Unique Challenges: Age gap

Meet Bri and her girls:

What are the unique challenges that you have on a daily basis in the setting you live in?I have a wonderful 7 year old and an adorable 2.5 year old. And I am not biased at all. =)

Having kids with such an age gap has caused a bit of anxiety for my routine-loving-self and involved some creativity at bedtimes. 

Something that has been a challenge for me is school pick up for my oldest child. Her school dismisses at 2:50pm, and we need to leave to pick her up at 2:30pm. But my youngest needs a nap!

Prior to having that pick up time I would put my 2.5 year old down for her nap around 1:30pm, but with her wind down time in the crib (she usually sings to herself for 45 min) she wouldn’t have anytime to sleep. 

After a few deep breathing exercises (any other type A mama’s out there?), I resolved that she would adapt just like she had with pick up times during the preschool era for the oldest and infancy for my littlest. We bumped up wake up time, made mornings extremely active, make sure to eat lunch around11am and begin winding down around noon. 

A second challenge I have faced with a toddler and a (gulp) big kid, is that they have different bedtimes. I want my toddler in bed at 7:30pm but allow my oldest to stay up till 8:30pm. 

We have discovered that we all need to do a family bedtime routine together where both kids brush their teeth, read stories and have a massive tickle fight with dad. This helps signal to my oldest that things are transitioning to almost bedtime, and helps my toddler not feel left out and wondering what her big sister is getting to do. 

(Bonus: it also means I only have to wipe toothpaste residue off the counter one time). 

(Double bonus: my oldest READS the bedtime story to my youngest so I get to check off her reading homework AND have my heart melt into a puddle all at once). 

After the tickle fight and story my oldest excuses herself from the room to “go to the bathroom” (her idea). My husband and I have a few minutes with our toddler together then we put her to bed. We call the next hour my oldest’s “glory hour”- we do the precious crafts with tiny parts, talk about our days, watch baking competitions together, whatever tickles our fancy. Then, she quietly puts herself to bed and the house becomes eerily quiet. 

How do your kids respond to these challenges?

They have responded great! My oldest knows she needs to get ready for bedtime an hour early, but her reward is special time with mom/dad.  I have noticed my youngest is more flexible than my oldest was at this age, she can nap in the car, tolerate being woken up from nap, and even skip it all together if I need her to. 

Do any of these challenges affect your child’s sleep?

Not that they have told me or that I have noticed =). 

Have you used Sleepy cues’ services Before? How did it help you face any of these challenges?

I haven’t used Sleepy Cues’ formally, but have caught some drips of wisdom from them. I would say I solved my challenges by crowd sourcing information from other mamas and trying different things to see if they work.