Strategies for Thriving With Two Little Kids

I have two boys ages two and under and they are so cranky after afternoon nap time. Any tips for surviving until bedtime? – a follower

The last 4-5 hours of the day can be so hard when you have little ones. Here are a few ideas that have worked for us over the years:

1. Have a Routine.

Kids thrive on some consistency — and it can be such a help to you, too. After they wake up from their nap, have a simple plan of what you will do between nap time and bed time. I’ve found that this helps things feel less chaotic, it usually means there is less crying and crankiness, and I feel calmer because we have a simple plan.

Tip: Don’t plan specific times. Just plan an order of events to follow.

Example routine:

  1. As soon as they wake up from their nap, we’ll have a snack and read a story together (while they are eating).
  2. Then we’ll get shoes on and go out for a walk in the double stroller.
  3. Next, we’ll come back in and watch a 30-minute show (while Mom quickly makes sure that the house is clean and finishes dinner prep).
  4. Then, we’ll wash hands and eat dinner.
  5. After dinner, we’ll take baths, get jammies on, and read a bedtime story.
  6. Finally, we’ll pray together, sing a song, and get tucked into bed.

2. Don’t plan to get anything done after nap time.

Mentally prepare that the only thing you’ll be doing between afternoon nap time and bed time is just spending time with your little ones. That way, you aren’t feeling frustrated if they are cranky. Instead, you planned that they would need your full attention!

3. Save the best for last.

If there are things your littles especially love, save those to do after nap time. Don’t plan to do anything that requires mental effort or emotional bandwidth. If your littles love baths, watching a show, or certain books or activities, plan to do those after nap time.

4. Have a few changes of scenery.

Take a walk with the double stroller. Put them in their car seats and go drive around for a little while. Go play in a different part of the house. Bring out toys they only get to play with after nap time.

5. Give yourself lots and lots of grace.

Have a toddler and a baby is a lot of work. Make sure you are filling up your tank and also saving something you enjoy/can look forward to for the after nap time, too. Maybe listen to an audiobook while you take them on a walk, or turn on music you love while you play with the, or make a cup of tea and have a treat while you sit and watch a show with them.

What advice would you add for this mama of two littles? Share in the comments1

Take time to refuel and refresh your tank — you can’t just give and give without ever replenishing your supply!

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