How To Create A Bedtime Routine That Works

End the frustrated parents and overtired kids battle once a for all with a perfect bedtime routine that works for your family. Children thrive on routines. Having a bedtime routine is really important for consistent evenings and it decreases the tantrums and attitude that comes along with announcing bedtime. I have 2 children and we have the same routine for each one, and it’s remained the same since my oldest was 2 years old. We have had such success with this routine, I thought I would share it with you.

We rarely have that conversation for that extra glass of water and extra snuggle. Not that I mind giving those away, I just really need my mommy time when the kids fall asleep. That’s why it is really important for me to have a solid bedtime routine.

This routine really does eliminate the extra:

  • Tears (parents and toddlers)
  • Yelling
  • Running Away (from parents)

Sounds like a nightmare! It’s time to tame the sanity.


*This post may contain affiliate links- full disclosure here

Planning The Routine

Before you can successfully create a bedtime routine, you have to consider some factors that may affect the way the routine will go.

  1. How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need? 
    Does your child still nap during the day or do they stay awake until bedtime? Those things can be determined with the help of this chart. 
  2. What Time Should Your Child Go To Bed?
    If you refer back to the chart, you can figure out what time you need to put your child to bed based on the time they need to wake up in the morning.
  3. Decide Where The Child Will Be Going To Sleep
    Will your child be sleeping in their own bed, your bed or a family bed? Establishing a sleep location can help set the bedtime standard by keeping consistency in the routine.

Once you have those things established, it is time to write out your routine. If your routine is written down on paper, or even in chart form, you are more likely to stick to the structure that you have set out. Be sure to include everything from dinner time to the moment they fall asleep so that the whole evening can run like clockwork as much as possible.

If you are having trouble figuring out what time you should put the child to bed, working backwards may help. Take a look at the amount of time it could take to complete all of the tasks on your written list and work backwards from the ideal time you would like your kids to fall asleep.

(Example Of A Bedtime Chart)
Love This?
Click The Image And Download The Chart For Your Own Use

Our Family Bedtime Routine (For The Kids)

My children thrive on routines so much so that we use charts for everything in our lives. The chart you see is our entire bedtime routine but I will go through and breakdown how each section of the routine works.

Our bedtime routine starts about 30 minutes after dinner. The kids get screen time after dinner for half an hour until it’s time to take a bath (or shower).

  1. Bathtime lasts forever in our home. I have to set a 30-45 minute timer (depending on the time the bath started) and the kids get out of the bath when the time on my phone goes off.
  2. After the bath is getting in pj’s. I let my kids choose their own pj’s every night.
  3. (missing on the chart) We have a bedtime snack – usually a peanut butter sandwich or cheese and crackers.
  4. After snack, it’s time to brush the “Sugar Bugs” out of their teeth.
  5. Then my husband and I split up and read a book to each child in their own rooms. If I am on my own for bedtime, I gather both children in one room and we read the chosen books for each child.
  6. After books its lights out and snuggle up with a teddy. Once the kids are calm in their bed I will sing some songs. Favourites in our home are “You Are My Sunshine” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep”
  7. Once the kids are asleep, it’s time to sneak out of the room without waking them up.

This is how I get my 2 energetic boys ages 3 and 5 off to bed every single night, even on weekends.

More Tips For Success

Limit Screen Time

Setting boundaries for screen time can drastically improve the bedtime routine success. It is not recommended for kids to fall asleep watching tv or playing other devices. Set a rule for no screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This could possibly mean that the whole family has to be screen free – think phone, iPad, game boy, tv etc – for a half an hour before the child’s bedtime.

Have Calm Down Time

Just as adults, kids cannot go from wild to calm in 60 seconds. Give them time to wind down from playtime, especially if they were playing hard. Determine which activities are calming for your child. For some kids, bath time can be more energizing than calming and placing the bath part of the evening should be done closer to the start of the routine rather than the end.

Set Up The Sleep Space

Create a calming sleep space for your child to ensure a good nights sleep. Allow a few comforting items in bed such as a favourite teddy or a special blanket, but be sure not to allow too many toys that could be a distraction. Keep the sleeping area clear of clutter to limit the distractions as well.

Start Routine Before They Hit Overtired

Once you have an overtired child, bedtime will not be easy, no matter what kind of routine you have in place. Kids that stay up later can hit the overtired stage fairly quickly and can be very tough to calm back down and you may have a tantrum to deal with during the calm down time.

More Help For Bedtime Battles

9 thoughts on “How To Create A Bedtime Routine That Works”

  1. Great tips here! Someones we incluse some stickles right before bed! Laughter has been shown to help with the production of melatonin production (I have a post about 4 ways to help your child laugh to a better night’s rest ;))… Routine is key!

  2. Bedtime routines are really important to start when they are young. My kids even as preteen/teenagers do really well with a bedtime routine.

    1. tiredmomsupermom

      Routine is KEY to success with kids, in all situations. I’m so glad your routine is working for you

  3. These tips are so amazing! Our oldest is about to turn 2. We are still riding the baby bedtime routine as she is still in a crib, but I know I will have to make some adjustments once we hit the toddler bed. Will be back soon to study more I’m sure 😉

  4. Pingback: the Unscheduled Summer Schedule - Tired Mom Supermom

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.