I have not had the privilege of being a mom of young kids, so how could I help you with a kids nighttime routine? By asking a real mom to share hers of course. This is the wonderful Tanecia and her kids bedtime routine tips and tricks. Thank you Tanecia!!

What ages are your children?

My Children are 1 yrs old, 3 yrs old and then I have a teenager who pretty much runs on his own preset schedule from years of practice lol.

What is your kids nighttime routine?

My two toddlers have a pretty normal bedtime routine outside of our wind-down period.

My family’s bedtime routine follows this timeline:

  • 7-8pm Eat dinner
  • 8-9pm We go to the bathroom, brush our teeth, get baths, and read a book and give hugs and kisses and then – night night!

My husband and I alternate who reads to each child at night and who puts our 1 yr old down for her first sleep stretch.

We have a very active bedtime to allow my children to go to bed in a ‘positive manner’. We don’t rush and we constantly reiterate what we are doing and what comes next.

How did you decide on this toddler nighttime routine?

My three year old son has had some developmental delays and has received amazing therapies outside of our home to provide him with the assistance he needs to self-regulate and excel in certain areas.

One of the specialized therapies he received is geared towards strenthening the ‘families bonds’. One way to do that has been to get the kids on a schedule regardless of everything else going on, the task and task order remain the same.

The time may vary to allow us as his parents to meet him or our daughter ‘where they are’ emotionally, but there is no exception to the routine.

And honestly we played around with the order in the beginning, we tried giving our son a bath first and then his little sister. We tried giving them a bath at the same time.

picture of a sleeping girl holding her soft toy. part of an article a real mom shares her real kids nighttime routine

BUT we ultimately decided it was better for us as parents and our children’s temperaments to have that specialized one on one time with each child.

So while the bath water is running my husband brushes our 1 yr old’s teeth and then bathes her and passes her to me for story and night night time.

He will then put our toddler on the potty while he runs his water and after our son washes his hands, he will brush his teeth, my husband will brush behind him, and then he gets to play in the bathtub to allow him to get comfortable enough for his bath and hair wash.

Then it’s books and night night time.

Developing this routine and sticking to it has allowed our son to thrive in all of his settings whether that is at preschool, home or therapy.

It has also set us as parents up for success as we have noticed our daughter displays some of the same behaviors her older brother is in treatment for now.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them to get them into these routines?

The biggest challenge was working through and staying consistent during the hours and hours of crying our children would do.

Even with us sitting by their beds, they would just cry and cry. My husband and I worked really hard with my son’s behavioral therapist to remain calm and in a positive state during these times.

It was hard because we as adults don’t understand why “they are crying like something is wrong”. But night after night we stayed consistent and provided positive reassurance through both touch and words, until one night it only took 1hr of crying. Then we got down to maybe 15-20mins of crying.

Now we place them in their beds after reading a book in our reading chair and say good night and there is no crying, they are both asleep with 5-10mins of being covered up. To go from bedtimes that would emotionally break us to being able to say goodnight I love you and have them fall asleep is absolutely amazing.

We remained consistent and did our best to “not match their emotion”. Instead we held their hand, rubbed their backs, and continually gave them the positive reassurance that they were ok. We waited until we left their rooms to take a breath and deal with how hard that was on us. 

a very stressed woman with her head in her hands. part of an article - a real mom shares her real kids nighttime routine

What tips do you have for other moms for a bedtime routine for 1 year old and a bedtime routine for 3 year old?

My biggest tip would be to remain consistent in your routine every night.

The timing will come, don’t worry about how much time it takes. Take your wins where you can get them and most importantly… be kind to yourself.

At the end of the day your babies are more than ok simply because they are loved by you.

Make a routine that works for your family and allows you as the parent to meet your babies “where they are” not “where we as parents wish they were”. The day I stopped comparing my journey as a mom to others and instead focused on giving my kids what they needed from me, was the day my relationship as my children’s mother changed.

You know your children love you, how could they not. But I always wondered if they liked me and now, I can say with confidence that my children like and love me lol even on hard days.

These would be my favorite kids bedtime routine tips.

Final words from me – Kim

In summary, I just want to say how amazing these words are from a real mom being real with us on how to get the best kids nighttime routine.

If you want to get a good nighttime routine as an adult – read – What are the Benefits of a Nighttime Routine for an Adult?

But let us say a big thank you to Tanecia for sharing her family’s routine with us, and giving us some fantastic tips.

The writer of these great tips:

Tanecia Favors MSN, RN, CLC




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