A bedtime routine should be essential in every household. It can change a tantruming two year old into a peaceful child. It takes time and discipline to develop a great bedtime routine, but once it is established and everyone gets the hang of it, putting your children to bed will be a breeze.
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Recently Baby T has been having a hard time going to bed. Our routine, which really wasn’t a true routine, would always start with her crying and throwing herself on the floor. It was time in implement a serious bedtime routine. Even after only one night, with a healthy routine, I noticed a huge difference in her behavior.
Children, especially toddlers, thrive with routines. Structure gives them defined boundaries, helps them know and predict what is to come next and helps them feel safe.
Our Bedtime Routine
6:00 Clean Up
We start our evening by cleaning up the toys Baby T was playing with. Getting her involved in the cleanup process has been extremely helpful. She is learning responsibility and I have less to clean up after she goes to sleep.
6:10 Bath Time
Bath time doesn’t happen every night but when it does we try to schedule it in early enough so it doesn’t mess with any other part of the routine.
6:30 Pajamas On
I try to use pajama time as a opportunity for Baby T to make her own choices. Most night she will pick out her own pjs from her dresser drawer. If she is struggling I will pick two for her to choose from.
6:40 Brush Teeth
This is the part of our routine that gets forgotten the most, but we are getting better at it! It is also one of Baby T’s favorite parts because she get to use her stool and put her own toothbrush under the water.
Related Article: Toddler’s Teeth Brushing Routine
I make an effort to give Baby T enough time on the potty and even some alone time (most child, like most adults, prefer to go in private). During this time she usually reads a book or plays with a toy.
6:50 Read A Book
Baby T picks a book off her book shelf and we all sit together on the couch to read it. I will also braid Baby T’s hair into a protective hairstyle while her dad reads the book.
6:55 Lay Down
Once the book is over it is time for bed. Baby T checks to make sure she has everything she wants in her bed before climbing in. I will tuck her in and we will each say a goodnight prayer.
7:00 Lights off
What makes a good bedtime routine?
1. Listen to your child. Allow them to have a say in how parts of the routine go.
2. Experiment. Somethings work better for different families and other thing work better at different times. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what works best for your family.
3. Stay Consistent. Consistency is and forever will be key. Children trust and understand consistency.
Establishing this routine with Baby T has completely changed our evenings. She now gets ready for bed with barely a fuss and goes to sleep faster. There are days that I forget our routine and every time that happens our evening does not go as planned. I created a bedtime template to help us remember each part of our routine every single night.