Bedtime Routine for Young Children
Bedtime can be so stressful and relaxing at the same time!
Chasing your children around the house to get ready for bed. The whining and resistance because bedtime is their least favorite time of day.
I love the feeling when the kids are sound asleep in their beds, and I can finally collapse on my bed. It’s even better when it’s before 10pm.
Bedtime used to be such a struggle in my house. My daughter would whine that she didn’t want to go to bed. Then my son came along, and we realized we had no consistent routine to settle them down for the night.
Routines are not possible every single night but establishing a routine the kids can follow can help calm them down because they know what to expect. My husband and I decided to set up a consistent routine and the bedtime struggles started to go away. While every night isn’t perfect, the kids have a much easier time going to bed. They don’t even remember what it was like before their routine now.
Check out my nightly bedtime routine to get my children to bed consistently and with fewer tears.
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Each night, I like to have my family sit down together for dinner even if we're not all eating the same thing. We try to eat around the same time every night as well, which is typically sometime between 5pm and 6pm. This can very if we have sports or activities to go to.
2. Make Lunches for Tomorrow
On school and work nights, I like to make all lunches the night before. My husband likes to meal prep and freeze meals for the week over the weekend, so I will pull his lunch out for the next day and put it in the fridge for him so it can defrost.
My daughter can be a bit of a picky eater, so I have found some great foods to make for her for lunch. Check out my post Well-Balanced & Kid-Approved School Lunch Ideas to see some great school lunch ideas.
3. Check School Calendar
My daughter's school provides us with paper calendars with any information we need. Since she's currently in Preschool, we receive a calendar with who is snack leader, what fun activities they will be doing, and if there's a Library Day or a Show & Tell Day.
I like to know what needs to be packed into her backpack the night before, so I don't have to rush around the next morning. The school sent us a full school year calendar at the beginning of the year, which includes breaks and school events. I like to be prepared for those as well.
4. Pack Backpack
After checking the school calendar, I like to pack her backpack. Does she have schoolwork I need to send back? Is tomorrow Library Day or Show & Tell Day? We just had Valentine's Day, so I had to send her Valentine's to school for her classmates along with toppings for Ice Cream Day. So much to remember!
5. Bath time
Now I can start the bedtime routine that includes the children. I feel like baths really help calm my kids down at the end of the night and they are clean and refreshed. My son is a messy eater so I can get the food out of his hair.
If my daughter does not have school the next day, I do not stress a bath if they are not filthy. Depending on what is going on, sometimes we don't have time to squeeze in a bath, especially over the weekend.
6. Pajamas & Brush Teeth
They always get a clean pair of pajamas after their baths, and they brush their teeth for the night. At this point, they know bedtime is quickly approaching. I usually allow a little tablet time while their sibling is getting ready. This keeps them settled and relaxed before bed.
7. Clean up Toys
My children, unless sick or completely exhausted, are always required to help pick up all their toys before bed. We do not want to trip over toys in the middle of the night and we have some great storage bins to keep the toys in.
Check out my post 4 Steps For Organizing Your Kid's Toys if you want to change up how your children's toys are organized.
8. Pick out Clothes and Hair Accessories
At this point in the night, we head upstairs to their rooms. My daughter loves to help me pick out her school clothes and she has a large collection of hair accessories to choose from. We pick out a bow or scrunchie to go with her outfit and set it out.
My son is not in school yet, but we pick out his clothes as well since he must go with us to bring his sister to school. It helps keep him involved to spend time picking out his clothes as well.
9. Bedtime Story
Their favorite part of the night is their bedtime story. We all sit on my daughter's queen-sized bed, and my husband reads us a bedtime story. He loves to use voices and interact with them to get them involved in the story. I love hearing the stories as well.
If you would like more bedtime stories to choose from, you can look at my Top 10 Favorite Bedtime Stories post. I list some of my favorite stories we choose from every night.
10. Turn on Night Lights & Sound Machines
Not everyone uses night lights and sounds machines, but if you do, this is a great time to turn them on. Your kids should be comfortable in their beds and ready to sleep.
Lucky for me, I don't have to worry about turning on their night lights and sounds machines because we have a Hatch Night Light. The Hatch connects to my phone and allows me to control it from anywhere in my house. I have set both of my children's Hatch systems to go on and off automatically with timers.
My daughter's Hatch is set to hot pink from 8pm to 7:30am and then it turns green at 7:30am. She knows it is time to get up once her Hatch turns green. It works great since she does not know how to tell time yet. She uses a kid’s radio to sleep so she does not use the sound machine function on her Hatch.
My son's Hatch is set to hot pink from 8pm and 8am every day. I do not have it switch to green yet, but once he is old enough, I will add that program to his as well. He has rain sounds on and they are programed to turn on and off with his light.
11. Goodnight Kisses
Then kiss your baby’s goodnight! We say our special good nights and the kids can settle in their beds for the night. They love the extra snuggles and kisses to help them relax to go to sleep.
Remember, your bedtime routine will continue throughout the night. A consistent bedtime routine can help your child’s sleep cycle and they will sleep through the night better.
If your children have a good night sleep, hopefully you can too.
Do you have a great bedtime routine for your children?
Share it in the comments below!