Infant during bedtime routine

Why A Bedtime Routine Is Important And 5 Examples

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I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard someone stress the importance of a good bedtime routine. You have probably received this piece of advice a handful of times and every single time have thought to yourself, “yeah, yeah…. once my child is older/ understands what bedtime is/ actually enjoys reading/ etc. we will start a good bedtime routine, until then it just isn’t worth it.”

Well, I am here to tell you that a good bedtime routine is more than just the routine itself, it is one of the key components to a successful night of sleep. Consistent bedtime routines contribute to healthy sleep hygiene and it is something you can start as soon as your baby is born!

Why A Routine Is So Important

Kids don’t know how to tell time. The only way they know what “time” it is, is if you follow a routine or schedule. All day long their brain uses associations and cues to help them anticipate what comes next.

For example, if they always wash their hands before they eat or watch TV while you prepare dinner. To them, that action or activity signals that it will soon be time to eat.

Following similar patterns or routines, sets expectations and provides children with predictability. And let’s be honest, most humans thrive with a little (or a lot of) predictability – kids are no different.

Bedtime is a big, sometimes scary, event for a lot of kids. But, a bedtime routine can help signal that bedtime is coming, which gives them time to prepare. Their bodies will actually start producing hormones to calm them down and make them sleepy. The aspect of a routine makes the process familiar and comforting.

 For an infant, a bedtime routine differentiates their long stretch of sleep from all of their shorter stretches (naps) throughout the day. It also provides predictability and helps them to establish their circadian rhythm.

For a toddler, a bedtime routine can help set expectations. We all know that toddlers and bedtime do not get along well. If you don’t know or this is something you are currently struggling with, make sure you check out my blog post on Getting Your Toddler’s Bedtime Routine Back On Track.

A Good Bedtime Routine

There is no right or wrong when it comes to bedtime routines. There are no rules about what steps your routine should include, how long or short it is, or even what time it happens at. A good bedtime routine is a consistent one.

Come up with a routine that is going to work for YOUR family and is something that you can commit to doing every night.

dad and child doing bedtime routine

If you are a busy family, a long and drawn-out bedtime routine isn’t going to be for you. If you are a first-time parent with a newborn, maybe you are looking for ways to get through the “witching hour,” so an extended bedtime routine helps pass the time. Talk through what’s important to your family. For example, some families might want to incorporate family time, while others want to use the time to give one parent a break.

It’s also important to consider your family’s lifestyle. If you are a family who is constantly on the go, you probably won’t want to incorporate baths into your bedtime routine because that just isn’t realistic, but if you’re a homebody and a germaphobe with a child in daycare (hi!) then maybe you do give a bath every night.

The Best Age To Start A Bedtime Routine

If you have a child and haven’t implemented a bedtime routine yet, then the time is now! No matter how young or old they are. A bedtime routine is something that you can and should start as soon as you get home from the hospital, or shortly after.


Not feeling super creative or just don’t know where to start? Here are five examples of bedtime routines:

1.     Bath, PJs, Feed, Book, Sound Machine, Bed

2.     Feed, PJs, Prayers, Sound Machine, Bed

3.     PJs, Feed, Sound Machine, Bed

4.     Bath, Baby Massage, PJs, Feed, Lullaby, Cuddles, Book, Sound Machine, Bed

5.     Lullaby, Feed, PJs, Sound Machine, Bed

*Something as simple as a sound machine can cue your child’s brain that it is time to sleep. This works for naps too!

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I'm Kristen

The expert & woman behind the screen. I'm also your new best friend who is ready to empower you on this incredible journey.

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