When my first was a baby, we didn’t have much of a routine. I’m a stay at home mom so he could sleep as late as he needed to in the morning. I didn’t feel the need for him to go to bed at a consistent time every night. As he grew into a toddler, and when we added another little one to our family, it became clear we needed some structure at bedtime. Before we started this routine, he was staying up past 11, his naps were inconsistent, and he would throw fits because he was tired.
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Bed Time Routine for My Toddler & Baby
5 Tips for a Better Bedtime Routine
Be consistent. Bedtime routines work best when it is a ROUTINE. By definition, this means you have to be consistent and do the same steps most nights. My baby doesn’t really thrive by the routine but it is ESSENTIAL for my toddler.
Keep it simple. If it’s too complicated or has too many steps, everyone might get overwhelmed and you might not stick to it.
Don’t over stimulate. Pre-bedtime activities should be relaxing and help signal to the baby/toddler that it’s time to sleep.
PS I know some people would think my toddler watching TV would be a conflict for this one, but it’s always been an easy way for me to unwind for bed and my toddler is the same way.
Be flexible. Some nights things don’t go as planned and that’s ok. There have been times when my toddler is over tired and throws a fit when it’s time for bed. On these nights, we rush through the important stuff (teeth brushing and potty) and skip bath, reading, and/or yoga because they aren’t going to improve his mood. He just needs to sleep.
Don’t stress. Babies and toddlers pick up on stress so easily. Stay calm. Set this hour aside and just take advantage of the time to relax with your little ones.
My baby doesn’t necessarily need the bedtime routine but things go much smoother with my toddler now that he knows what to expect. It took some trial and error but after a couple weeks we established a great bedtime routine. I’m sure it will keep changing as both boys get older and their needs change.