Bedtime Routine for Toddlers

(Last Updated On: August 12, 2019)

Chasing the kiddies around the house for bed is a common routine in many households (at least I’d like to think!). It’s almost as though “bedtime” is kiddie code for “hide and seek!” or “let’s play tag!”. Miss 9 doesn’t have as much of a problem as she’s starting to get more tired out by school and sometimes even comes to me and asks if she can go to bed. The toddler, on the other hand, is just full of beans from sunrise to sun down.

When I read about how having a bedtime routine can help toddlers wind down for bed, I wasn’t exactly convinced. I like routines and I like ‘organised’ and I like ‘planned’. But when it comes to the kids, I just find it so hard to establish and stick to one. Is it even worth the trouble? I’m glad though that I bit the bullet a few weeks ago and really made the effort to get into a routine, especially since the little one starts pre-school next year.

bedtime routine for toddlers

1) I usually start the wind down with a little bribe of “bath” and “bubbles”. There’s nothing like a nice bath with music, candles, some fruit to snack on maybe, bubbles and beautiful scents of essential oils to wind down after a busy day. But wait, are we talking about bath time for mum or kid here? Sorry, I got confused. For the kiddo’s bath, it’s definitely sans candles and fruit. Just lots of bubbles, Jurlique Baby’s Gentle Shampoo & Body Wash (that Lavender and Chamomile definitely work a treat!) and some simple bath toys instead.

Jurlique Baby's Gentle Shampoo & Body Wash Review

2) Background noise/music. This little one has always loved some white noise since she was an infant. That’s where Spotify comes in handy. I have so many lullabies on hand, or even classical music. I turn it on very, very softly in the background and leave it on until about 30 minutes after she falls asleep. Read about Marpac Dohm White Noise Machine

3) Dim lighting. I shut the room light and turn on the bedside lamp for a soft, soothing glow. The kind that makes people want to crawl under the covers and feel the softness of the sheets swallow them. In fact, Miss 2 knows this routine quite well now – once I turn on the music, she usually swings over to the other side of bed to tap the touchlamp on without me telling her to.

4) A little massage. We always joke about how we envy Miss 2 because she just gets to “enjoy life” all the time, what with being carried around or snuggled in the stroller. And what’s this now – she even gets massages? Life’s too good! I use just a tiny drop of oil (I’ve been using the ones from Crop Natural Skincare) to gently massage her feet or back. Admittedly, I sometimes do this for only a short minute or two.

5) Bedtime story. The essential book reading for Miss 2 seems quite counterintuitive at times. It does nothing to relax her, in fact, it gets her a little too excited. I get a flurry of questions, silly expressions, snatching of book, wild flipping of pages. I think we’d get better at this slowly but in the meantime, I’m still keeping this as part of this toddler’s bedtime routine.

6) Then, it’s Mummy’s bedtime tales. This is the real bedtime story part that will actually calm her down. For this one, since there’s no visuals for company, I tell Miss 2 she has to shut her eyes before I’ll tell her my (short) story for the night. She happily does so and starts to really settle in at this point. I then drop my voice to a low whisper while gently twirling her hair or massaging her back. Kid lurves it! Usually out in a few minutes.

These take us a short 20 minutes from bath to bed and it’s working great for us at the moment. Although I have to point out she’s sleeping in our room in her cot at the moment as her room is still being renovated. I’m not sure how things will change when we have to ease her into sleeping in her own room.

What’s your child’s bedtime routine like? Do you have any tips to share?


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  • I love your routine!! The music is a nice touch, the massage sounds lovely and I like the idea of Mummy’s tales for having them close their eyes and relax! I will be saving this article to read again when my little one is in need of something similar!

  • Great routine!!! Massage is something that might work in helping my Mr 4 to get to sleep. He’s great at getting into bed, and you never hear a peep from him, but he takes ages to get to sleep ‘because he’s imagining’ Massage and some calmingvisualisation may become good for this.

    Hello from #teamIBOT

    • Massage is something I used to do for my little one when she was a baby, then I happily stopped (last thing a tired mum wants to do is give massages lol) but I have picked it up again and found it such a good way of relaxing and calming her for bed.

  • Actually, good idea! I’m sure some of these steps can be applied to ourselves too. I wouldn’t mind a relaxing bath before bed every night hah!

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