Toddler Bedtime Routine

Toddler bedtime routine
Toddler Bedtime Routine

End the frustrated parents and overtired kids battle once a for all. 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)

Before we get to the actual bedtime portion of it, I want to tell you about our actual day because if your day starts 3 hours after ours or 2 hours before ours, then your bedtime routine may look a lot different. I just want to level with you, mom to mom, what goes on in my household during the day because our day certainly impacts bedtime.

I also want to state that even though this routine works wonders for us, there are the rare evenings that all hell breaks loose and our regular routine doesn't fly.

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What Our Day Looks Like

I do have a child that goes to kindergarten at 8 am for a couple of hours so our day tends to start pretty early. I for one get up an hour before my kids so I can get my blogging duties out of the way and spend the day with my full attention on the kids.

I wake up my kids at 6:45 and get their day started. We leave the house at 7:30 for school and I bring both kids with me to the front door of the school to drop my oldest off for 8 am. (We have only been late 4 times in 4 months and I am damn proud of that!)

While my kindergartener is at school I entertain my toddler with finger painting, homemade playdough, colouring, and other various arts and craft activities. We have so much fun together and I really cherish this time to spend with just the 2 of us. We only have a few short hours to get our bonding on and then we drive over to school to pick up my Kindergartener.

After Kindergarten, my 5-year-old is usually awful tired, so I make sure there is no screen time after school, at least not until after lunch.

I usually spend some time catching up on housework while the kids run wild after lunch. I get pretty exhausted by 2 pm!

This is why I call myself tiredmom supermom! I try my best to be the best momma but I'm always SO TIRED! Read my open letter titled dear tired momma here.

We spend our afternoons reading and writing and then around 2 pm I let the kids watch some TV or play with the Ipad or the ever-popular Nintendo DS that my 5-year-old has a tough time putting down most days.

I usually start dinner at 4 and we eat by 5:30 pm.

The Bedtime Routine

When our day goes to the standard outline I wrote about previously, our nighttime routine seems to go pretty smoothly. If there was a nap somewhere in the afternoon, then I can guarantee that all hell will break loose and my Toddler will be up till 10 pm and end up sleeping in my bed all night.

at 5:30 pm we eat our dinner and then the children play until bathtime at 6:30.

We have a bath every second night, if there is no bath that night, I'll spend extra time reading and writing with my 5-year-old while my toddler colors next to us.

After bath or reading time, I get pretty strict with the timeline of the evening.

By 7:30 both kids MUST have their pj's on and be sitting at the table eating a bedtime snack.

I know what you're thinking, they just ate dinner, how can they be hungry for a snack already? Well believe it, they are food monsters!! Love them, but man do they eat a ton.

Bedtime snack at our house includes anything from toast with butter, waffles with a tiny amount of jam, oatmeal, or a bowl of cereal. I let the kids choose their own cereal at the store so most of their stuff is full of sugar. I gave up on the healthy cereal battle many years ago because my husband was not on my side on this one.

After snack, it's time to brush those sugar bugs out of their teeth. We have so many different options of toothpaste to choose from that it is fun for them to pick a paste and brush their teeth. This used to be a big struggle, but I found having various characters of toothpaste available really helps...even if it is the same toothpaste flavor in each one. Super Mario seems to win most of the time though. Again, a battle I will not fight if it gets the kids brushing without a struggle.

After brushing their teeth I get my Kindergartner to pick out his clothes for the next day and my husband and I split the next portion of the routine because the kids are now in their own rooms. Before they had their own rooms, we just had one of us do the routine in their bedroom and it took the same amount of time.


Getting Them To Sleep

My toddler needs a little extra attention during the bedtime process because he is still small and that's ok.

When it's time to go to bed, we close the bedroom door and go to the book bin - yes we use a bin because our shelf broke and I don't mind this solution-  and he will pick out a book. His absolute favorite book is called "Hush Little Puppy". If he isn't in the mood for Hush Little Puppy, we read a "series" of Paw Patrol board books that take 1 minute per book because there are 4 words per page. Regardless of which book or books we read, as soon as the story is over my toddler has no issues putting the book right back where he found it, turning on his Marshall nightlight and running off his bedroom light. He crawls into bed and requests a song. I sing only 2 songs at bedtime because if I have too many options for songs it becomes complicated when asking him to choose a song. I sing "You Are My Sunshine" or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".

I only sing each song 3 times. Once I've sung each one 3 times, I stop singing and sit in silence.

It usually takes less than 5 minutes after the last song and my little dude is snoring away.

I find that the longer I sing, the longer he stays awake. And there are definitely times that he falls asleep while I am singing my rounds but often times he needs complete silence to fall asleep.

Sneaking out the bedroom is a whole different story. We have some super squeaky floors in his room and the squeaks are unavoidable when sneaking out. I've done the bum scootch, the hop to the door, the army crawl and more creative things just to get out of that room without waking him up. It's pretty funny when my husband does it because watching a grown man scootch across the floor on his bum into the hallway while closing the door is a pretty funny sight.

We usually have both kids asleep by 8:30 pm.

I usually get about an hour or so to blog, or watch a tv show before I conk out for the night too!


Toddler Bedtime Routinne
Toddler Bedtime Routine Chart

Do you have a bedtime routine? Comment below if you do.  I am always curious to know what other parents do in the evening to get their kids to sleep.

24 thoughts on “Toddler Bedtime Routine

    1. Bedtime is not easy! Especially when both parties are exhausted by the end of the day. I hope your son finds this useful

  1. Dang — where were you when my kids were little?! Oh, well, no worries — I recently became a grandpa, so I’ll just pass this right along to my son. Going to sit back and see what happens… 😉 Thanks!

  2. I have three kids and a few years ago they were ALL in bed with us! These tips are fantastic! A routine and being stern (while loving), is so important.

    1. I agree! Do you have a routine for your little ones, “not quite supermom”! I love the blog name by the way. I’ve checked your blog out and you certainly look like a supermom <3

  3. Great read! My daughter just turned 2 years december 2018. I must confess getting her to sleep most times is difficult. Am sending this routine to my wife for guide

  4. I always kept my two kids on a routine like you talk about. I would play with them before dinner, let them play after dinner. Bath with toys, then snacks or bottle. Read stories, sing, prayers and kiss good night . No problems (other than giggles and begs for more reading).

    1. Without routine, I find my boys get wild and impossible at bedtime! I always remind myself that I can be lazy after bedtime, before bedtime, I must stick to routine or else!

  5. Love these tips! We just transitioned our 2 year old to a big-girl bed on Tuesday! (She turned 2 last Wednesday.)

    This has thrown off our evening routine. I’ll definitely give some of these tips a try and see if we can get back into the swing of things. I snuck out of her room after she fell asleep about an hour ago… please stay sleeping little princess!

    1. Toddlers and bedtime is quite the struggle in any family. Some nights can be easy, some nights, no matter what you do, it’s a little rough!

  6. We are very strict with bedtime in our house too! We have the same routine every night and my kids know there is no deviating from it aka getting an extra 5 minutes out of a certain request. Even if we have a babysitter (yeah that has happened like once) the kids know the routine so well they do it automatically. Our kids are in bed by 7:15 and usually snoring away by 8pm the latest. Great job keeping it consistent in your house! I swear it’s a full time job getting a routine down.

  7. My daughter and her husband work full time so I take care of their son during the daytime. They pick him up at around 8 pm so I assume there is no bedtime routine going on because all 3 of them are dead tired. I keep telling them to find a way to get home early so that they could establish a bedtime routine with their son. I will send the link to this post to them.

  8. Your tips are so helpful! My friend has a toddler and she told me that having bedtime routine is so important!

  9. A routine for toddlers is so important! My grandkids have one but when they spend the night at my house, all things “routine” go out the window and bed time drags on for a long time LOL I try to wear them out during the day so that they fall asleep easier but sometimes it has the reverse effect if they are overtired!

  10. I enjoy you because of your entire labor on this blog. My mum delights in getting into investigations and it is easy to understand why. All of us know all regarding the compelling medium you convey great ideas through this web site and in addition inspire contribution from other ones on this concern so my child is without question starting to learn so much. Have fun with the rest of the year. You’re doing a wonderful job.

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