I have always had an erratic bedtime. If for some reason I get emotionally charged, have too much sugar or caffeine I will not be able to fall asleep. It is a process for me that would ideally include 20-30 minutes of light reading and a dark quiet atmosphere. The emotional charging is the worst and I can spend 2-3 hours watching television in the middle of the night because of an argument with my spouse.
My girls don’t seem to fall asleep very easily either. The three year old is not comfortable sleeping alone. She wants to be in the family bed or have someone with her so she can fall asleep and go back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night.
The baby is another challenge. No one expects kids to sleep through the night, but wouldn’t it be nice if they fell asleep within 15-20 minutes and only woke up once or twice because they are hungry. On the nights that I have woken up with the baby she is not hungry but rather just surprised and alone. After somebody picks her up she will calm down in 15-20 minutes. However 15-20 minutes of agitation can be pretty tough on the household. Also sometimes she is not tired and would like to stay up and play. Spending an hour or two playing with a baby makes it tough to have a productive next day for most people.
I have heard that routines and regular bedtimes are helpful, but our household is not geared for that. Dinner can be anywhere from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Some nights the girls get baths, some nights they do not. Some nights we watch television until 9:00 PM or later. This is most evident with sports. Television dramas and sitcoms are just as entertaining at convenient watch times. Other nights we have to go grocery shopping or run errands. The girls end up going to bed sometime between 9:00 and 10:30 PM and are usually awake between 6:30 and 7:30 AM. This is hardly enough sleep even when combined with a 1.5 to 2 hour nap.
A time will come when they both sleep by themselves or entertain each other in the middle of the night. We will see when that occurs.