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October 27, 2014

Tips for a Smooth Bathtime and Bedtime Routine

Following dinner, clean-up, and family time, our bathtime/bedtime routine looks something like this:

(This includes lots of fun and laughter...usually.)

(This includes lots of hugs and belly kisses.)

Brush Teeth
(We love Tom's Tooth Paste for Kids.)

Family Playtime 
(Our favorite time of day.)

Bible Reading/Bedtime Prayers 
(So, so sweet - a really precious time for us.)

(An effort to make sure no one calls for "MAMA!" until the sun comes up the next morning.)

Music/Light Outs 
(We turn on their music, give goodnight hugs & kisses, and turn out the light.*)

We do not stay in the room...we do not lay with them until they fall asleep...we do not entertain discussion/arguing about what's happening, etc...we leave the room...with all the love in our hearts.

As new parents, we understood the important of a bedtime routine, and this post includes our best tips for how to have a smooth bath & bed routine - even with little ones!

Tips for a Smooth Bathtime & Bedtime Routine
Bathtime and Bedtime Routine

Our children know the routine - Each evening, they know what to expect. 

At this point, they are able to independently carry out a good portion of the routine without much help from us; and they love taking ownership and "being in charge" of the events of the evening. 

Establishing this routine has definitely cut down on tantrums/meltdowns because there are no surprises. The key for us is starting the routine/getting everyone in bed before they are so exhausted that they fall apart. If we wait to long, we typically regret it. But when that happens, we grit our teeth, push through a shortened version of the routine and get everyone to their rooms as quickly as possible.

Our kiddos have a consistent bedtime that we try to stick pretty close to - It provides hubby and I with time to ourselves to relax or work on projects. If you are not taking this time together in the evenings, I would strongly recommend it. Remember, you were a couple before the kids came along and you need time to invest in each other - and little ones need their rest. 

If you have a child that does not want to sleep until later in the evening, put them in their room...with books or quiet activities (not digital devices, etc. that only serve to provide added stimulation).

If needed, baby/toddler/kid proof their room to where they can not get out (We use these extra-tall baby gates.)...ignore the protests (as tough as that might be at first)...they will eventually get used to what is happening. 

Don't forget - They are not in charge. You are the parent. 
(I think that's easy for us to forget sometimes!)

It is never too late to establish a good bedtime routine. If you have not had one in the past or if you feel you need to adjust yours to make it run more smoothly, it may be a little tricky [initially] to get everyone used to the new plan, but I promise you - it will eventually become the norm and you will love the benefits!

A Quick Note from a Previous Post:
Has there ever been a time when our little ones have tried to fight bedtime? Sure...sometimes when they're overly tired, they may start to cry and protest, "I don't wanna go to bed, Mama!" What do we do? We ignore, because we know they're exhausted...Why drag out a conversation with a tired kiddo? We tuck them in...kiss them goodnight...and leave the room. Bedtime is bedtime & they're usually asleep within minutes. (I do not ignore cries that are coming from a legitimate need...totally different ballgame.) -Life with Babies

In this stage of life, our routine looks very much like this~
You can download and print these cuties here for free.

I mentioned that following dinner, there is a clean-up time! We do this most every evening, and even little hands are involved in pitching in with the process!
For more chore ideas for toddlers and pre-schoolers, check out: