Bedtime Routines for All Ages


Ahhhh….summertime! This magical time of year includes sunny days filled with play that go well into the evening. Bedtimes for kiddos are pushed back considerably and mostly include washing the dirt, bug spray, and sunscreen off, quickly brushing teeth and lying down totally exhausted from a fun-filled day. Parents have a little less stress at bedtime because they don’t have to worry about the hectic before school morning.

Before school mornings look much different from summer mornings. Before school mornings at our house include a stressful checklist of eating breakfast, getting dressed, combing hair, brushing teeth, checking the backpack, making lunches, and getting out the door on time without mom losing it!  Hopefully, I’m not the only mom out there who is on the verge of losing it before dropping the kiddos at school! So, bedtime routines become a necessity around these parts.

Since I have three kids at three very different ages, bedtime routines vary. Regardless of age, I am a HUGE supporter of signals. These are basically cues to let my kiddos know that it is time for bed!

For all the moms of little ones out there, I can tell you that bedtime gets easier as they get older. I’m not saying it is perfect, but it does improve! I’ll share what each age looks like in my house.

Age 2:

This age is still pretty magical because she is sleeping in her crib. I’ll do another post once we move her into the big girl bed and have to start a new process that is much more painful. When it comes to bedtime, I’m obsessive about bathing my little ones every night. I feel like it signals the end of the day and helps create a bedtime atmosphere.  She is at the age where I want her to sit on my lap and listen to stories, but she is not quite ready for that yet. So, it usually involves me reading while she throws books from the bins.

Typical Night:Age 2

  1. Bath or shower because she enjoys both
  2. Diaper and Pajamas are put on
  3. Hair is combed
  4. I try and read her a story while she continues to throw toys out of the bin
  5. Say goodnight to her brothers and I give her “the blankie.” This blankie is her favorite thing in the world and is used as a HUGE signal that it is time for bed
  6. Turn on a sound machine with white noise which is another signal for bedtime
  7. Give kisses and lay her down

Age 6:

I’m probably struggling with this age the most right now because he loves to get out of his bed for a variety of reasons. He’s thirsty, hungry, has to go to the bathroom, needs another hug, etc. So, having a strict routine is vital for this little guy. Plus, we have daily conversations about staying in his bed once he is there!

Typical Night:Age 6

  1. Shower with minimal assistance
  2. Pajamas on by himself
  3. Nightly bedtime snack and drink
  4. Feed the Fish
  5. He reads a book to daddy with some assistance
  6. Book read to him by daddy
  7. Nightlight turned on
  8. Ten minutes of playtime in bed
  9. He almost always falls asleep while laying there playing with his toys

Age 9:

In the last two years I can honestly say that bedtime has become a piece of cake for this age. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that he loves to read and is looking forward to going to bed and getting some uninterrupted reading time.

Typical Night:Age 9

  1. Shower on his own
  2. Pajamas on by himself
  3. Nightly bedtime snack and drink
  4. Feed the Fish
  5. 30 minutes of reading time (If we let him, he’d stay up all night reading so we have to go in and take his book away)

I can’t say that every night is perfect during the school year, but I strive to make bedtime a priority. There are so many things that get in the way that I know that I may not be able achieve the perfect bedtime every night at the same time. My number one problem with staying consistent is their sport’s practices and games. As my boys get older, their activities increase in the evenings and I am struggling to ensure that they get a good night’s rest. This can make life for my two year old difficult because her bedtime is then pushed back. I think the key is to aim for consistency.  Whether it’s at a normal time or an hour late because of a game, I want to have a routine that allows my kids to wind down and go to BED! Let’s face it, bedtime for our kiddos marks the end of the day for them and the beginning of an hour to yourself!!!!
bedtime Featured image

What cues do you use to help signal that it is bedtime?

What tips and tricks do you use to make bedtime go more smoothly?

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Hi friends! My name is Tonya- a Midwestern girl who became a Rio Grande Valley transplant three years ago. I spent seven years as a second grade teacher. After completing my Master's in Reading and Literacy, I became a reading specialist for three years. After moving to south Texas, I became a stay-at-home mom for the first time. I've been married for ten years and we have three kids ages 9, 6, and 2. I love online shopping, Netflix, and running but nothing makes me happier than spending time with my family. Moving to the valley was a huge change but constant sunshine and great Mexican food has made it well worth it!


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