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Take the stress out of bedtime with a routine you can stick with

Ahh….bedtime. It’s bliss.

We know you probably sigh with relief once the kids are asleep at the end of the day.

Trust us, we do too.

Life with kids is exhausting….especially right now. But truth be told, it’s exhausting for them too. They know things are stressful and hard, but most kids don’t fully comprehend the gravity of all that’s happened this year.

Offering some semblance of normalcy is one of the best gifts we can give our kids and ourselves. One way we can do this is to establish and maintain solid routines.

A great place to start is with the bedtime routine. Setting everyone up for success the night before is one of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep and start the next day off right.

Why are bedtime routines important?

Bedtime routines give kids (and us!) a sense of stability. They make us feel secure. This feeling of comfort vastly improves our ability to get restful sleep.

It also gives us a way to connect with our kids at the end of a busy day. It’s important to slow down and take time to have meaningful conversations and spend quality time with those we love - even if it’s just for a short time each night.

These things are vital to our physical and mental health.

Girl getting ready for bed
Shutterstock

What goes into a good bedtime routine?

Great question!

There isn’t one right way to wind down in the evenings. Truth be told, what works for your family...works!

And it works until it doesn’t. Then, you change it up.

The most important part of a bedtime routine is consistency. That sense of stability we mentioned above….that comes from knowing what’s ahead.

One way to do this is to give kids either a written or picture chart to refer to each night. This can be as simple as something typed up on the computer or a poster board your kids help you decorate.

All of that said, when it comes to the nitty-gritty of setting up a routine that works for a family with young kids, you can’t go wrong with the 3 B’s - bath, books, bed!

Broken down, this can be tailored to fit your family in any number of ways.


Bath

Bathtime (or showers...whichever you, and they, prefer!) gives kids a chance to wash away the worries from the day.

If you’ve got a kiddo that struggles with falling asleep, you could add in things like epsom salts or lavender oil to the bathtub to promote relaxation.

Or if your little one struggles with dry skin or eczema and you prefer they bathe less frequently, you can adapt this by just having them wash their hands and face so they still go to bed feeling fresh and clean.

Of course, it’s at this point in the routine where you can add in all the other important hygiene habits - teeth brushing, flossing, hair combing, lotion, whatever else you do to get your little ones ready for a good night’s sleep.


Books

When you think of bedtime stories, you likely imagine snuggles on the couch while reading your child’s favorite picture book over and over (and over).

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Shared stories are the perfect way to connect with your child at the end of a long day.

But that’s definitely not the only way to experience a story together at bedtime.

Podcasts and audiobooks make shared stories at bedtime a breeze.

Stay tuned at the end of this post for some awesome recommendations to get you started!


Bed

Well, self-explanatory as this may be, going to bed is an essential part of the bedtime routine.

Whatever your tuck-in routine is, this is the place for it.

Maybe you have a special song you like to sing. Or maybe you like to snuggle in bed with your child for a few minutes as they tell you all about their day. Maybe you turn on the nightlight and scare away the monsters.

Whatever your rituals, these shared moments together are what your children will look back on fondly as adults. It truly is the little things that have the greatest impact.

Boy listening to podcasts in bed
Getty

Recommended listening

Podcasts & chapter audiobooks for older kids

Podcast and audiobooks for younger kids


We're all ears!

Share your favorite bedtime podcasts, audiobooks, or routines with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest!

Amy Thetford

Amy Thetford

Amy is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom to her tribe of tiny humans. She's fueled by coffee and the desire to do ALL. THE. THINGS. She blogs about all things motherhood at realtalkwithamy.com