A true toddler nighttime routine never seemed important to me until I had two kids. My kids have always been go with the flow but now, with my daughter getting older and slowly dropping her only nap, she needs the routine.
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Infants, toddlers, and kids of all ages thrive off routine, they are more likely to NOT fight you about going to sleep if they know it is coming. If you can start a routine do it as early as day one. It may just be as simple as the four B’s – Bath, Bottle/Breast, Book, Bed.
Not only will bedtime be easier if the child is expecting it, but they will be less tired and moody the next day. Same goes for nap time, if you can get them down for nap at the same time, they will be expecting it and fight you less.
The best thing to do is create a routine that is enjoyable for both you and your child. And be open to change up or adjust the routine as you need to for you and your child.
Our bedtime routine typically starts right after dinner. As a family we don’t eat dinner till about 6 PM. I have had so many questions about how I keep my kids clothes nice. Honestly, I prefer to let my kids eat while they are wearing just a diaper or undies. Obviously, this only is allowed at our house. Less stains for the laundry, because then I just put them in the tub and it is a super easy clean up.
We play for a little bit in the tub and then wash up. They love having some of their mega blocks in the tub. I prefer toys that can fully dry out and not the squirt toys that hold black mold on the inside.
SIDE NOTE: Seriously don’t cut one of those squirt toys open even if you are interested. It is disgusting and scary. If you do use those toys, before even putting them in the tub plug up the hole with a hot glue gun, then you don’t have to worry about the mold!
My son has a few small eczema patches on the back of his arms, above his elbows, and behind his knees. They just recently started flaring up in the warmer weather. The only product that we have been able to use to calm it down is Tubby Todd all over ointment. It is so creamy and you will see a difference over night, it really is an amazing product.
After the bath, we brush our teeth and go potty again. My daughter insists on mommy blow drying her hair because she doesn’t like going to sleep with wet hair. Girl, I get it!
We then go into their rooms and get their PJ’s on. During the day they have free rein of their rooms and toys, so before bed I always have them “clean up”. I put that in quotes because they are one and two, so as they are helping they are really making more of a mess at the same time. But now as they get older they will know that cleaning up is apart of the routine.
I let my oldest pick out 2-3 books and we cuddle in her bed and read until we say good night! Then we spend about 10 minutes doing hugs and kisses and she tells us how much she loves all of us, so she can stall us from leaving her room. But I love it so I allow it. After I leave her room I will rock my little guy for a few minutes and then lay him down as well.
My oldest has started asking to take toys with her to bed every night. A first, I was a bit hesitant but then I noticed she would play with them in bed before she actually fell sleep, as well as in the morning when she wakes up.
They are both in bed by 7:30 PM so our whole routine takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
Bedtime as become a fun family time for us and something I look forward to every night. Not just because it is bedtime but because the kids are happy and it is truly an unplugged, full of laughter and enjoyable family time. I am so happy that we and less stressed that we incorporated a toddler nighttime routine for our kids.
Mama, what do you do now that the babies are asleep? Check out my Mommy Nighttime Routine for what I do to make my night and mornings go smoother!