My recent “most requested” blog post has been to write one about how I juggle three kiddos at bedtime. And I figured I shouldn’t wait until the dizziness has subsided from doing this for the past three and a half months. I should write it now! LOL.
It’s no secret that I’m a single mama, and so the majority of the time I do this routine solo. It’s nice when I have somebody helping me with it, but I knew I needed to develop a routine that I could do easily (or relatively easily) all by myself.
It isn’t perfect, and to be honest, occasionally I’m almost in tears by the end of it if one or more of my kids is having an off night and not listening. I’m a normal Mom and my kids are normal kids! It doesn’t always go off without a hitch.
However, I think this routine is the absolute best I could come up with and I find that it’s generally easy on all four of us. I wanted to share today, since I know some other Moms are in the same boat, or expecting their third and curious about what bedtime is like.
I decided to use time frames to structure this post, since I think that would help put it in context. Let me know if you have any other questions that this post doesn’t answer!
I previously wrote about my Solo Bedtime Routine with Two Kids here.
Bath Time for the Bigs!
Normally Mateo is still sleeping from his last nap of the day by this time. My kids eat dinner at 5pm, so they’re ready for the bath by 5:30. I give them a quick bath together, and then put them in Pajamas and brush their teeth. If Mateo is up during this, I put him in a bouncy chair in the bathroom with us and cross my fingers. LOL. For the bouncy chair, I love the Baby Bjorn one because it’s easy to carry around the house and folds up flat.
iPads For Bigs + Time To Wake Up Mateo
I set the kids up, each with their own iPads, in their beds. I have Beats headphones that they wear so that I don’t have to listen to them fighting about turning down their respective shows. I allow them to watch the PBS Kids app, the Disney+ app, and the Netflix app (with MEGA parental controls in place). Since I’m not with them in the room, I want to make sure I’m on board with whatever they may watch, and as we all know Youtube Kids can get a little…weird.
Mateo normally wakes up from his last nap by 6pm, but if he’s not I’ll let him go until 6:15 and clean up the playroom a little with those 15 minutes.
Big Kids Bedtime Supplies:
The classic 10.2″ Apple iPad.
Light Weight Convertible Shock Proof Stand Friendly Kids Handle Case for iPad
If you’re going to invest an iPad for your kids, I would recommend also investing in durable, shock-resistant case, like this one! I also love that this one has a built-in stand!
The iPad Mini is another great option for kids, since it’s smaller and comes with more memory.
Light Weight Shock Proof Handle Friendly Convertible Stand Kids Case for iPad Mini
Since you’re not saving any money buying an iPad Mini, I also suggest a good case, and perhaps AppleCare? LOL.
Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet
This is a great affordable tablet option similar to the iPad Mini. It’s 7″ wide, comes with a build-in case, and also the added assurance that if your kids break it, Amazon will replace it!
Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet
This is a more affordable option of the iPad. It’s 10″ wide, the screen is in HD, it has 12 hour battery life, and comes with a worry-free 2 year guarantee.
Solo 3 Wireless Headphones (2 Pack) - Mickey's 90th Anniversary Edition
Beats by Dr. Dre
These are the headphones I have for both kids! They’re pricey, but they’re great.
Light Up Foldable Stereo Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
These are a great, cheaper alternative to Beats headphones and they come in a few colors!
Mateo’s Bath Time
I bathe Mateo, and then get him all snuggly in his jammies, and put him in his sleep sack.
I turn off the lights in his room, turn on the sound machine, and leave the door open to the hallway while I feed him his bottle so I can hear if any craziness goes down in his siblings’ room. Normally they are so excited to be watching their iPads that they act like perfect angels.
Twice we have had a “Mom, can you wipe me?!” emergency in the middle of Mateo’s bedtime, but so far so good! LOL.
Mateo is usually done with his bottle and burped by 7pm.
Bedtime For the Bigs!
After putting Mateo in his crib and shutting the door, I go down the hall for Bigs Bedtime! They’re pretty good about relinquishing iPads and not whining too much when it’s time to snuggle. I will occasionally read one book to them before bed, but I would say that the major downside of putting three kids to bed on your own is that there isn’t much time for books at night. I hope that when Mateo is a bit older and can bathe WITH them that I can reinstate the books before bed, and read to all three. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much for now.
I snuggle Major and Marlowe separately in their beds for about 5-10 minutes each, and sing them each a song and/or chat. Then I tell them the plan for the next day.
7:30PM / 7:45PM
Mommy goes downstairs to drink wine and stare at the wall. KIDDING (kind of).
Photographs by Julia Dags