DDs (2.5 and 5) have been wanting to sleep together. The problem is, of course, they don't actually sleep!
We've had 2 nights. We did the normal routine (potty, teeth, books, prayer, hugs, kisses) except they stayed in the same room instead of moving to separate rooms to finish off separately. They've been up till or past midnight both nights. I expected it to be a bit of a party for a while, but it's clear that I or DH will need to be more involved for a while to make this work. An adult staying in the room won't automatically calm them down. DD1 in particular finds talking irresistible. She's not trying to misbehave, it's just who she is and it keeps DD2 up. What I envision is being stuck in a room with them constantly reminding them it's bedtime, please lie down... for hours... and getting frustrated and short about it -- not exactly all that helpful.
So I'd like some suggestions of something that would actually help.
I feel like I should note that DD1 has always been a terrible sleeper and hasn't made it to bed with adult help without her sis before 10pm for something like 6 weeks. DD2 isn't a whole lot better. They're both pretty spirited. Does this have any chance at working? It would be great if they could keep each other company -- strengthen their sister relationship and give DH and I a break. Vacations have been non-existent because of the sleep situation (one at bed at midnight, the other getting up at 5, getting worse each day we're gone), and I think if they get the hang of going to bed together that might really help out. We're also thinking about having another baby, and if we did, they would need to share a room.
Could they listen to a book on CD together, as part of a new routine. Might satisfy the one's need for talking at bedtime, they could likely sit together for it. I know my dd1 who's always had hard bedtimes -- doing this really did help her calm down enough.
Even something that let them be a *little* active - nighttime yoga (like the little kid sleepy time yoga book) - but be okay for them to do at bedtime. You could point out to them that doing that together is okay as part of bedtime, instead of quite as much giggling/talking/playtime in bed or other things they do that are problems.
Have a basket of bedtime-only toys (we have some wooden paper-dolls, certain workbook/coloring books, etc that are by my dd1's bed for doing in bed).
Thanks for these great suggestions!!!
I thought I'd tried everything at one point or another for DD1, but intentional movement never crossed my mind. I stayed in the room with them and we did "kitty stretches" and "ballerina arms" -- much better than 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed! I'll be checking out the book. They fell asleep normally late at 9:45 and 10:30 -- a big improvement from midnight.
The audio book idea is also amazing. I tried it a couple of years ago in a slightly different situation without much success, but they are ready for it now. Instantly quiet and entranced! We're heading to the library today to get a couple more.
Still thinking about what I should put in the bedtime only toys. Thanks so much mumkimum; you have helped so much.