Bedtime Routines for Toddlers

Posted on Jan 25 2013 - 4:55am by Markell


I had always heard that a bedtime routine was an important part of a kids day, but I never really believed anyone. My son went to bed really well and we never had any sort of a routine. I had heard other people saying how they have these long elaborate routines which involve bouncing on medicine balls and singing for hours on end and I didn’t want any of that. When we threw another baby into the mix however, things got a little more difficult. He had a harder time going to sleep, and something needed to change. So, I decided to try a routine. It looks like this:

a snack and drink of milk
clean up and put on pajamas
take vitamin
brush teeth
read a book
say prayers
go to sleep

The whole routine takes us about 15 minutes. I have come to really enjoy it and look forward to the one-on-one time I get to spend with one of my kids. Right now, only my son follows the routine. I started it with him when he was about 16 months old. It took him about three days to get used to it. Now, four months later, he knows it by heart. He goes and gets his pajamas after he finishes his snack, heads to the bathroom after he eats his vitamin, gets a book after he brushes his teeth, and reaches for his crib after we say prayers. He knows what comes next, and he is excited for it.

Here are my tips for you if you are considering implementing some sort of routine, or if the routine you have isn’t working:

Keep it simple

You don’t want to be spending your whole evening getting the kids ready for bed. And the simpler it is, the quicker your kids will catch on. 

Be consistent

If it doesn’t happen often, it’s not a routine. If you want this to work, you have to stick with it. It may seem hard at first, but I promise it was worth it (for my kids anyway.) Stick with it for just two weeks and I think you’ll notice your kids going to bed easier.

Change it up sometimes

I noticed that my son was getting upset if we did things different than normal. Now, my purpose in doing this routine is to get him ready for bed, not to get him used to doing the same things every day. So, I started to change things up sometimes. Sometimes we put pajamas on after we brush teeth. Sometimes we read a story first. For the most part, I follow the routine I laid out earlier, but I want my son to be able to adapt to change and be okay with it. After I changed it a few times, he was fine with it. And it makes it easier if we ever can’t follow the routine exactly (if we’re visiting family or something.)

Those are my suggestions for starting a good bedtime routine for a toddler. If you are having problems getting your kids ready for bed, I suggest you try it. You have nothing to lose. What works for your family? Any tips that might make my routine run better?

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2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. angela January 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    “THREW ANOTHER BABY INTO THE MIX?” Perfect wording for a cooking blog

    Markell, you have a real flare for writing. But, when do you get anything else done?

    • A Mouse In My Kitchen January 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      I inherited my writing flare 🙂 And it’s all about multitasking! I actually only write about an hour a day, when the kids are asleep. Also, my kids both sleep a lot, so I have a lot of time to get things done when they sleep.

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