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Bedtime Routines for Kids: Dos and Don’ts

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Update: May 12, 2023
4 min read

Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
Bedtime Routine For Kids

As a parent, you don’t want your child to suffer from a poor night’s rest as you might have experienced what it does to you. You tend to wake up groggy, low on energy, and plain irritable. In fact, research suggests almost 20% to 30% of babies have trouble falling asleep. You can teach kids the right habits and avoid sleepless nights with a good bedtime routine. So how can you do it? Read ahead!

What Is a Bedtime Routine?

A bedtime routine is nothing but a set of consistent activities that are carried out to help your little one relax and unwind. Bedtime routines for toddlers help them prepare for bed and offer a sense of security. Research shows that children who follow a proper bedtime routine fall asleep easily, sleep for longer and experience an uninterrupted slumber. Having a routine also leads to high sleep quality years later. That’s not all. Creating a bedtime routine for kids can aid their overall well-being and helps with their development.

How To Build a Bedtime Routine for Kids?

A bedtime routine consists of a few activities that are always conducted in the same order. The main goal of a bedtime routine is to ensure your child can fall asleep on their own without your intervention. So, if your child wakes up in the middle of the night, they can go back to sleep independently. To build a bedtime routine, you can choose some of the typical night-time activities, such as;

  • Reading a bedtime story 
  • Brushing your teeth 
  • A warm bath 
  • Last diaper change 
  • Feeding a small snack 
  • Putting on pyjamas 
  • Watching TV
  • Singing a lullaby or listening to soothing music 

The bedtime routine should end with the light out. You must leave the room while your child is sleepy but not yet fast asleep.

Sleep duration after bedtime routine chart for kids

Age RangeNumber of Hours of Sleep
Newborn0-3 months old14-17 hours
Infant4-11 months old12-15 hours
Toddler1-2 years old11-14 hours
Preschool3-5 years old10-13 hours
School-age6-13 years old9-11 hours

Bedtime Routine Do’s

Take a look at some of the things you must do when developing a bedtime routine for toddlers getting ready for bed. But what age for bedtime routine? You can start by the time your child reaches around 3 months.

Be consistent

The sleep time tends to change as your child grows up. However, the bedtime routine should remain constant as it then becomes a habit. For instance, your toddler’s bedtime routine may start as early as 6:30 P.M. and can include a bath, brushing teeth, getting dressed for bed, reading a story, and getting in bed.

Include dental hygiene

Proper dental hygiene is a good habit. It prevents tooth decay and doesn’t lead to food cravings at night. 

Make it age-appropriate

The bedtime routine should always be age-appropriate, so your kid enjoys the time you spend with them. For instance,  bedtime for a 3-year-old cannot be the same as the bedtime routine for your teenager.

Offer some choices

While your toddler cannot choose the time they go to bed or the duration of the bedtime routine, allow them some choice, so they enjoy a semblance of control. For instance, when it comes to bedtime stories, you can ask them to choose. 

Remind kids to use the bathroom

If your little one is having issues with bedwetting, you must remind them to use the bathroom right before bed. 

Try to incorporate a bath

Baths before bed can be a relaxing activity for children. So, if your little one goes to bed by, let’s say, 8 P.M, a nice warm bath between 6-7 P.M. can be ideal. 

Understand that a little crying can be okay

Sometimes, before settling down or when they wake up in the middle of the night, there are chances that toddlers cry a little. You can try to let them settle on their own for a few minutes, but if it continues, they will need your support.

Make the room dark, but not too dark

Make sure you switch off the lights and close the shades so the room stays dark and your little one can enjoy a deep slumber. But, if your child enjoys a bit of light in the room, use a dim light, not something too bright.

Use a security object

Having a sleep companion, like a stuffed toy or a favourite blanket, can add a sense of security and make sure your child feels safe.

Bedtime Routine Don’ts 

Now that you know everything you must do to develop a bedtime routine in your child, take a look at bedtime routine don’ts. 

Avoid stimulating activities before bed

If your little one is having trouble falling asleep, avoid stimulating activities, such as watching television or playing video games, before bedtime.

Assume that your child will outgrow poor sleep habits

If your child has poor sleeping habits, never assume they will outgrow it as it can become an everyday habit. Instead, fix it immediately.

Drag it out

If your child is asking you to narrate another story or asking for more cuddles or hugs, make sure you stop after a point, and once the door is closed, don’t entertain any more requests. 

Create poor sleep associations

Don’t let your little one fall asleep while watching television or listening to music, as they may wake up in the middle of sleep and may need your help again to fall asleep.

Give caffeine before bed

Sugar or caffeine-rich products, such as coffee-flavoured ice creams, must be avoided as they can make it difficult to fall asleep. If your little one wants a snack, choose something healthy.

What Are the Benefits of Bedtime Routine for Kids?

Some of the main benefits of a bedtime routine for kids include;

  • Kids can fall asleep faster 
  • They enjoy high-quality sleep
  • Improved mood 
  • The bond between parent and child strengthens 
  • Helps with language development
  • Supports emotional and behavioural regulation


Proper sleep is essential for children for their overall growth and development. Here, a bedtime routine is beneficial for longer and better sleep. Have a simple bedtime routine that doesn’t feel like too much work and forges a strong bond between you and the little one!


What is a good bedtime routine for an 8-year-old?

Your eight-year-old needs about 9-11 hours of sleep and must go to bed before 9 PM. You can add a bath, dental hygiene, and storytelling as a part of their bedtime routine.

How can I improve my kid’s bedtime routine?

Some tricks you can try here are;

  • Have a consistent bedtime 
  • Give them some time to settle and relax 
  • Have a set bedtime routine as mentioned in the article above

What is bedtime for a 12-year-old?

It is important for a 12-year-old to enjoy about 9 hours of sleep and they can go to bed by 9 PM.

Should a 17-year-old have a bedtime?

Teens should go to bed between 9 to 10 PM.

What time do 30-year-olds go to bed?

Adults should go to bed between 10 to 11 PM.


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Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
With a Master's Degree in Mass Communication and nearly two decades of professional expertise in crafting healthcare articles, he possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field.

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