Almost 6 month old baby number three...two older bros almost 10 and 7.
I need some resources on how to get my girl on some semblance of a schedule.
She is ALL OVER THE PLACE but my life is in chaos, and sanity hanging by a hair.
I started by keeping a log of when my daughter did or needed what for a week or two. Then when the pattern emerged I fine-tuned it to our mutual liking. I find getting her up at the same time, no matter what (unless she's sick) also works. She likes to rise at 8am, but if she had a bad night and was up until midnight, she'll try to sleep until noon. No ma'am. She's up at 8am, she can have all the naps she wants after that, but she's up at 8am. We're doing OK. She's currently teething and sick (oh YAY!) but we're still hitting 65%-75% of nights on target with "unassisted" bedtime - in other words, we kept to our schedule well enough that she had her nursing, her bath and was placed in her bed at 8pm, and she went to sleep. This is our entire goal - 8pm, sleeping baby in her co-sleeper, Mama and Papa with an hour or two of adult time before we join her in bed.
You can do it!
And on 09/23/2011, we were three; husband, daughter, and me!
I agree that going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is key. My guy is a later sleeper than some and we wake up together between 8:00 and 8:30 - bedtime is between 9 and 9:30. This works for us because I have two older children to get ready for bed first. Our whole family gets up around the same time in the morning too.
Like the PP, I get him up then even if he's had a bad night, then he will take a longer morning nap to compensate. Often around this age you will see the 2,3,4 pattern emerge (that I first read about on this forum) = 2 hours between waking up and morning nap, 3 hours between morning and afternoon nap, and 4 hours between afternoon nap and bedtime. It helps for me to keep this in mind when planning our day...although with recent teething pain his naps haven't always been restful so he will sometimes end up getting another snooze in between afternoon nap and bedtime. If he does this I do not let him sleep longer than 20 min and that is enough to tie him over without destroying our bedtime.
It has also really helped me to have an overarching structure to our week. And I am NOT a schedule person in the least, I am very seat of my pants usually. But it helps one's sanity, as you have noted. I have a 6 yo who is off to kindergarten at 8:30 and a 4 yo at home with me every day. Our structure is based on our outings really, which are in between the morning and afternoon naps - Monday, meal planning for the week and grocery shopping, Tuesday, laundry and playground, Wednesday, cleaning up bedrooms and crafts, Thursday, vacuuming and playground, Friday, thrifting and lunch at the cafe (boy do we look forward to that). I clean the kitchen at night after dinner and save the deep cleaning projects such as bathrooms and mopping for the weekends when my husband can hang out with the baby. Our mornings are also very enjoyable - I get my coffee and breakfast for A and then we hang out with books and toys while the baby rolls around on the floor and plays...then she gets to watch a show while I put the baby down for a nap.
My 4 yo does so much better knowing what is in store for us each day as she gets really excited about what is in store and loves to help around the house. It allows me to get everything done around the house that I want to get done without feeling like it's hanging over my head. And also gives me a good balance between work and fun. Hope that helps some!