This simple bedtime routine chart is the perfect way to organize your child’s evening.
We try hard to keep our kids’ bedtime routine as simple as possible.
At one point, when our kids were little, our bedtime routine turned into a two hour marathon. We would start with picking up toys, taking a leisurely bath, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, and reading a book (or ten!). By the time we were done our routine at lights out, the kids were honestly hungry for a snack, so we added a little bedtime snack, and finally lights out. Some nights this took a couple of hours!
It wasn’t working for the kids, and it sure wasn’t working for us.
Instead, we created a simple bedtime routine that we do every night, and that takes us a maximum of 30 minutes. We’ve used this routine since our youngest was a baby, and it’s still working now that she’s nine!
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Bedtime Routine Chart for Everyday
This cute, free printable bedtime routine chart is easy to print out and use for your child’s bedtime.
The best bedtime routine is the one that works for your family! You may want to add or remove steps, depending on your family’s needs.
You can download this editable routine chart, and change it as much as you want! The chart is in Microsoft Word format, but you can edit it easily just as it is in Google docs.
You can even print it out, laminate the chart, and get your kids to cross things off with an erasable marker!Here’s our routine: Brush Teeth – Wash Face – Pajamas – Go To the Toilet – Read – Lights Out. That’s it!
The whole bedtime routine of Brush Teeth – Wash Face – Pajamas – Go To the Toilet – Read – Lights Out takes us about 30 minutes. It can take as little as 15 minutes if there’s only a page or two of reading, and as long as an hour if the kids have a long soak in the tub, and take a bit of time reading.
This is our first rule of bedtime: no screens for one hour (or more) before bedtime.
We’ve found that when our kids are allowed to use their iPad or play games close to their bedtime, they’re more excitable, don’t listen as well, and don’t settle down to sleep. Aside from our experience, there’s also some pretty good evidence that the blue light emitted from screens disrupts sleep.
We do let our kids use an e-reader that doesn’t have a backlight before sleep, as that doesn’t seem to disturb their sleep.
Wash Face or Bath/Shower
Full disclosure here: the kids don’t have a bath every night. It’s honestly just takes too much time on weekend nights, so we often fit in a bath or shower after school, and in the afternoon on the weekends.
Besides, the pool counts as a bath right? If I’m honest, we’ve even counted running through the sprinklers on a hot summer day as shower time, too.
Tip! For travel and extra busy days, we keep baby wipes handy. They’re perfect for quickly cleaning their skin, and anywhere else they need a wipe down before bed.
Our dentist did gave us one great tip: buy a kid’s size electric toothbrush.
Since we got the kids electric toothbrushes (they cost less than $20, and have removable brush heads), the kids like brushing more, and they brush longer. Win!
Cozy, soft pajamas are crucial. After all, it’s pretty hard to sleep in scratchy, constricting clothes! Our littlest, now nine, is incredibly picky about labels in any of her clothes, and fabrics, especially. Cotton and fleece work best for us.
Go to the Washroom
Since no parent, ever, has enjoyed being woken up at 3:00 am to the tune of “I wet my sheets“, we’ve have a rule that the kids need to go to the toilet before bedtime.
We tell them it’s a household rule, and that we parents have to go to the washroom before bed as well.
It is kindof funny to have your little one remind you to pee if you sneak off to bed early on Dad’s night!
We’ve read to or with our kids since they were babes in arms.
It’s worked out well, too, since now the’re voracious readers who will sit down with a book for hours. Some days we even need to remind them to stop reading and come up for air or grab a snack!
Since we let the kids read in bed, there’s no hassle with trying to wrangle them into their beds here.
We just close the book, cuddle up to them for a minute or two (though our twelve year old is also likely to drift off by himself), and go to sleep.
What’s morning routine like?
Well, it’s pretty much chaos. Just kidding… sort of.
The truth is that both hubby and I are not morning people, so our morning routine is considered successful if we get the kids to school on time.
We get up, brush our teeth, get dressed, grab breakfast, and go! Lunches are either made by the kids the night before, or one of us adults in the morning.
What’s your bedtime routine? We’d love to hear!