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Sweet Dreams Made Simple: 7 Evening Routines to Prevent Bedtime Battles

It is the hardest time of day to be intentional about our parenting. We're worn out from the day, our patience is depleted, and the stakes feel high as we are well aware how much harder tomorrow will be if our kids don't get to bed on time. This is your invitation to put in the extra time today. Think of the challenges you face at bedtime and craft a bedtime routine with intention. Then tonight, all you'll need to do is follow the plan.

Here are 5 routines to pave the way for a smoother transition to bedtime:


At least 30 minutes before your kids will be in bed, lead your child in some movement activities that will help them have a calmer body when it's time to be in bed.

Animal Walk Game

Call out an animal and then have your child(ren) walk across the room as if they are that animal. Start with animals that move fast or have big movements, like "bunny" or "cheetah." End with something slow, like a "turtle."

Weighted Animal Toss

Play with weighted stuffed animals - here are three ways to play: 1. Wrap them in a blanket and have your child pull it across the room. 2. Toss the weighted stuffed animal back and forth, getting farther away from each other with each toss. 3. Place a basket across the room and try to throw the animal into the basket.

Yoga or Stretching

Follow a simple yoga or stretching routine. If you don't know where to start, you can use an interactive yoga/stretching book or follow a video.


Each child has their go-to requests, but the most common seam to be asking for food or water. Build your child's request into their bedtime routine, so they have less reason to climb out of bed later.

Bedtime Snack

"I'm hungry" pulls at a parent like nothing else. Rather than trying to figure out if they're truly hungry or just stalling before lights out, offer a snack at the beginning of your bedtime routine.

Fill up Bedside Water

As soon as they finish their snack, it's time to fill up a cup for the inevitable "I'm thirsty" complaints that you don't want to be hearing later. I prefer to use a sippy cup or water bottle to prevent spills.


Kids are often getting out of bed over and over in search of connection. They will use all sorts of excuses, but they really just want to be with you. Take the time to connect at the end of your bedtime routine and they are more likely to stay put....fingers crossed :)

Pillow Talk

A 10 to 15 minute snuggle at the end of your child's bedtime routine is the perfect time to talk about whatever is on their mind. Without the other distractions of the day, they are more likely to open up. You can also add rituals such as "high, low, buffalo" in which they share a highlight from the day (high), something they wish had gone better (low), and anything else they want to share (buffalo). Take the time to tell them how much you love them.


Daydreaming can trick our minds into thinking we've already started dreaming and lead us to falling asleep. Ask your child what they want to dream about and ask them to describe it.


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