Alissa at creativewithkids.com posted this question recently in a Community Q&A article post:
How do you keep a baby’s nap schedule when you’ve got multiple kids?
Does anyone have any advice about coordinating schedules with multiple children? I have a preschooler and a baby and would love to to hear some different ideas about how to make our days work. My biggest problem is that it is difficult to maintain the baby’s nap schedule. Seems like it always gets delayed because we’re doing something with big brother. ~Leanna
Here was my response:
My two kids are at pre-school while I work during the week, but when I have them on the weekends this is what I do:
After a nice trip to the park (or running around in our grassy common area), that has sufficiently taken LOTS of energy out of the both of them, we head back to the house. Lunch time! Sometimes BabyGirl will fall asleep on the way back, (if I took a stroller) and she eats when she wakes up. If I visit a park that requires us to drive, we will eat snack/lunch at the park before we leave, because BabyGirl will DEFINITELY fall asleep on the way back-TheBubbster could go either way.
Once BabyGirl (now 18 months) is finished eating, she goes straight to bed, with the door closed. She will whine and cry a little bit, but she is tired and will go to sleep. Then TheBubbster (now 3 1/2 years) gets to finish his lunch and have nice one-on-one time and conversation with ME (Mommie!). This is usually when he tells me the BEST stories! As soon as he is done, wash hands, peepee on the potty, and nap on Mommie & Daddy’s bed.
Yep, you heard that right! Although, at night, my kids share a room, daytime naps are in separate rooms. (If your kids don’t share a room, you won’t have this problem) This decision is 2-fold: 1-BabyGirl is a lighter sleeper at naptime than at bedtime. One crack of that door, or whimper from her brother, and we could have blown ‘Operation-Both-Kids-Sleeping’! 2-Since they fall asleep at different times, they wake up at different times. Just because one child has received sufficient rest, does not mean the other has. Why should the rest of us have to suffer for the remainder of the day with Cranky-Kid, because Sibling woke Sleeper up too soon?
I have come to accept the fact that when I have both kids, and how i choose to handle it, my nap window is smaller than it used to be. I have been lucky enough that both of my kids usually take 3 hour naps, so when their nap start times are staggered, my ‘alone time’ is shortened. However, I am thankful for what I can get! Plus, this allows me small moments of individual attention for each of my children. As I mentioned above, TheBubbster gets my time while BabyGirl is headed to dreamland, but BabyGirl is usually the first to rise. That time before her brother wakes up is filled with cuddles and giggles. I get to enjoy her without the usually ‘battle’ for attention (or toys).
Just how I do it.. but you gotta get the groove, and what works for your own family! I am thankful to only have to coordinate 2.. Lord knows what would happen if there were more (For ME)! I’m sure there are other Mommies out there that are stronger, wiser, and more patient than I! I NEED my nap window, even if it’s SMALL!
There were TONS of other GREAT answers! If your situation is different than mine, check it out (here) to see there is one that would work better for you!