It's an issue that is more important, yet sometimes a lot more difficult to manage for multiple families than most: schedules. We all know that keeping multiples on the same schedule is a no-brainer, but how closely we stick to a schedule varies widely between families. This is an issue that tends to fuel a lot of debates within families, and we want to hear your opinions!
This week's Question of The Week is:
How closely do you follow a schedule for your kids?
How old are your kids now? Have you always followed a rigid schedule? The kids are 7 months, 1 week, and 3 days old to be exact. Until about 4 months old, we didn't follow a schedule but responded by "on demand" cues from the girls. We thought it best to feed them when hungry and let them sleep when tired. The first few months with multiples is so hectic that you almost have to do things as they come up. At least, that's what was best for us. Starting at 4 months or so, we tightened the schedule first with a nighttime routine: play, bath, bottle, sleep. Poppy and Olive caught on pretty quickly which was a good sign. Nighttime routine was then followed by the introduction of a morning routine (waking up at about the same time each morning) and 3 naps per day. Soon after, bottles and solid food feedings fell into place. About a month ago, the girls decided to nix their 3 nap schedule and now nap only twice per day. (Note: Keep in mind that all things happen within 30-60 minutes of the ideal time.)
Do you think that your schedule is conducive to healthy sleep patterns in your kids? Absolutely! They usually wake up happy and energized.
Do people give you a lot of flack for being a "schedule Nazi"? How do you respond? Luckily, I have not been labeled as such.
Has your routine become more relaxed as your kids have gotten older? Because they are only 7 months old, the schedule has only gotten tighter as they've grown. But, I'm sure there will come a time when they can deal with some flexibility.
How do you kids react when they are completely off their schedules- and how do you get them back on track? Poppy and Olive can become pretty cranky if they don't nap. This happened the first two weeks of January when the whole family was sick! They were sleeping and eating at their own will since they were not feeling well. To get them back on track when they are not sick, I sometimes gently cut a nap short or keep them awake for a little longer when they are tired. It might sound cruel to some people, but, in the long run, it's better for them... and my sanity!