6 Sample Toddler Bedtime Routines

Check out these routines to see what works for different families.

Yutthana Teerakarunkar / EyeEm

For toddlers, routines are often the key to smoother transitions, better behavior and happier little ones. But of all the routines in a toddler’s life, bedtime is arguably the most important.

Setting up a bedtime routine can seem difficult particularly if one or both parents work into the evening hours, but it’s important to establish a schedule. A solid bedtime routine can help you ensure your toddler is getting enough sleep – up to 14 hours a day between naps and bedtime.

For many toddlers, that usually ends up being nearly 12 hours at night and 2 hours during naps.

Struggling to stick to a routine? Check out these real-life examples of bedtimes routines from families with different schedules and caregiving situations to get ideas that will work for you.

Stay-at-home Mom and Working Dad with a Toddler

"We have dinner as a family around 6 p.m. That is followed by playtime before our bedtime routine begins at 7. Since dad has been at work all day, he’s in charge of the bath, which happens three times a week, getting our son into his pajamas and stories. We wind down with snuggles and songs before lights out at 7:30. He wakes up between 6:30 and 7:20 a.m. We usually don’t have to be anywhere before 9, so I let him sleep."

Two Working Parents with a Toddler and Baby

"We try to eat dinner at 5:30 p.m., but sometimes it doesn’t happen until 6. After dinner, we do baths every night because our 2-year-old has eczema, and our doctor said one bath a day can be beneficial. We make sure to use moisturizer as soon as he gets out of the bath. At 7, we read a bedtime story and then lights out by 7:30. The 10-month-old’s routine is a different story; we’re still working on that."

Part-Time Working Mom and Working Dad with a Toddler

"At 7 p.m., we clean up the toys and get the bath started. We only do a bath once every few days unless he is really active. Then we change into PJs and he gets his lovey, which he absolutely needs to fall asleep. Then I bring him to his room, turn on the sound machine and put him in his crib. We talk about the day and how much fun the next day will be. Lights out happens between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., but always by 8:30."

Stay-at-Home Mom and Working Dad with a 3-year-old and Baby

"We eat dinner between 5-7 p.m., depending on the day. After dinner, we clean up the kitchen and the baby is changed into pajamas and nursed and rocked to sleep between 8-8:30, while the oldest spends quality time with Daddy. After that, I help the oldest clean up his toys, and then he is changed. I still hum him to sleep, and he is asleep between 8:30-9 p.m. Every other night they get baths before bedtime."

Stay-at-Home Mom and Work-from-Home Dad with a 3-Year-Old

"Our daughter is 3 now. We wait until she’s tired, which isn’t always at the same time. We take one last potty break, wash up and put on pajamas. We read two books and sing a few songs. Then we lay down with her until she falls asleep, which is usually only 5 to 20 minutes. Her bedtime is between 9 and 11 p.m., but she’s typically asleep by 10, and she wakes wake up around 9 a.m. She still takes an afternoon nap, too."

Two Working Parents with a 1-Year-Old

"We pick up from daycare at 4:30 p.m., and play or go on a long walk. Dinner is at 5:30; followed by a bath at 6 and bottle at 6:30. Then we do a story while in bed and our son is usually immediately asleep by 6:45. He wakes up between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m."

Continue Reading