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One of the best memories of my childhood was giggling and chatting with my little sister while we were meant to be sleeping. Mum put us to bed at 7 and we just weren’t tired then. We fell asleep when we got tired, probably after an hour. Put them to bed early and let them chat for a while. It’s a great bonding experience!
Two years ago, I also had such a situation. I've put both the girls (at the time 10 and 7 yr/old) to bed at 7pm, lights out and quiet at 8pm. The 10y/o protested that 7pm was a toddler bedtime, but I said, it was not by age, but because of their staying awake. And I said, if your sister will be used to go asleep at 8pm, your bedtime can be raised again.
After about a month, this routine was succesful, so I left her choose: or going to bed early, and romping and giggling until 8pm, or staying up until your little sister is asleep. I was surprised, se chose to chat, giggle and romp together, despite the earlier bedtime.
And they still go to bed at the same time, nowadays :).
Thanks for your answers! I will put both the girls to bed at 7pm. They can be chatting and giggling until 8pm, and then lights off and quiet. I'll wait and see if this will succeed!
The youngest enjoys not being waiting until her big sister comes into bed. The eldest however was shocked, to be put to bed at "such a childish bedtime". So I explained, her sleeping time is unchanged at 8pm, they only get more fun time before, but she kept being sad and grumbling. So I said, we'll try this scheme for a few weeks. If successful, we'll go on longer.
To keep it more pleasant for the girls, I've introduced a bedtime sticker chart: if they're both in bed at 7pm, they get a sticker. At ten stickers they both will gett a small present as a reward.
The youngest is excited about this new method. The eldest also goes to bed at 7pm, but reluctantly and moaning, growling and grumbling. She needs time to get used to the new routime, I presume.
The first evening both the girls were in bed at 6.58pm. So they got the first sticker on their card, but they were noisy until about 9pm, unfortunately.
Next evening, the 7yo was in bed at 6.55pm, but the 11yo was struggling and was not in bed until 7.10pm. So the youngest was sad, for missing the sticker. At 6.50 she had recommended her sister "going to bed, for not missing our sticker". The girls were quiet about 8.40pm.
If both cards are successful, I'll maintain this new routine for both the girls.
If only the card for the youngest will be successful (in bed at 7pm and asleep at 8pm), I'll consider to continue the sticker card only for the 7yo, and to raise the bedtime for the 11yo to 8pm or later.
I had the same problem but my girls stayed up to about 11pm...nothing worked until we built another room