The Bedtime Routine: What, When, Why and How?

I really love the bedtime routine, it is one of my favorite parts of the day. I mean it!  It is not because my kids are going to bed.  It is because I have found that it is vital to their sleep and is one of our most special times of day to have with the kids.   Here I will share with you how to set up a great bedtime routine for your kids and how it will help them with their sleep.

When Should You Start?

I started bedtime routines with my kids early on in infancy.  This has become part of what they know happens every day.  It is predictable and therefore comfortable for them.  If you haven’t started one yet, it is not too late.  You might just find that your child enjoys it and you will find that it will be helpful to their sleep. It is never too early or too late.

Why Is It Important?

The bedtime routine is the first part to setting the stage for a great night’s sleep for your little one.  This is one way in how we communicate with our children and their bodies that bedtime is coming. It can help our little ones to sleep better, create bedtime boundaries with our toddlers and they are a special time of day to have one-on-one time with your little one.  Check out this study on bedtime routines by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

What Makes a Good Bedtime Routine?

I tell all my clients, you can put anything you want into a bedtime routine, as long as it is soothing. I would keep it to about 30 minutes. It is best if you can do as much as you can of the routine in your child’s room and as much as you can under low lighting.  Just think about what the low lighting of a spa does for your body! It relaxes you, right?

Here are some things you can include, just as an idea:

  • A bath
  • Diaper change or Potty
  • Brush Teeth
  • Books
  • Songs
  • Hugs and kisses 😉

How to Implement the Routine?

If you are starting with a younger baby, just start – it is as simple as that.  If you are starting with a toddler, it might be a good idea to include some visuals or a chart where your little one can “walk through” the routine.  These make it fun for them too!  You can use our free bedtime routine flashcards or there are other ideas out there too. Try to pick one that you think might resonate with your child.  I love this creative one from Three20Magnets. You can even select the magnets that you want to use.

However you choose to go about your bedtime routine, I am confident that you will find that it has a great impact on your child’s sleep and it will also become a nice time of day for you and the kids.


My Best,





Certified Sleep Consultant

Good Night Sleep Site Florida


*based in Orlando, FL, but work remotely with families