Natty cot bed

Sleeping guides: Bedtime routine for toddlers

Bedtime routines: what they are and how they help

A bedtime routine is when your child does similar activities in roughly the same order each night before they go to sleep.

The activities in a good bedtime routine help your child fall asleep more easily at bedtime. Without a good bedtime routine, it can be hard for babies, children and teenagers to settle to sleep.

Bedtime routines change and become more flexible as your child gets older. But all children and teenagers – and adults too – benefit from calming, relaxing activities before or at bedtime. This helps them get the sleep they need to play, learn and concentrate during the day.

Positive bedtime routines for babies, toddlers and preschoolers

A positive bedtime routine for babies, toddlers and young children helps soothe and calm your child so they’re ready for sleep. It might start around 20 minutes before your child’s bedtime and include:

  • pre-bed tasks, like having a bath and brushing teeth
  • quiet, enjoyable activities with you, like reading or listening to a story.

Here’s an example of a bedtime routine that could start after dinner and a bath:

  • Your child plays quietly for 15-20 minutes – for example, playing with toys, playing a game with you or listening to music.
  • You and your child share a story. This might happen in a comfortable chair somewhere quiet, or you could put your child to bed and read in bed with them.
  • If your child isn’t already in bed, you put your child to bed.
  • You and your child have a cuddle and a kiss goodnight.
  • When the routine is finished, you let your child know that it’s time for sleep. This means no more stories or talking. Say goodnight to your child, turn out the light and leave the room.

It’s a good idea to keep your child’s bedtime routine and bedtime at around the same time each night. This will also help your child feel ready for sleep.

It can take a few weeks, but a positive bedtime routine will improve settling problems, decrease the number of times your child calls out to you at night, and lead to better parent-child relationships.

Resources taken from the trusted Australian parenting guide:

bedtime routine for toddlers


Spice up your bedtime routine by incorporating The Archie Bookcase and The Teddy Bookcase (*coming soon*) for a more enjoyable experience.


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