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Bedtime Routine Tips


With as much as small children run around and play all throughout the day, you would think that they would be exhausted come bedtime. Yet, it never fails that mom is the one who is exhausted while the kids are still bouncing off the walls. If you desperately need your kids to PLEASE! GO TO SLEEP! know that you are not alone. Moms all across the world are going through the exact same thing. As much of a rite of passage as it is, however, that doesn't mean you just have to grin and bear it. Here are seven bedtime routine tips to help you get your little ones to sleep.


1. Start Young - While it is probably too much to expect your baby to sleep through the night from day one, it is never too early to start good habits. Before you start any sleep routines, think far into the future. The routine may be fine now, but is it something you want to continue long term? It is much easier to start off with a great routine now rather than to try to break bad habits later.

2. Choose Bedtime Carefully - If your children seem wide awake come bedtime, they may truly not be tired yet. Try to hit that bedtime sweet spot when they are tired, but not overtired. I aim for the first yawn. Once you find a time that works--stick with it as best you can.

3. Monitor Pre-Bedtime Activities - Too much juice, television or roughhousing right before bedtime makes for overactive children. Keep the evening activities calm and peaceful so your little ones start to settle down. Stories and board games are both great options.

4. Give Plenty of Warning - No one likes to be suddenly ripped from a task they enjoy, and if you fail to give your kids a warning, they will surely object. Give them warning when it is 20 minutes until bedtime, then 5, and then 1. This will give them a chance to wrap up their activities before they need to start getting ready for bed.

5. Create a Consistent Routine - There are hundreds of ways to do bedtime, and all families do bedtime a little differently. While you should aim for something soothing, it doesn't matter so much which way you pick as long as it works for your family and it is consistent. Common choices include baths, stories, snuggles, prayers, and hugs and kisses. The length and the specific activities are up to you.

6. Mean Business - If you often threaten your kids but don't follow through, they will quickly learn that they can do whatever they want without consequence. Instead, politely but firmly set clear boundaries and consequences and then follow through. While it isn't fun at first, it is absolutely essential for creating bedtime routines that work. Don't worry about being "the bad guy;" kids thrive with a degree of structure and predictability, even if it doesn't seem like it at first.

7. Be Patient - It is important to understand that while these tips do work, they do not work overnight. Your kids will probably fight the change in routine for the first several nights, and that is to be expected. Have high expectations that you can have a successful bedtime routine and stick with it. The first few rough nights will be completely worth it once your kids begin going to bed peacefully.

Finding just the right bedtime routine can be tricky, especially if your children are used to doing whatever they please. Don't ever feel like a failure or like nothing is working, however. Choose a good routine, implement it, be consistent, and follow through. Hopefully they will be sleeping better in no time.

Have you tried the bedtime routine tips above? Did they work for you? What other tips and tricks can you share?

Annmarie John
30 Comments
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30 comments:

  1. Such great tips and do totally agree that a routine at bedtime is totally a must and helpful when trying to get young one so a schedule at this time of the day. Totally learned this the hard way here, too.

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  2. You are so right about starting young. It's way harder to change something kids have already gotten used to -- like staying up till whenever or begging for story after story after drink after drink ... Yes, we learned this from experience!

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    1. My daughter is pretty good about it and really wants me near by - my son... he just crashes on the sofa usually or after a story.

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  3. My son was always very good about going to bed without hassle. My biggest problem with him was getting him to sleep through the night he didn't do that till he was 11. But going to bed never an issue even now he is usually already in bed before I get to his room to tell him.

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  4. For me, the tip that worked the best was maintaining a consistent bedtime routine. I would always bathe my babies before bedtime and read to them so they came to expect this routine daily.

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  5. What worked for my kids when they were little, was reading Bible stories and praying at bedtime. Worked every time. Those are all great tips you provided

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  6. Great advice. I am no authority on bedtime routines - my 2 year old got so used to sleeping with me. I created a monster!

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  7. We always tried to stick to a routine when my Daughter was young. One thing I did was to read her a bedtime story every night.

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  8. It's funny I'm reading this as my son is telling me "I want to stay up Mommy". Perfect timing!

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  9. With my first child, it was very challenging. She finally fell into the routine- but it took forever. We lucked up with baby number 2! He looks forward to going to bed at night!

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  10. My sister-in-law needs to read this. My niece and nephew have no bedtime and basically run the house. They go to bed whenever they feel like and then they're always tired during the day and so is she. Will surely have to pass this along to her.

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  11. These are great tips,We have always stuck to a routine and made sure that we never no matter where we were changed the routine at all.With all of my kids chilling out a little while before bed really helped they always watch maybe an hour of TV before they go to bed which seems to help them get relaxed and ready to sleep.

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  12. I have older children and forming a good bedtime routine is a huge hurdle. If you can start young, even better! Great tips!

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  13. These are terrific tips! My children are grown but they had a certain bedtime from the beginning that adapted with age. I would have loved to put a 16 year old to bed at 8, but they just wouldn't go down, just kidding. Following these tips will definitely make life alot easier on the parents!

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  14. My oldest son was my child that did not do well with structure, his bed time always fluctuated until he got to be about 6 and then it settled down a bit. My youngest had to have everything structured so he had a bet time a lot earlier. I think it depends a lot on your child, while they should not run everything, you have to do what works for them or it is miserable for everyone.

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  15. Great tips! I think you hit on it with the word "routine". When I was a nanny for triplet boys plus a baby, routine was a big deal. Especially at bedtime! Throw them off their routine, and it never ended well! When it was on routine, they knew what to expect and they didn't have any issues!

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  16. Great tips for getting kids ready bedtime. I totally agree with giving warning. It helps kids prepare and makes it much easier.

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  17. Consistency is definitely key. Don't do something one night and then not do it another night, or at least not without some warning. We always do: bath, books, quiet time, lights out/bed time. It's been more of a struggle with my youngest, but we're slowly getting there.

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  18. Routine is so important for kids, and even parents. I enjoy having a routine and knowing what to look forward to and just gliding right through it.

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  19. Great tips. I think #5 Creating a routine is very important. Starting young and having lots of patience is key.

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  20. we have tried so many different things and our routines do not help any. We are desperate for sleep times.
    thanks for your tips, we will use yours to get some luck

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  21. These are all great tips. They will surely come in handy should I ever decide to have a child of my own. :)

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  22. Bedtime has always been an issue us. But over the years I find that being consistent and patient is the way to go for the little ones. Really good tips.

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  23. Being patient is definitely key. It is hard but it will come with persistence and patience. AMber N

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  24. No kiddos for me yet, but these are great tips for when I do! Thanks for sharing :)

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  25. My son has phases of loving bathtime then hating it. NOw, he loves it so much he wont get out!

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  26. It's about that time to start thinking about this again here. I've been lax w/the kids over the summer.

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  27. The Chef's Wife | Anne @TheSatEvePotAugust 12, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Bed time and picky eating I believe are the two top parenting issues! lol These are great tips ... consistency is so important too, in routine and in "meaning business"!

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  28. Trying to get on a schedule as soon as possible is a great idea. I know that I definitely work better with a routine.

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  29. We don't really have a routine - and maybe, we should so sleeping better can be a lot easier.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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