Ask the Mamas: Bedtime Routines

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, toddlers, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses! Do you have a question you’d like to ask the mamas? If so, send us an email with your question to askthemamas@mamasaywhat.com.

Mama Say What?! reader Francine Y. asks: “What is your little one’s bedtime routine?”

The bedtime routine we have now is similar, but different than what it was six months ago. And that routine is different than the one we had six months before that. It is an ever-evolving process that we adapt for what works for us at the time. Now at two-and-a-half years old, we start our routine around 7:00. We go upstairs and use the potty first. Then we have a bath or a shower about every other night. After we dry off we usually listen to some music on my iPod and do some dancing around. After that we go to Anna’s room to brush her teeth, put on lotion, brush her hair, take her vitamin D, and put on her jammies. Daddy usually reads her a book on the floor and then she climbs up into her bed and I read her two or three more in bed with her. Then we turn out the lights, turn on her white noise machine, sing Rock-a-bye baby, and Baby Mine. We give her big hugs and big kisses and say good night. Bed time now is right around 8:00, but closer to 7:30 on nights when she doesn’t take a bath. ~Jessica S.

My daughter is two and her bedtime routine is: bath if it’s bath night, PJs, brush hair, brush teeth, read a Bible story, give kisses and hugs, drink of water and go to bed. Also, my husband wrote a blessing that he recites to her every night when we put her to bed. We shoot for 7:30. Recently, we’ve been offering her the choice to stay up a few extra minutes to sit in our laps and listen to a piece if music, especially if she’s kind of wired. When she says yes we get some rare snuggles! ~Christina D.

Our bedtime routine with our four-year-old son isn’t the same every night, but it follows a similar vibe. Some nights he gets a bath or shower before bed, but not every night. When it’s time for PJs, he gets to choose his PJs, we help him get dressed and he gets a cup of milk. While he drinks his milk my husband or I read a book to him that he chose. Sometimes one of us snuggles with him in his bed afterward, sometimes we all snuggle together. Sometimes he asks me to stay in his bed for a little while and sing a song to him. We all give kisses and hugs and we say goodnight. It’s pretty simple and we purposely tried to not let the bedtime routine become long and drawn out. He seems pretty flexible so long as he always gets a cup of milk and some snuggles. ~Alex T.

Our bedtime routine is pretty consistent. We do a bath or shower, then lotion, and jammies. Then N gets to choose a book and we read it in his bed. Then it’s a potty break, an overview of the next day’s activities, hugs, kisses and lights out. My husband and I take turns lying with him for a few minutes each and then he’s out for the night. On Friday nights we do movie night, so he showers a little earlier, we watch a movie, and then it’s the rest of our routine minus a book. And then the random night where we are out late he easily skips his shower/bath. We will still read a smaller board book (like Goodnight Moon or Goodnight Gorilla) and then lights out. ~Cari H.

Our bedtime routine is a little more complicated since we have three girls (ages seven, almost three and one). We start out with bath time soon after dinner. Sometimes we do showers but since there is only one of me and three of then, it’s easier to just put them all in the bath. Once bath time is over and the girls are dressed and hair is brushed the older two girls get a nighttime snack and the baby gets to nurse. Snack is followed by a quiet activity (coloring, reading, watching some of a movie, etc). The baby goes to bed while the girls are settling down. Then we read a couple of books, the girls brush their teeth and go up to bed. ~Miriam R.

Surprisingly, now that we have two kiddos, our bedtime hasn’t changed a whole lot from when we had one. Around 5:30, we have dinner. Bath starts right after dinner around 6:00. Usually my husband will bathe both boys together (ages three years and 10 months) while I do a quick clean of the dishes from dinner, or at least clear off the table. I get our little one out of the bath and get him dressed for bed while our toddler gets a little more bath time. We start a baby sign language DVD by 6:30. When that’s over, my husband gets our toddler some milk, brushes his teeth and changes his diaper. I change the little one and he has some milk before bed as well. I put him down and then join our older one to read some stories and snuggle before bed. Both boys are down for the night by 7:00 at the latest and my husband and I have the evening to ourselves! ~Mary Ellen M.

Parker is three-and-a-half years old. We do bath around 7:30. Then we put on PJs. After that he gets a cup of milk and watches a movie for about half hour then he goes to sleep. ~Amanda P.

Elizabeth has been on the same bedtime schedule since she was very small. The times have shifted a little, but here is what works for us: Elizabeth eats dinner at 6:00, and then gets her bath. If daddy is home, he does bath time and gets Elizabeth in her jammies and Sleep Sack while I clean up her dinner and then start on ours. Otherwise the mess waits till she is asleep. When she is all ready for bed I nurse her, we say our prayers, give kisses, turn on her Sleep Sheep, and put her down in her crib. ~Michelle W.

Our bedtime routines change slightly as needed as well! But here’s what we do at the moment. First of all, we do bedtime for both kids together. My daughter is two-and-a-half years old and my son is 10 months. We eat dinner and then if it’s bath night-every other night-, we take a bath while Skyping with Grandma and Grandpa. Then we dry off, brush teeth and get into pajamas. We all go into my daughter’s bedroom together and sit on the chair and bed. We turn off the big light and turn on the night light, then the kids choose which books they want to read. We usually read two or three books all together while I nurse the baby. When he’s all done, we all say our bedtime prayer together. My husband takes the baby into the other room and rocks him to sleep and I lay down in bed with my daughter until she falls asleep. The whole process takes about an hour, including bath. ~Cassie W.

Our son has always been a child who thrives off a schedule so our bedtime routine with him has always been pretty strict. As he has gotten older and since his little sister has arrived its not imperative we get him to bed at a specific time and we can alter the routine if we need to, but for the most part we stick to the same routine every night. Because our kids go to bed at different times we do separate routines for each child but if my husband is at work late, I alter the routine and do their baths together. On any typical night with both my husband and I at home, dinner for our seven month old begins at 4:30. She eats and then every other night she gets her bath around 5-5:30. If its not a bath night she can play for awhile after dinner. As soon as bath is over we get her in her PJs and I nurse her up in her room. She goes down around 6-6:30. Our two-and-a-half year old starts dinner with my husband around 5-5:30 while I am nursing the baby. As soon as dinner is over we go up for bath or sometimes he will play or watch a show while my husband and I eat if we didn’t all eat together. After bath we brush his teeth, get in his PJs and then he gets one story in bed. We do kisses, maybe a song or two and then its bed time at 7:00. We pretty much have it down to a science. ~Melissa T.

The advice given here is solely based on our individual experiences and in no way is it going to be perfect for every mama, every baby, and every situation. None of us are medical doctors. If you have a question regarding a medical topic we can give our opinions, but please consult with your doctor. We are not liable or responsible for the results of following any specific advice in any given situation.

By Michelle W.

Michelle W. is a first time mama to Elizabeth, born in December 2012. She is the wife of a Marine, loves to sew, read, work out, and loves being a home manager (house wife). Her weaknesses are staying on a budget, almond sparkling wine, and Instagram. She tries to be the best wife and mommy possible, and believes there are no bad days, only bad moments.

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One Response to Ask the Mamas: Bedtime Routines

  1. Im so heartbroken with our daugter Matilda. It seems no matter what routin we do and for how long she test us. She stays up as late as we do. The only thing that really helps me at this time (besides a.glass of Mommy Juice) is the Darius Ruckwr song, “it wont be like this for ling”
    I do love reading the other tips!

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