If you know me at all, you know that I’m VERY serious about sleep.
I hate staying up late (I’ve never once in my entire life pulled an all-nighter) and I deeply value getting enough sleep. (I personally aim for 8 hours a night).
So, as you can imagine, I’m also fairly serious about my girls going to bed both so that they can get enough sleep and so that I can get enough sleep!
Here’s what our current bedtime routine looks like with our four girls (who are ages 4, 6, 8 and 10). (If you’re curious what it looked like at an earlier date, here’s a similar post I did almost exactly 3 years ago when I had 1, 3, 5, and 7 year olds).
What Our Bedtime Routine Looks Like Right Now
6:00 p.m. We have dinner as a family. It’s usually half an hour that we all sit around the table eating and we also have our family scripture study during this time (the last 10-15 minutes) since everyone is already together and sitting down.
6:30 p.m. Everyone clears their plates and I put away the food while Bart does the dishes. The girls all get in their pajamas and brush their teeth and the big girls pack their school lunches and we do some cleaning up of the living room and dining room.
6:45 p.m. I do reading practice with Star for about 10 minutes and then with Ani for about 10 minutes.
7:15 p.m. We head to the playroom or one of the girls’ bedrooms and I read aloud to all four girls while they work on a puzzle, color, play with LEGOs or do embroidery.
7:45 p.m. The big girls head to their rooms and I take Tally to her room and tuck her into bed. She usually looks at books or colors or does paint by stickers in bed while listening to a book on CD until she falls asleep. She has a sound machine, plus keeps her bedside lamp on all night long.
The big girls can read or chat or play in their rooms for the next little while.
9:00 p.m. Lights out for the big girls although they can keep listening to audiobooks for another 30-45 minutes as long as they stay in bed (I don’t generally turn them off – I just let them run until the book or CD ends, unless it’s very late and I’m going to bed and can hear it).
The big girls set the alarm clocks on their Echo Dots so they can get up the next morning at 7:30 to get ready for school.
I try not to be overly strict about bedtime. My goal is to have a good bedtime routine so that their bodies can get enough sleep and that there is a natural routine and rhythm for winding down and getting consistent rest, but I don’t want it to be so prescriptive that bedtime feels like a punishment or that there is a lot of fighting or resistance around bedtime.
Right now, bedtime doesn’t feel too laborious as a parent, although certainly just by virtue of writing this post, someone is suddenly going to decide they hate bedtime and want to push back every night.
And certainly there are nights when it goes less smoothly than others or some child comes in to our room 1,304 times between 8:00 and 10:00. It’s just part of family life and I never expect it to be perfect every single night.
What does the bedtime routine in your house look like right now?
(P.S. Anytime I mention our bedtime routine, I get a million questions asking “but when do they take baths?” The girls all take baths or showers on Sunday morning, and then usually one other time during the week sometime in the afternoon after school and before dinner. Clearly, I’m not someone who feels like children need to be bathed every day).
If you liked this post about bedtime, you might like these posts too:
- Bedtime stories for kids that don’t want to go to sleep
- One trick that makes my night time routine so much easier
- The zipper bedding I swear by
Photos by Heather Mildenstein