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May 2017

Rebecca Reid, author and mother-of-four from Bangor deals with differing bedtimes…

Anyone out there with more than one little one will be able to relate to this. The nightmare of juggling differing bedtimes. And it’s not just that, the decision of how to stagger them, and for how long, is the first hurdle. So you use logic and it generally transpires that the youngest goes down first, then the middle until you work your way up to the eldest. Right? This is logic of course, the littler they are, the more sleep they require. But then, after realising this with not much effort, you suddenly hit the bump in the road that is the bedtime routine. Do you really want to spend every evening doing two, maybe three separate bedtime routines? No sir! By the time you’d be done it would be a quick late-night sandwich and off to bed you go. So this needs dealt with in the most efficient way possible. Now everyone is different, and every family has very individual needs and wants when it comes to bedtime, but for me and my little brood we do it together. Everyone, from small to big, gets washed and changed and snuggles up on the big loungy chair for stories. Then they part ways.

This works beautifully – for now. The eldest comes back downstairs for half an hour or so to get some ‘big girl’ time and chill out with Mummy, while the others get lights on reading time in bed. But little lady number two can’t possibly go to sleep when the youngest does, so when I tuck in big sis for her reading time, the youngest’s light goes out and the middle gets just that little bit longer. Differentiation is so important, and this has previously worked fantastically well for us, but I can now see that things are beginning to get antsy. Now that my number two is seven, she’s starting to wonder when will she get to come downstairs and have some staying up time? When will she get to watch some shows that are too grown up for the littlest Reid? This was to be expected – and I knew it was coming – but the shock horror that this has been to my eldest is almost entertaining. She doesn’t want to share and if she has to then she MUST get longer once her sister goes to bed. To which, I am in a little bit of shock. This is how it happens. This is the unravelling of my glass of wine before a late dinner, or the show I so wanted to watch after having a bath. This is how parenting doesn’t end until nine at night, when you’re ready for bed yourself. How it becomes that everyone is up until they’re too tired to be otherwise and how it’s just easier to keep them all up together and all go down late. This is it – the moments my sisters have complained about. The change in everything that will remain until they are big and grown up.

Well, I can see it but I’m not quite ready for it, no, not just yet… so I’m going to do my best to juggle their routines around that little bit more, but still cling to the light at the end of the evening that every parent longs for. I can run a pretty tight ship at the best of times, so with a few alterations, I’m going to keep this ship sailing as smoothly as ever, with that glass of wine waiting for me long before nine pm, and all three little ladies happily sleeping in their beds.

Come on over to Rebecca’s Facebook Food Blog @freshfoodliving for lots of easy, healthy recipes for you and your family.

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