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Having a toddler and newborn is such a precious thing. However, it is also challenging and exhausting.
We hear all the time that mamas need to practice self-care. One way to do that is to schedule regular breaks for yourself during the day (See my SAHM routine –> HERE).
This can be quite easily achievable when there’s only one kid in the picture. Your toddler/preschooler naps from x-y every day and that is your alone time.
But what happens when you add another child to the mix? It can be tricky, but I can assure you that it is possible to have both children’s naps line up.
Keep reading to find out the steps to follow.
1) Identify Which Child Is More Flexible
The first thing you need to do is identify which child is more flexible.
Which one absolutely MUST nap during a certain time? Often times one child has higher sleep needs than the other.
Deciding which child is more flexible is unique to each family. Some newborns can just go with the flow, while others need a fairly strong routine from the get-go.
Whichever child it is for you, realize that you can work their routine around the other one in order to achieve a synced up nap time.
Initially, it is easier for me to work my newborn’s routine around my toddler’s nap time.
By the time my kids are over the age of one, they’re more set in their routine and it becomes difficult to shift things.
Whereas, with my newborns, I can switch up the start of the day fairly easily.
2) Nail Down Your Ideal Nap Time
What time of the day do you want their nap to fall during?
For us, it is 1-3pm. Again, for every family, this will be different.
We start our day at 7 am, so that is why that nap time works for us. If you start your day later, your nap time might be later, and if you start it earlier, it might be earlier.
Work out what suits your children and your family.
For example, if your 2-year old needs to be down for their nap at 1:30 pm, then work from that time.
3) Start At The Beginning of the Day
The next thing you want to do is write out the schedule.
TRUST ME when I say that you will not be able to retain the information by memory alone.
Having a set wake up time for both children will set the tone and rhythm for the remainder of the day (Read more about that –> HERE).
When my daughter was a newborn and my son was 18-months old, I got the newborn up at 6:30 am, and my son up at 7 am. This meant two things: I got to feed the baby in peace, and it also meant that their routines synced up in the afternoon.
It is understandable to be tempted to let the kids sleep in if they will. However, if you want predictability and guaranteed nap time in the afternoon then it is worth the sacrifice of a sleep-in.
4) Realise Things Will Change
In the beginning, their naps didn’t sync perfectly, but I got at least an hour to myself.
Over time, as my daughter dropped naps and lengthened the ones she held onto, I ended up having more like 2 hours to myself.
Now, at age 3 and 18-months, I get 2 hours to myself and one hour with just my son. My daughter naps from 12-3 pm and my son from 1-3 pm.
*Update – I now have 3 little people to care for. Jack is almost 4, Annie is 2, and Charlotte is 3-months. I get 1 hour to myself in the afternoon from 2-3 pm.
Once Charlotte moves to a 4-hour feeding schedule, I will get 1-3 pm to myself as all three children will be napping/having quiet time.
5) Enforce Quiet Time
Kids drop their naps at different ages. They also have sleep regressions. One thing that we enforced from the getgo was quiet time.
Regardless of whether my children actually slept during nap time, they had to stay in their beds and rest.
The regressions passed and naps returned, but in the meantime, everyone still had a break from each other during the day (and I kept my sanity intact!).
If you’re interested in finding out what quiet time looks like for us, then check out this post –> How to Transition Your Child from Nap Time to Rest Time
You also may find that around age 2, your child will go through a pretty challenging sleep regression. Read this post for my tips to overcome it –> How to Conquer the 2.5 Year Sleep Regression
6) Take Advantage of Independent Play
I’ve got a great post on what independent play is and how to implement it –> HERE.
If you haven’t used it before, then I HIGHLY recommend starting it.
Every morning when my daughter would go down for her first nap, my son would have his independent play time. No, they weren’t both napping, but they were both happily occupied and safe.
This meant that I could take that time to get ready for the day. To this day, that is when I get to take my shower, get the laundry on, meal prep dinner, and sometimes write a blog post (like I’m doing now!).
Getting your children to nap at the same time takes time and patience.
The first year of a baby’s life is filled with change which includes their routine. However, if you put in the hard work now, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits down the road!
Until next time!
Hi! I’m Christine. I am a former registered nurse, turned stay-at-home mom, turned work-at-home mom!
Motherhood has always been my passion and blogging has only added to that and given me a creative outlet to share about the things I love.
As my blog has grown, my desire to share the knowledge of what makes my life less stressful, simplified, and more fulfilled has become one of my driving forces.
I have a heart for mothers that feel as though they are just existing from day to day and are longing for more. You can find out more about me and my family over on my ‘About Me‘ page.
As well as the abundance of posts you’ll find on my blog, you can also find me over at Today Parenting.