 is 2.75 and DS2 is 6 mo


for the last month or so we have followed a pretty good routine and our days have been running fairly smoothly... the problem is the evenings.. we eat dinner usually around 6 (when DH gets home) and from there on everything falls apart. Ian is super fussy/clingy but also overstimulated and won't let me calm him down by rocking and doesn't want to nurse, etc. Liam seems to still have energy left in him despite us being outside MUCH of the day. He is bored with everything, doesn't want to play with toys, doesn't want to watch TV, and just basically reaks havoc on the house. DH and I are tired from the long day and very short on patience in the evenings. and since Liam has been taking naps, he doesn't go to bed until about 9:30-10. Ian also is not down for the night until 9:30-10. And I feel like I am spending all evening TRYING to get him to sleep but he won't pass out before that time... except last night where he was out at 8, but then woke up at 9 ready to go and didn't go back to sleep until after 11. We are up at 6 around here.. that is TOO LONG of a day and I just don't know what to do with the evening time to keep both boys happy and occupied..


here is what our "routine" for the day looks like right now--


like7:00- DH leaves for work and we are all making our way out of bed (DS1 is usually up at 6 with DH)

7-8- breakfast, tv for DS1

8-9- DS2 takes first nap, DS1 has some quiet play (drawing, playing with toys, playdo...h, etc)

9-11- we go OUTSIDE or to the park/playground or a playdate.. something that gets us out of the house

11:30- Lunch

12:00- quiet time for DS1 (he usually falls asleep in his room around 12:30) and second nap for DS2

2:00- quiet/nap time over, we head back outside

4:00- come in for showers/cleaning up toys/getting ready for dinner, etc (i let DS1 watch tv while I get dinner ready as well)

5:00- DS2 has his 3rd nap

6:00- DH is home, we eat dinner


from there, it is all downhill. thanks for any advice/ideas!

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#2 of 7 Old 05-25-2011, 07:17 AM
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Do they calm down for bath time?  That's what always works in this house because Wyatt will chill out and play in the bath for 30-45 minutes and Emma will sit happily in her bath seat for about 15 minutes, even if she's overtired.  So we generally do baths at night if we're having a chaotic evening, even if they don't "need" a bath.  Any chance that might work for your boys?


Also, could you try an earlier bedtime?  I know your boys aren't the greatest sleepers and mine have always needed a ton more sleep than other kids their age, but Wyatt and Emma are both always asleep before 8pm (and awake between 6-7am in the morning).  We usually start bedtime routine between 6:30-7, depending on how the night is going and whether we do baths or not.  Emma is sometimes out for the night by 7 (I'll put her in the moby or pass her off to daddy if he's home), and then I can usually read a few books and sing a few songs with Wyatt and leave him to fall asleep by 7:30-8pm and he's asleep pretty quick.  Just another thought.


We've also found that, now that we've started solids with Emma, she will stay pretty content if you give her a chunk of banana and sit her in her high chair.  So that has bought us a few minutes of peace when we really need to pay attention to Wyatt or something.


Does Liam have a favorite toy or activity you could save till the evening?  Like a special art project or book he likes that you can reserve special for when he's freaking out.  Or does he have a lovie or anything that will chill him out?  Wyatt sleeps with a pacifier and blanket that we generally only let him have in bed, but if he's really overwhelmed and acting out, we let him snuggle with his blanket and "baba" on the couch for a bit.  Anything like that for Liam?


That's all I can think of now.  Good luck!  I know how rough it is with two little ones!

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#3 of 7 Old 05-25-2011, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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they do like bathtime, but it def is not a calming activity.. lol


If Liam has a nap, the earliest he will go to bed is 9 pm, and that is on a good night. He only "needs" about 10-11 hours of sleep a day. We have tried every which way to get him more sleep, but it doesn't work. If he doesn't have a nap, he is in bed by 7, but he wakes up multiple times through the night, and is a complete disaster from 4 pm on....


Ian usually takes an evening "nap" around 5.. I have tried holding him off to see if he will go to bed earlier, but he won't. Last night he didn't have his "nap" until 8, and was awake from 9-11.


They are both terrible in the sleep department. Liam still does not STTN and Ian is up every 1-2 hours (if we get a 2 hour stretch it is a good night). They are both sleep fighters as well. So by the evening, I am so so so done. I need more sleep than they are allowing me, but that is another thread...........


solids wise-- Ian LOVES to eat, but I have found that if I let him have more than one or two little tastes of something- his tummy issues are worse. He will have terrible gas for DAYS if he eats too much. he also seems to hate his highchair. he does like to chew on a celery stick or carrot stick during dinner.. but after dinnertime he is so fussy.


i like the idea of an activity for Liam just for the evenings.. I will have to think of something that he can do...


He does not have a "lovey" or binky or anything (never had either) that calms him down. During the day the only time he is calm is when he is watching TV, and I already feel like we are using it too much (we use it for morning time so I can eat breakfast in peace, and while I make dinner, and several short spurts during the day if I need him quiet while I nurse/rock Ian) and he doesn't even want to watch tv in the evenings.


i have tried wearing ian more in the evenings but he is started resisting that.. plus he is heavy (21+ lbs) and it hurts my back (i have an ergo)

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#4 of 7 Old 05-29-2011, 04:07 PM
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It sounds like your older son is not getting enough sleep. I know it is counter intuitive, but lack of sleep makes bed time much harder for us. We have really struggled with too late bedtime throwing everything off. I found the new Ferber book (not the old one) has lots of good information about how sleep cycles work and how to move/fix them when they are out of wack. It is the only book I have found to give information for beyond the baby stage and has far more options than crying it out.


Our two year old has had a move to a new house and a baby sister in the last 6ish weeks, so bedtime is where it really came out. My mum had the idea to take him up pretty early (8 when he was falling asleep at 10) and play quietly in his room. They slowly did the business of going to bed (diaper, PJs, teeth) and spent time playing with his blocks (upstairs toys) and reading books with that one on one attention. Shutting the door and staying in the room is an important part. He calmed down slowly and as she put it "let go of the day". He told her when he was ready for bed and she did the routine of music on, lights out and sat with him for a time. It made what had been an energy draining fight into a special time. He now lets anyone put him down (grandparents have been visiting), it takes far less time and he goes down at least an hour earlier (we have also had gains in the not waking up at 5 am department).

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#5 of 7 Old 05-29-2011, 09:41 PM
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Once daddy is home, can you two each take a child and put them to sleep with their own separate routine? It may make things faster.

Mama to a 3 year old awesome kid, Rowan (aka Mister Boopy) and TTC another at 43!

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#6 of 7 Old 05-31-2011, 06:56 AM
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I agree with the pp who suggested more sleep and an earlier bedtime. Could you feed your boys before DH gets home and maybe give them a bath and get their jammies on? Then when DH comes home the boys could have a snack while he eats his dinner so you all get some family time. After snack you could brush teeth, read books and go to bed. If possible, I would have separate bedtime books for each boy. I know your DH probably wants to play with his boys after work, but if you establish a bedtime routine than everyone will be happier and you will start to pick up on your son's cues when he becomes tired and can get him off to bed before he is overtired.  


DS#1 is now 6 and becomes unbearable when he is overtired. Rather than settling down he gets more hyper. I have endured tons of well-meaning comments from others along the lines of "he sure doesn't look tired to me" as he is launching himself off the couch with no regard for safety.  He just stopped napping at about 5.5. He needs more sleep than most kids his age. I don't allow DH to wrestle with him or play any rough activities because it just amps him up and then he will be up until almost 10pm. He also wakes up around 6am.  


In any case, I think a predictable bedtime routine is key for a toddler. It's hard with a 6 month old because they are not as predictable, but if you stick with it for a couple weeks I think it will payoff.

Just make sure you and DH are on the same page. It has to be hard for him to come home to what seems like total chaos after a long day at work. My boys are similar age gap to yours(now 6 and 4) and I remember this phase being really tough. It does get easier. Hang in there. Good luck. 

Proud Mommy to my amazing boys (6 and 4) and my precious little girl (18 months).

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#7 of 7 Old 05-31-2011, 09:14 AM
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I too have a bad sleeper who also sleeps only about 10-11 hours a day (and has since birth, pretty much!)  He's 22 months.  After we eat dinner and clean up a little, we have been going outside for a short 15-20 minute walk.  We try to time it so that we get home as the sun is just starting to set so that we can talk about how it's getting dark and the sun is going to bed.  Seeing the actual sunset or start of, anyway, makes DS much calmer about going to bed when we go inside.  I don't know if it plays to his circadian rhythms but it has been really helpful for us in the last month or so.  We also limit the outside activity to a walk so that DS knows its not time to kick the ball around or get out the hose or anything.  Sometimes he rides in his wagon and sometimes he just wants to walk.  We let him decide.  Just one idea of a special evening activity that maybe you or DH could do with your older son.  Good luck!

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