Bedtime routine is something I never thought about before my Daughter was born… Apparently, she did not think about it either as we basically had only the amount of sleep needed for survival when she was a baby 😅
I was always a good sleeper, I can sleep in a car, on a train, or plane… it turned out that even sitting at a dining table in the first few weeks with my newborn 😀
I considered it a great night when I had 4 hours of sleep in a row! And really felt relaxed! Crazy how our body is accepting its possibilities and adapts to them so flexibly!
Anyway, after the very first few weeks of mess, we started to focus on setting up our bedtime routine and daily routine too. Check out this post for more info about what to expect for sleep in the first year of your baby’s life! And believe me, a great bedtime routine can be a game-changer for the whole family. With toddlers and older kids, you can make it fun by using some bedtime routine charts as well!
Benefits of a Bedtime Routine
Sleep is important to you, your children, and your family’s health. It can affect your mood and energy level, as well as the quality of your life. A bedtime routine helps your child know what to expect at bedtime.
But, what is a bedtime routine? A bedtime routine is the series of steps or activities that you and your child (and the whole family) follow each night before going to sleep. The goal of a bedtime routine is to help children fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling rested. A bedtime routine can help your child get the sleep they need. To keep everyone on track, the routine should happen in the same order every night.
A bedtime routine gives you and your child a chance to wind down from the day, relax and prepare for sleep. It’s an opportunity to reconnect and bond with each other before going off to bed. Setting up a bedtime routine can help you get more sleep and feel more rested in the morning.
My favorite part of our bedtime routine is laying next to my Daughter and after reading to her, we discuss what we enjoyed the most that day. I love to conclude our day with a bunch of positive thoughts and wait until she falls asleep next to me.
Child Bedtime Routine Dos and Don’ts
Each family has its different dynamics, so there are lots of great ways to set up a bedtime routine for you and your loved ones. I collected a few dos and don’ts worth considering when developing your own routine.
- Do it every day – or at least really try 😊
- Choose a time that works for you and your child, but aim for at least 45 minutes before bedtime so that everyone has time to unwind.
- Make sure your child has a comfortable bedtime routine that includes things like brushing teeth, washing hands, or reading a story.
- Listen to your child, and do not be afraid to make changes when needed, but try to make these gradually.
- Make sure your child is well-rested before starting a bedtime routine.
- Make it age-appropriate: a bedtime routine should be tailored to your child’s age and developmental stage. For example, children under 2 years old may not need a specific set of activities every night; instead, it may be enough to simply sit down together with a book or other quiet activity before naptime or bedtime. As children get older, it can be great to include further age-appropriate activities in your bedtime routine. For example, if your child is 3 years old, you might read a book before bedtime and then sing together. Children who are 5 or 6 years old may enjoy doing more active things such as playing a game together or going on an evening walk.
- Don’t make the routine too long or complicated; the goal is relaxation, not exhaustion!
- No sugar or sweets before bedtime!
- Do not let them watch screens;
- And do not read or tell scary stories before bedtime!
Bedtime Routine for Busy Moms and Dads
Parents tend to focus on the needs of the kids and the family more, than on their own physical and mental well-being. Sleeping is also important to adults, so when setting up a bedtime routine for the kids and the family, busy moms and dads also need to find a way to fit all their tasks and needs in.
If you’re a busy mom or dad, it might be difficult to come up with a bedtime routine that works for everyone.
If so, try these tips:
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep during the day by putting limits on screen time, nap times, and so on.
- Focus on activities that don’t require too much prep time or energy; for example, reading a short book together or singing one song may be easier than playing a game that takes longer.
- Try to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to nightly activities; if you can only fit in one or two activities, they should be ones that really matter to your child (like reading together).
- Try to keep an even bedtime schedule for everyone in the household, including yourself.
My Daughter likes to fall asleep while I am still beside her. I like that too, but after a busy day, it happens quite often that I fall asleep as well, and wake up hours later with hurting arms or back due to the no-so-comfy sleep position 😅
Starting to clean up our home, washing the dishes, etc. after waking up like that is something I really did not enjoy!
So I decided to organize my busy mom’s bedtime routine in a way that everything should be done before we start our good night reading. This required changes in my Daughter’s routine as well – and as she grows she can take even more and more chores and tasks, so we finish faster with what needs to be done.
How to Make a Great Bedtime Routine Chart for Kids
1. List your Bedtime Routine Activities
- comb hair
- clean up toys
- go potty
- have dinner
- take a bath/shower
- brush teeth
- take pajamas on
- good night hug
- read a book
- choose clothes for the next day
2. Set up the Sequence of your Bedtime Activities
Now you have a clear idea of what activities you would like to include in your bedtime routine. It is time to decide on the sequence of the elements of your list. We have dinner first and take a bath normally afterward, but in the family of one of my friends, they do it in reverse. Both can be a great option, choose what fits better in your family’s daily routine.
It can also be great with older kids to combine the bedtime routine with an after-school routine, so the whole evening gets predictable and more relaxed for the whole family 😉
3. Search for Images on the Internet or Draw Yourself
4. Make your own Routine Cards and Routine Chart
Having enough sleep is really important both for kids and adults. A great bedtime routine and bedtime routine chart can help you with following it day-by-day in a relaxed and fun way.