Win Bedtime Battles: Build a Better Bedtime Routine

“It’s time for bed.”

Does that phrase send shivers down your spine? Do you grit your teeth knowing an epic battle is about to begin? Meltdowns, unending water or snack cycles, wrestling a toddler to try to wedge a toothbrush into their tiny mouth?

There are so many reasons why bedtime can become a battlefield in families. What if I told you it’s my favorite time of day with my children? What if I told you, they don’t fight me every night, but it’s a time of relaxation and enjoying time together? I want to share with you our secret, so you can have a peaceful family bedtime as well. The secret is our bedtime routine.

Here are some of the top problems at bedtime:


Some kids need help transitioning from one activity to another. The best way to face this is to have a set time that the bedtime routine will begin, and five minutes before that, warn your child that it’s almost time to get ready for bed. Another warning at one minute if they need extra help transitioning. Then, tell them, “it’s time to get ready for bed.”


Of course kids are going to be tired at bedtime. That’s the trick to my routine. We start the bedtime routine an hour before bedtime, so they still have enough steam in their engine to do all the activities needed to get ready for bed before they can’t function from tiredness.


We incorporate bedtime snacks into the routine, so no one will go to bed with a rumble in their tummy that will keep them awake.

Separation Anxiety

Being apart from Mom and Dad is hard for kids at different developmental stages. Sometimes you may need to stay in their room a little bit longer, or promise to come back and check on them in a few minutes. This is normal. If you follow a regular routine for bedtime though, they should feel the security of that routine and settle in much more easily to their bed and nighttime.

Developmental Milestones

Sleep also can be spotty during toddler years when children are learning so many new skills. There may be nights where the child will have trouble falling asleep, but by following a routine, these will become rare, not typical.

A Wonderful Routine

Let me walk you through our bedtime routine. I start the routine one hour before bedtime. You can adjust the time based on how long each step takes your family. The real trick is to start your bedtime routine at the same time every night and do all the steps in the same order every night. This is the structure that will help kids relax and be able to fall asleep easily. Kids thrive with routine. It helps them feel safe to know exactly what will happen next.

Here is our bedtime routine, and I promise it’s amazing. We have had my own kids and our foster kids on this routine, and it works for everyone once they get used to the routine.

  • Bath/Shower
    • Relax and settle down, wash away the dirt and cares of the day.
  • Get Dressed for Bed
    • Comfy PJs
    • Soft textures
    • Warm and snuggly
  • Bedtime Snacks
    • Get an easy, healthy snack to eat while you read.
    • Our family loves apple slices or bananas, sometimes crackers. Other great ideas: carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, pears, grapes.
  • Story Time
    • Let the kids pick a book (another trick of the trade)
    • If you have more than one child, let them each pick a story. No arguing between kids, and everyone learns to listen to stories that were not their pick as well.
    • This is when our family does our Bible reading as well.
  • Brush Teeth
  • Tuck into bed
  • Nightlight/Sound Machine/Fans
    • These can help with nightime anxiety or distractions. Some kids need less light, some more. You may need to try different methods if sleep is still not easy at this point.
  • Prayers
  • Lullabies
  • Kisses and Hugs

You’re done!

I would love to hear if this method worked for you, or if you have a different take on a bedtime routine that works for your family. I want to stress once more: routine is the most important part of winning bedtime battles. If your child has a steady step-by-step method to going to bed, your evenings together will become smooth and snuggly.

Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse–
Perhaps you have seen him before;
Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept
Through the moonlight that floats on the floor.
For it’s only at night, when the stars twinkle bright,
That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh
And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane,
Is up on his heels and away!
The moon in the sky, 
As he gallops by,
Cries: “Oh! what a marvellous sight!”
And the Stars in dismay
Hide their faces away
In the lap of old Grandmother Night.

Eugene Field

The Fly-Away Horse


New videos this month:

Upcoming Book Launch

Summer is here and I know I will not be able to focus as fully on creating this summer. Instead I will be spending more time with my family and reading and soaking in the sunshine.😎

I will be prepping for my book launch in September, and I have already been getting quotes from printers and lining up some other special goodies. I am going to launch my book with Kickstarter, which is a wonderful way for independant creators, like myself, to fund the printing of indie books. It works a lot like a preorder, but Kickstarter also brings an extra audience to your work to help with the promotion.

As soon as I have the page for my Kickstarter ready, I’ll let you, my newsletter subscribers, know first! 

Enjoy some promo mock-ups I’ve created for now…

Storm Trucks book cover
Open book
open book

Books Picks This Month:

Picture Book:

Behold the Octopus!

Behold the Octopus!

Written by Suzanne Slade
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

Behold the octopus! This remarkable animal hides beneath the seas, so you may not realize that it is one of the most incredible, talented creatures on our planet.

Fortunately, this nonfiction picture book from an award-winning team reveals the fascinating features of the glorious octopus, such as lights that attract prey, legs that walk on land, and the ability to change color and shape to match their surroundings and even masquerade as other animals.

My Take: This book is beautifully illustrated, with amazing pictures of these mysterious creatures. I love seeing the variety of octopuses, and I learned so many new facts from reading this book. There is even one octopus that I didn’t even know existed, and it’s so glorious. Great non-fiction pick.

Middle Grade/YA:

Freewater book


by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp.

In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home.

Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, this is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage.

My Take: This one has won some major awards, and for good reason. It’s a great book. It deals with slaves running away from plantations, but it’s not graphic in the violence, and has a real kid-adventure vibe all the way through. I loved it!


Hello Beautiful book cover

Hello Beautiful

by Ann Napolitano

William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him–so when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable: Sylvie, the family’s dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.

But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?

My Take: My book club read this book and we had a fabulous discussion about it. I liked it, although it was more depressing than a lot of books I read. It really brought out a lot of ideas about motherhood, family dynamics, and forgiveness. 

Until next time,

Charlotte J. Glaze