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9 Simple Steps To A Perfect Toddler Bedtime Routine

9 Simple Steps To A Perfect Toddler Bedtime Routine

Bedtime can be a tough transition for parents and children, especially when they don’t want to go to bed. 

I’m going to share with you a few tips and tricks to get your toddler to go to bed without a battle and how to find the perfect toddler bedtime routine.

Make sure to read this entire article and let me help you get your toddler to bed without any fuss.

In This Article

9 simple steps to a perfect toddler bedtime routine 

#1 Be Consistent

Follow the same routine every night. Start by winding down with some quiet activities, put on their pajamas, brush their teeth and read a bedtime story. 

This will help your toddler know what to expect and when it’s time to wind down for bed. 

Don’t rush the routine. Rushing may lead to your toddler fighting bedtime or may lead them to get out of bed once you leave the room.

Once a bedtime routine is established, stick to it and be firm on keeping the bedtime routine consistent.

#2 Give A Heads Up That Bedtime Is Coming

Toddler Bedtime Routine

Toddlers can be so wrapped up in whatever activity they are doing, and if they are abruptly pulled away from that activity, it can cause them to throw a tantrum, or, in this case, battle their parents about going to bed. 

To help prevent the battle and the tantrums, give a heads up to your toddler. You may say something like, “Do you want to go to bed now or in 10 minutes?”

This way, your toddler knows that bedtime is coming and as the timer counts down, give your toddler more heads up that the 5 minutes is almost over. This will help make the transition to the bedtime routine much smoother.

#3 Make A Bedtime Board

A bedtime board is where you cut out pictures of different steps in your toddler’s bedtime routine, and once that step is completed, your toddler can move that picture to the “done” column. 

This is a great way to help your toddler know what order the bedtime routine goes in, and it also helps them see their progress.

You can even put a picture of their favorite bedtime song or book on the board as the last thing to do before bed, so they have something to look forward to after completing all the steps in their bedtime routine.

#4 Limit Screens Before Bed

Melatonin is the hormone that helps us feel sleepy and relaxes our bodies for bed. Screens from phones, tablets, and TVs can all emit a blue light that can suppress the production of melatonin. 

So it’s important to limit screen time before bed to help prepare your toddler’s body for sleep.

You may want to have a “no screens” rule starting 30 to 60 minutes before bed. You can read stories, color, or do other calm activities together during this time.

#5 Calm Their Fears

It’s not unusual for toddlers to be scared of monsters or the dark. If your toddler is afraid of the dark, you may want to consider getting a nightlight and have them help you pick one out.

You can also talk about the monsters with your toddler and help them understand that the monsters are not real and can’t hurt them. You might even want to make a “monster spray” together. This is just a simple mixture of water and lavender essential oil that you can spray around the room to help keep the monsters away.

Whatever your toddler may be scared of, comfort those fears and help them learn what they can do when they feel afraid at night.

#6 Spend Quality Time Together

Toddler Bedtime Routine

One of the best ways to help your toddler go to bed without a battle is to spend quality time together during the day, especially before bed. This will help your toddler feel loved and secure and make them more likely to want to go to bed when it’s time.

Toddlers may struggle to go to bed because they feel the absence of their parents. So fill up their bucket by spending undistracted time before bed. That way, your toddler feels loved and goes to bed happy.

#7 Adjust Your Toddler’s Bedtime

If your toddler struggles to go to bed at night, you may need to adjust their schedule. If your toddler is still taking naps during the day and has an early bedtime, you may want to push their bedtime back or shorten their nap time. 

Toddlers won’t go to bed if they aren’t tired, and if they are being put to bed while they are not tired, they may fight against going to bed.

So you want to make sure your toddler is tired by bedtime, and if they aren’t, then adjust their schedule.

#8 Use Your Toddler’s Bed For Sleeping Only

This means no watching TV, eating snacks, or playing in their bed. The bed should be for sleeping only so that your toddler associates their bed with sleep.

If your toddler is fighting against going to bed because they don’t want to miss out on the fun. You may want to consider making some changes to your toddler’s bedroom.

#9 Get Your Toddler Involved

Instead of getting your toddler ready for bed yourself, get them involved by letting them pick out what pajamas to wear or if they want to brush their teeth before taking a bath or after.

This will make your toddler’s bedtime routine run smoothly, and they will be more likely to cooperate if they are involved in the process.

Plus, it’s an excellent way for your toddler to feel some independence and learn how to get ready for bed on their own.

What Should I Include In My Toddler’s Bedtime Routine?

Toddler Bedtime Routine

Bedtime routines for toddlers should be short and simple. You want to include all the important steps of getting ready for bed without dragging it out. A typical toddler bedtime routine may look something like this:

  • Take a bath
  • Get into pajamas
  • Brush teeth 
  • Read a story
  • Sing a song
  • Give your toddler a hug and kiss goodnight

As you can see, a toddler’s bedtime routine shouldn’t be too long or complicated.

Why Do Toddlers Fight Going To Bed?

Toddlers may fight going to bed because they are overtired, don’t want to miss out on the fun, or because they are scared of the dark.

With all the changes happening in your little one’s life, bedtime can be difficult for you and them. It may seem like there are no answers as to why they’re struggling at night. But here is some information about what could cause these struggles.

1) Confusion With Routine: 

Sometimes kids get tired after a long day, so it might require slower diligence on behalf of parents or guardians when getting them ready for bed.

2) Needs You To Be Near Them When They fall Asleep: 

If your toddler is used to falling asleep with you next to him. It may be hard to get your toddler to fall asleep on their own. They may cry or get out of bed because they feel alone and wants you near them. If your toddler is struggling to stay in their bed all night long. Check out this article right here.

How To Make Your Toddler Stay In Bed All Night!

Toddler bedtime doesn’t have to be a battle. If you follow these tips, you can make it a smooth and easy process. 


If you are interested in learning more about raising toddlers, how how to set boundaries that stick, how positively discipline your child and how to prevent power struggles check out my book called Parenting Without Drama here.