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How to Establish a Toddler Bedtime Routine that Works!
Structuring a bedtime routine for our toddler has made a world of difference in our home! It may look a bit daunting, but I assure you that these aren’t long drawn out steps. They are short, simple, and easy for our young toddler to understand, remember, and implement. Consistency is truly the key.
Clean Up Time
Start things off by getting the house in order so that everyone can have a clear mind. At our house, our living area also doubles as our play area so getting it cleaned up gives us a good starting point.
Get Ready for Bathtime
We have our kids put their dirty clothes into the hamper while we prepare their shower or bath. Something that we like to implement with our kids is how to sort. We have three separate baskets. One for whites or lights, one for dark clothing, and one for towels. I have a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old that have it mastered and that also help the younger ones. This makes my life so much easier on laundry day!
Baths and Pajamas
Each of my kids takes a bath every night, so we make it fun! I invested in some good bath toys that I can’t rave enough about. We have some little boats and caterpillar stacking cups. Bubble bath is always a hit too! While kids are bathing, one parent stays and makes sure everyone gets all washed up and the other one lays out pajamas so that kids can quickly dry off and get dressed.
Go to the Bathroom and Brush Teeth
Once everyone is settled and warmed up from bath time, we send our kids off to brush their teeth and go potty. Something we have struggled with in the past is making sure our kids actually brush for a good length of time, so special toothbrushes are always given as fun gifts for holidays. And just to be sure there isn’t any fighting, they also have separate tubes of toothpaste that are only theirs to use. Trust me, you will thank me when your kids aren’t yelling at each other in the bathroom over something silly.
My kids love to read! We all pile on the couch with a huge comfy blanket that we can all fit under. We have always made time to read at least one family favorite story each night. Some of our favorite books are Goodnight Gorilla, Spot Goes to the Library and Brown Bear Brown Bear. But we have a large collection that our kids can choose from. It can get a little out of hand, so we try to limit our book reading to 2 or 3 books per night and let the kids take turns picking.
Prayers and Kisses
After we all have story time, we have a family prayer and then send our kids off to their own rooms to do their individual prayers. If our kids request it, my husband and I switch off with which kid we accompany and then tuck them in. We give goodnight kisses and hugs and have cuddle time if some special one-on-one time is needed.
Expectations of staying in bed and sleeping all night are always gone over as well, especially if it’s something we are working on or struggling with. If you struggle with your kids staying in bed be sure to read How to Get Your Toddlers to Stay in Bed. My husband and I like to give our kids fun little quizzes of what is appropriate to come to mom and dad for and what is not.
So I would say something like, “What if you feel like you need a drink?” and they would respond with, “Nope!” or “What if your tummy is hurting?” they would say, “come and get you!” I like to think that if you make it fun, the response from your kids is more positive.
For our younger kids, we always let them know how proud we are of them the next morning after staying in bed! Having a sticker chart where my son gets to put a star on himself for each day is something we have done for each one of our kids. As they get older, we also work toward a bigger goal where they can earn something special of their choosing.
There you have it 7 steps to a successful Toddler bedtime routine!
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~Written by Shiree.
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