Bedtime Routine

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Two weeks ago, I did A Week in the Life of Us post and had so many questions about my kiddos’ bedtime routine.  So, today…we’re talking about it.

Buuuuuuut…I’m not giving advice.  I’m asking you to share your advice because quite honestly, I’m pretty sure we screwed this up nine years ago.  Ha!

Andrew and I joke all the time that we’ve become better parents the more children we’ve had (sorry Kensington!).  One of the things we did not do well in the beginning was putting our kids to bed.  Nine years later, Kensington still has the most complex bedtime routine while Madeley is like “peace out” and falls asleep.

We thought we had a really good little routine going with Kensington, but in hindsight, we should have edited it down just a bit.

When Kensington was little, we would give her a bath, put on her pjs and let her watch one show while having milk before bed.  All of you veteran mamas out there…why is that a big mistake?

Because when it came time to potty train her, we realized it was dumb to fill her full of liquids right before bed.  DUH! #noonetoldusthat #newparentproblems

Well, she didn’t like that.  She had gone over 2 years with this little routine and was ticked when we were like “no milk for you before bed”.  Ha!  That was only one of the problems.  Kensington’s bedtime routine was just loooooooong.  Still to this day, it takes her the longest to get her bedtime routine over with.  She has to make sure she has all 8 of her stuffed animals all lined up in a row (and yes, she knows when one is missing), she has to have her TWO favorite blankets (why did we give her two?!), she likes to listen to this one song on her iPad (it’s a lullaby), says her prayers and goes to sleep.  She jokes with us about it now because she knows it’s a production 🙂 .

Then you get to this fourth kid and she grabs one stuffed animal on her way up the bunk bed ladder, says her prayers and is asleep before we turn off the light.  Ha!

Needless to say…I’m not sure if we should be offering advice.

As a general rule, we always do this at night:

1: Let them wind down before bed.  Even if we get home pretty late, we know they need a minute to wind down with a TV show or book…just something before putting them to bed.

2: Say our prayers with each kiddo (Andrew and I each take turns doing it with the kids so that each kid gets a prayer by each of us each night)

3: We love sound machines at our house.  This might be another bad thing we’ve done, but we all sleep with some sort of sound machine in our rooms.  Hmmmmm…maybe that’s not a positive thing…

4: We keep things dark.  We’ve always kept their rooms dark, so we don’t sleep with any nightlights.  This helps when we’re traveling too because they’re not used to some sort of particular light.

I get asked all the time about how we deal with bedtime routines and naps while we’re on vacation…

…I did a whole post on napping that you can read HERE.  I include in that post my tips and tricks for getting them to nap and sleep when you’re traveling too.  Plus, there are a lot of funny pics of my kids asleep in crazy places in that post too.  It made me laugh to go back and re-read it.

So, what do you do to establish a bedtime routine???  I’m sure all of the new mamas out there would love to know.  Please comment and share your dos and don’ts. xo

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog March 6, 2018 at 4:41 am

    Sounds like you have a great system going on with the kids, Shay! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • Michelle March 6, 2018 at 9:41 am

      I concur, first kid I rocked and sang lullabies to that baby till he was like 2 every single nap and bedtime. If we were in the car during nap time, I would turn the radio down and sing said lullabies, and bam, he would knock right out. Lol. 4 years later, kid number two, he would nurse/drink a bottle and we put him straight to bed. He was and is the best sleeper still ( he’s 17 ) Kid number 3, same routine.

  • Danielle March 6, 2018 at 4:59 am

    oh my goodness! Shay, my three year old son is the ultimate staller when it comes to bedtime! I am telling you it is always “Mama I need a little water”, etc. His bedtime routine is a production too and he also needs “all of his animals to keep him good company”. It is such a routine now. My one year old- just goes right to bed after story. I don’t know if it is an age thing or like you with the first born a longer bedtime routine was created -#newparentproblems!

  • Nicole March 6, 2018 at 5:01 am

    I’m laughing because I have three kids, my first being a 5 1/2 girl and her bedtime routine sounds oh so familiar to Kensington’s!! I think so much of that is being first born!! 😉 We also have a 3 year old and 8 month old, both boys. We also ALL use sound machines, too. Haha! At our home: Dinner, (when it’s nice) a walk outside, or some sort of activity/inside play, baths, show and a snack, prayers, bed. It’s a flurry, that’s for sure! I’m certain one day we’ll look back on these days and miss them so much! Long routines and all. 🙂

  • Angel varney March 6, 2018 at 5:06 am

    So funny-we did the same thing with our first child and he is still the worst sleeper! The next one was a piece of cake and by the tone the baby came along I’d learned a thing or ten and she’s the easiest one of them yet:)

  • Kristen March 6, 2018 at 5:11 am

    I totally agree that we become better parents the more children we have. We make things way too complicated in the beginning. In my opinion milk isn’t good before bed not only for bed wetting issues but also it sits on their teeth all night long. We brush teeth (two rounds of ABC’s) and that’s it. In my (second opinion) any type of electronics before bed isn’t recommended because it stimulates their little brains instead of calming them. Our rule is no screen time before bed. Instead we read books. We still read aloud books to my nine year old. We’ve always tried to read living books to them like Little House on the Prairie, Bears of Blue River, Abernathy Boys…something that provokes thought and imagination. I have three kiddos, two boys and a girl. Nine, Seven and Five.

  • Dana March 6, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Yes!! We did the same thing with our first- hour long bath (!), reading for 20-30 minutes, dancing time (?!), prayers, singing, white noise…I’m exhausted just thinking about it. 🙂 I still think bedtime takes too long and all we do now is brush teeth, potty, drink of water (I agree- huge mistake, but it’s so hard to break the habit!), and pajamas. I have been trying to set a timer to keep us on track. I also recently started taking control of the toothbrush and toothpaste because they weren’t brushing very well and toothpaste was everywhere. That has helped a lot and now no one loses their toothbrush and I feel good that their teeth are thoroughly brushed. I’ve also learned to take a few extra minutes to make sure they have gotten everything done correctly to avoid yelling at me from their bedrooms. Once they’re in bed, it’s done and they know that. 🙂 Parenting has a big learning curve! And it’s kind of a sad thought, but Madeley and Ashby probably also learned early how to soothe themselves to sleep. I think that is one of the most important gifts we can give to our kiddos, but it can be so hard to do!

  • Leah March 6, 2018 at 5:29 am

    I’m reading this almost laughing to myself. We did the same thing with our first. We rocked her to sleep with a sippy cup of water until she was 2. Now she is almost 4 and if we would rock her to sleep she would love that. Some night it’s an hour and a half of reading and rocking and singing before we get her to sleep. Our second is 1 and she does not want to be rocked at all. We put her down and she is out. I can only joke and laugh about how we “ruined” our first. I guess we can’t go back now. Lol (secretly some night my husband and I love rocking her still )

  • Julie C. March 6, 2018 at 5:31 am

    Do you take your sound machines with when you travel?? We also sleep with sound machines & I have a REALLLLLY hard time sleeping in hotels without it. HAHAHA!!!!

    • Mix and Match Mama March 6, 2018 at 5:56 am

      We sound the sound machine app on our phones. I’m pretty sure we’ve created a bad habit here…

      • Jami March 6, 2018 at 10:12 am

        I have to know more about the sound machine app. We take ours with us, we take our smallest one but it still takes up a lot of space, especially when you fly. Do you keep your phone plugged in the whole night, does it get hot?

        • Mix and Match Mama March 6, 2018 at 11:11 am

          We have it on every phone and iPad! It’s called White Noise and it’s fantastic!

          • Shevonne March 7, 2018 at 7:44 am

            We have the same BUT I Definitely think this is an issue we’ve created as she(4) cannot sleep without it & my husband cannot sleep with it🤣
            Hotel room sleeping is always interesting!
            BUT Whatever Way Gets Them to Slepp IS THE BEST WAY so if she has to take it to college 🤔so be it🤣

        • Kelly March 7, 2018 at 10:50 am

          Jamie, we use the white noise app too (the icon is pink/purplish on ours) and I find that as long as I turn off the screen (click the button on side of phone so it goes dark), it hardly uses any battery so I don’t have to keep it plugged in.

      • Jen Zimmerman March 6, 2018 at 10:46 am

        My oldest is 12 and I’m JUST now figuring out that we made a big mistake always sleeping with sound machines!!! My kids have always slept with them, and we have the sound of the one coming through the monitor of the youngest (who is 4 and we don’t even need a monitor for but if the monitor’s off, the sound machine is off in our room!) Anyway, as my kids have gotten older (My big kids are 12 and 9) – and have started having sleepovers with friends, we have discovered that neither one of them can sleep well at other people’s houses. I almost ALWAYS have to go pick them up when they’ve decided to spend the night with a friend. I’m just now figuring out that maybe it’s because they’re so used to the sound machine that they can’t sleep in people’s houses that are super quiet! Ugh…we’ve started to make the sound machines a little quieter in their rooms but they will turn them up! Hopefully they don’t need to take them to college…!! Do your kiddos have any trouble spending the night at other people’s houses without them?

      • Amy March 14, 2018 at 7:57 pm

        We do this with the sleep app, keep our phone plugged in and it is fine in the am. Everyone is addicted to the sound machine in our house and it really is Pavlovian how sleepy I get just hearing our sound (rain)

        • Amy March 14, 2018 at 7:59 pm

          Also-the hubs snores and I find it really helps cancel out that noise for me!

    • Kara March 6, 2018 at 6:22 am

      Lots of sound apps! I travel every week and have to have my sound machine to sleep.

    • Sarah March 6, 2018 at 7:36 am

      They now make portable sound machines – some with a plug, and some battery operated. Great for traveling and for when the power goes out!

    • Anna Kate Melani March 6, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      There are sound machine apps on your phone that you can use (or on your iPad)!

  • Sarah March 6, 2018 at 5:32 am

    Great post!! We have three girls ages 5, 4, and 1. We are an EARLY family – we go to bed early and we wake up early, always have! Bedtime is usually pretty quick over here! If it’s bath night, we try to tackle that at least an hour before bedtime. The baby goes to bed between 5:45-6:15 and is my best sleeper. She gets a milk (bad, I know haha) then goes straight to sleep. My older two get stories, brush teeth, gather all their stuff, etc but we try to have it done within 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s a lot quicker if we’ve already brushed teeth and read a bunch of stories earlier! I will say, come bedtime, I am DONE and ready to be alone lol!!!!

  • Elizabeth Feldpausch March 6, 2018 at 5:35 am

    My oldest is only two- but I saw how my brother and sister made a production out of their bedtime routine with their kids and I was determined not to do that. We do a bath, jammies, brush teeth and hair, she gets ONE book (even though she would prefer 7,495,201 books) and we say her prayers and toss her in bed! My baby gets his bottle and then goes right to sleep- on advice from our pediatrician we stop the bedtime bottle right after their 1st birthday (to avoid the potty training issue) I will say I have been blessed with exceptional sleepers- their heads hit the pillow and they are out!

  • Elspeth Mizner March 6, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Great advice! I had a complex routine as a child and i still have a complex routine as an adult

  • jamie March 6, 2018 at 5:47 am

    i think your routines sound great! we LOVE LOVE our fans. it is so calming. i actually turn my fan on any time i am in my bedroom because it is so calming. no night lights is so important! my son, zach, went to a summer camp {or was it the class trip to toronto?} and one of his roommates had to have a for real light on while he slept. not a night light. a real light. and these are middle schoolers! a blog i follow uses amber lights after the sun goes down. i’ll find that resource and share it later…

  • Tara G. March 6, 2018 at 5:48 am

    My advice – don’t worry about this. Your kids are healthy, secure, and feel loved. They’re sleeping . I think it’s largely based on personality & they’ll edit the routine as they get older, so just enjoy those glimpses of “yester-year.” 🙂

  • Melinda March 6, 2018 at 5:58 am

    All new mamas, read The Baby Whisperer. I read that book before my twins were born 15 years ago, did exactly what she said and I’ve had great sleepers 🙂 15 years later, everyone does the same routine- bath/shower, brush teeth, take vitamins, then good night. When they were little we read a story and said prayers. As everyone got older, that got edited, of course. We also keep a pretty strict bedtime- 8 pm during the school year, 9 pm in the summer. Yes, my teenagers abide by this and enjoy getting a good night’s sleep 🙂

    • Sara March 6, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      The Baby Whisperer was the most helpful book for me after I had my first baby (17 years ago!). All the other books I read kind of stressed me out but her book was so reassuring. I felt like I learned to read my baby’s cues and the structure or routine of our day was so good for her and for me! I used her techniques with all 4 of my kids & I’ve recommended that book dozens of times.

  • Erika Slaughter March 6, 2018 at 6:04 am

    My best piece of advice in the sleep department would be put them to bed awake…even when they’re little so they learn how to fall asleep. Now, don’t ask me about potty training but in the sleep department-I feel confident answering this way. 🙂

  • Sharon March 6, 2018 at 6:05 am

    We have pretty streamlines bedtime routines at this point. We have changed them over the years but the one constant is …. no screen time before bed.. it actually does not help them wind down but overstimulates their brains. They can read or listen to soft music.

  • Lindsay March 6, 2018 at 6:30 am

    The big thing that works for us is talking about our plan for the night at dinner. After dinner we are going to 1. Take a bath 2. Put on Jammies 3. Read a book. 4. Go night night. With my 3 1/2 year old as long as he knows the plan it goes much easier. When we forget to discuss it there’s a fight and things get continually added (juice, tv, etc) which stretches it out.

  • Sheaffer Sims March 6, 2018 at 6:49 am

    You know I’m not your girl for this one. It will be interesting to see what everybody says, but we’re a lost cause over here! 🙂

  • Robin March 6, 2018 at 7:02 am

    We have 3 kids that line up in age with your youngest 3. Our bedtime routine is opposite of yours – my oldest is like “peace out mom” because as long as he has a book in his bed, he’s ambivalent about what else happens. Our middle child falls asleep the second her head hits the pillow. My youngest on the other hand has about 20 things that need to happen- we are suckers since she’s the “baby” even though she’s 3!!🤷‍♀️ She’s extra particular about which songs we sing and the other night my husband sang “Amazing Grace” and when I came in, all she wanted to know about was who got lost. So naturally I gave her the history of John Newton 🤦‍♀️and she now requests, “Johnny Got Lost” for her bedtime song. 😂

  • Colleen March 6, 2018 at 7:03 am

    It’s so hard to know what to do with your first! But I agree with the early routine being simple! When my oldest was 4 months old, our pediatrician asked about our bedtime routine and I said we didn’t really have one – I rocked her to sleep, held her, etc. He told me it was a routine and a terrible one. He then told me to move her to her own room and establish a routine before 6 months. But then he told me that, under no circumstances, was I to establish a routine that I did not want to keep up for years. So if I didn’t want to do bath, story, song, etc., every single night, then not to start now. He basically put fear in me and our oldest’s bedtime routine basically became prayers, a little music playing in the background as a noise (my husband’s office is outside her room so we needed something,) and then lights out. Now that she’s older, we sometimes read a book or sing a song, but not every night. We have made mistakes, though, like giving our first milk before bed. And letting her have a ton of stuffed animals in bed (which makes traveling fun!). But, looking back, I am so thankful for our ped and for listening, even though I vividly recall thinking “this man is crazy – how can a routine at 6 months really last until she’s 8?”. 🙂 With my youngest it’s so hard not to hold her to sleep, but I know I’ll be thankful later for not doing so. Now, potty training – no one put any fear in me about that and we are terrible at potty training! Hah!

  • Allison Ferrell March 6, 2018 at 7:05 am

    Don’t fret about the sound machines! We all sleep with them every single night as well, and even travel with fold-up fans in our luggage… I think it’s becoming more and more common. 😉 And I think all of us moms can relate to the whole milk before bed thing as well. Totally did it when they were little…. totally became a problem when it came time to potty-train! Too funny!!

  • Laura Thomas March 6, 2018 at 7:25 am

    I could write a book on first time parent fails!!!

    We are firm believers in sound machines… it’s an easy thing to bring on vacation, too! It keeps some sort of sleep constant on vacation when you have younger children, I believe. With two boys ages 9 and almost 7, I feel like we don’t have much of a routine at this point, but they always read before bed. I try to keep the TV off around bedtime, too. If I know they won’t be outside anymore… I shower them ASAP. My 9 year old does not enjoy a shower, so I try to get it done before he’s more tired and my younger son will sleep in the bath with his bath bomb, if I let him! lol So it’s just easier if I can get it done before dinner!!

  • Laura @ Laura Likes Design March 6, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Ah, this made me think about how we want to do routines in our house once we have kids!

  • Liz Hentges March 6, 2018 at 7:44 am

    We used to be so elaborate too with our son. He’s eight now and we still have our routine, shower, read, lay in bed and talk about the day before tucking him in. However, he now gets up about fifteen times for various needs, questions, etc . Sometimes we will think he’s asleep and it will be like 10:30 and he will pop out of bed to tell us he needs something. Maybe we are putting him to bed too early. Who knows. I feel like kids are always changing and presenting new challenges. You think you’ve got it down until you don’t! 🙂

  • Alicia Fedell March 6, 2018 at 7:58 am

    I think it really depends on each kid’s personality! My oldest has a really hard time winding down and shutting his mind off. He needs to read in bed for awhile. Even as a toddler, he would tell us he was so tired but couldn’t stop thinking! However, my second can fall asleep in a second. He put himself to bed as a toddler when his brother was taking too long. My third is somewhere in between her brothers and we are still figuring out our fourth little lady!

    So…even if you parent the exact same, the kids all will respond differently!

  • Eryn March 6, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Ha! Completely agree about getting better with more children. We have 4 too! Although, I’ll say my first daughter was an excellent sleeper. Still is but she can be dramatic too…I think it’s an age thing (she’s almost 9). My second was terrible but 3rd is a breeze. She transitioned from crib to bed with minimal work and stays in her bed all night! Praise the Lord. #4 is only 8 weeks old but is proving to be a champ sleeper too.
    We definitely do sound machines as well. I made plenty of mistakes but I’ll say, they are better sleepers when you almost force them to learn to self soothe. We spent years laying in the beds with them, reading 8000 books and went through a small time when we had nighttime visitors. My advice is to be as strict as possible in the beginning when they are young. Set them up for success so it’s easier when they are older and they know what is expected. It might be a rough few weeks of tears or not much sleep but after that, they get in the routine.

  • Laci March 6, 2018 at 8:16 am

    I am with you Shay….I did it all wrong!!! My kids are older now but I never put them to bed awake when they were little and boy was that a mistake on my part. If I were a new mom I would highly suggest not making bedtime a production like I did! My kids never learned to self soothe so when my youngest was born and would not take a pacifier and never slept for 18 months I would have give my kidney for a full nights sleep! Looking back I just have to laugh.

  • Elyse March 6, 2018 at 8:17 am

    What sound machine app do you use on your iPhone when traveling? 🙂

    • Elyse March 6, 2018 at 8:28 am

      What sound machine do you use in your room? I appreciate the advice, thanks!

  • Kelli March 6, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Have you seen Boss Baby?! “Three stories, 5 hugs, and my special song”…that’s our 5 year old. All four of mine are very different sleepers…the older two are serious about their routine…the younger two can sleep ANYWHERE. My advice is start early, keep it short and sweet…and do what works for YOUR family!

  • Aundi March 6, 2018 at 8:28 am

    First time mom here with a 4 month old baby and all of you are making me feel so confident in what we have already established as a bedtime routine! After her last bottle, we do bath, lotion & pajamas, then depending on how sleepy she is we either read 1 story or skip straight to prayers and try to put her down still awake.

  • Katelyn March 6, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Sound machines are actually very encouraged. Believe me-I googled everythingggggg when I was a brand new mom. Im sure as they get older they will need something running (a ceiling fan) to sleep but it definately helps block out everyday household noises. I hated being that mom making everyone whisper when they came over lol!

    • Melissa March 6, 2018 at 11:13 am

      This made me laugh. My husband tells everyone I read the entire internet while pregnant and breastfeeding 🙂

      • Katelyn March 6, 2018 at 1:10 pm

        Ha! I was right there with ya!

  • Megan March 6, 2018 at 8:39 am

    How in the world are you supposed to not give them milk before bed?! ha I feel like we’ve created a monster who won’t sleep peacefully if he doesn’t have a belly full of milk before bed!! Potty training is coming but this mama is dreading it!

  • Ashley March 6, 2018 at 8:41 am

    As a family, we say “family prayers” in our family room before everyone goes off to bed. It’s a wonderful thing, to hear siblings praying on behalf of siblings, and so forth. We have loved it!

  • Bethany March 6, 2018 at 8:43 am

    I have an (almost) one year old and her bedtime routine is pretty simple. We LOVE our sound machine! We take it with us when we travel and I’m convinced it’s the reason she does so well falling asleep in new places. Lucy’s routine is pajamas (she only gets a bath at night if she got particularly messy at dinner), bottle, bed. We turn the sound machine on while we get her pajamas on and we leave the light on while she eats because we don’t want her to fall asleep while drinking her bottle. It’s worked pretty well for us since she was about 5 months old!

  • Kathy Shirk March 6, 2018 at 8:55 am

    From a veteran mom (children 28 & 24), you have soooo much to look forward to! In a few years it will be all about getting them to wake up and get out of bed so they are not late for school (and when you work at the school it’s important that everyone get there on time!). You’ll all survive, I promise.

  • Kerrie March 6, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Just here to commiserate. My first born, he is 7 now, takes forever to fall asleep. Bath, wind down with books or a show, snuggle session, rub his back…. And if conditions aren’t just right, it is like the world is over. Not only does it make bedtime hard, it makes the morning hard too. Last night I had a late, late meeting and Daddy just doesn’t do bedtime like Mommy so he woke up mad because “I barely slept” and was so mad at me for not being home for bedtime. It is exhausting. Literally. My two year old just flops in her crib and rolls over and is out. As a baby I would put her in her crib to do all the things with my son and by the time I finished with him, she was out. It is one of my biggest parenting frustrations.

  • Anna March 6, 2018 at 9:03 am

    We read together a story out of the kids bible we have…it’s called “The Jesus Storybook Bible” and it’s phenomenal…great pictures and story telling. Then they watch a little show, potty, brush teeth, prayers in bed and sleep=)

  • Kathy March 6, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Ok, am I the only one unfamiliar with sound machines/apps? I must have slept through the sound machine lecture in college!!

  • Leslie March 6, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I’m loving reading all these comments. I’m a new mama (3 months!) and think a bedtime routine is our best bet as our little guy grows. Right now we could not have survived without the Wombie Swaddle and the Serta mini co-sleeper bed. He only gets those things during night bedtime (not naps) and so far he’s been sleeping 10-5. We put him to bed still awake and I figure as long as he’s not fussing or crying it’s all good, he just looks around in the dark for a bit. Ha! I know we might need to switch it up as he gets older so I’m looking forward to returning to this post for all your tips. Thanks, ladies!

  • Erin Pieracci March 6, 2018 at 10:07 am

    I have 4 children ages 1-6. Bedtime was getting frustrating for me since each child wanted a different story/song/prayer/etc. It took me over an hour every night! Now, we take turns “hosting” bedtime. The child who is the “host” for that evening, chooses the book and the song and we gather in their room. The host leads the prayer, picks out everyone’s jammies and lays them out, and turns on everyone’s sound machines. It is SUCH a huge help to me and the kids LOVE when it’s their turn to host! The host (or hostess) also walks each child to their room at the end.

  • Ann March 6, 2018 at 10:19 am

    For our 6.5 year old, our routine has been the following since he stopped being nursed to sleep at 2 years old:

    Dinner as a family
    Pjs, brush teeth
    Bible story, devotions, prayers as a family

    He’s an early morning riser (close to 6, most days), so we try to have lights out by 7:30 at night. No noise machine, but he discovered projectable nightlights while at his grandparents and now has one. He has to have his water bottle and special stuffy to sleep and has a “green light clock” to help him know when it’s acceptable to get out of his room in the morning.

    We have a baby now, and his routine is: nursing, then bed between 6-6:30. If he’s sleepy but not quite out, I still put him in his crib and walk away. Learning curve, for sure!

  • Jen March 6, 2018 at 10:38 am

    I think the first born naturally ends up taking the longest. Same in our family. They/we had the luxury of time when they were the only kid. Also we use sound machines too especially when we travel. When we drive we bring our Dohm machine (I think that is how it is spelled). I got it at bed bath and beyond and you can adjust the sound level. it has saved us many times when in noisy situations. I remind myself that it can be hard the daily routine but as they get older I find we both cling to this time together.

  • Julie March 6, 2018 at 10:53 am

    We have the same problem with our oldest ( 3 1/2). She takes forever to get to bed and fall asleep! Our two year old just walks himself to his room when he is ready for bed and is asleep in minutes. I am normally solo at bed time and he knew I didn’t have time for a routine with him! 🙂
    We also do sound machines and I love it because we when do travel, we take one for each room with us and the kids sleep amazing because it’s just like home 🙂 If we room out of room packing, I just amazon prime one to wherever we’re staying. Totally worth it for restful sleep on vacation!
    I love reading your blog! Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes and beautiful family with us!

  • Deena March 6, 2018 at 11:03 am

    My sons are all grown up but we kept bedtime to a quick routine. Bath, brush teeth, and a prayer in bed. Reading books was earlier and not tied to bed and no drinks. They also had an early bedtime and we tried to hold to it. They were so good that we had a babysitter tell his mom that he mentioned bed to our boys (expecting them to fight it) and he turned around and they were heading up to brush their teeth. Everyone has their thing but it worked well for us.

  • Raquel Whatley March 6, 2018 at 11:20 am

    A book, maybe two or a couple chapters we or they read before bed. We’ve found that it helps to relax them. We rub backs or feet depending on their preference. We also have a local Christian radio station that plays softly in the corner all night. It can take an hour but because we are away from them all day, it’s also quiet time we get to spend together. We on purpose start bedtime early in order to accommodate our routine. However, because they have grown so accustomed to this routine, it’s difficult to make any changes.

  • Fiona MacDonald March 6, 2018 at 11:30 am

    The more I learn the more I realize there is no ‘right’ routine. Whatever works works! My son is 2.5 and takes forever to go to bed, he’s just full of energy, and we followed all the sleep books, I even have a friend who is a sleep consultant so we have the black out blinds, the sound machine, the consistent routine but hey I’ve just learned now to go with the flow lol..half the time he ends up in bed with us or is up at the crack of dawn but to me , we all need sleep and sanity so whatever way that gets up there… lol…sounds like your bedtime routine is JUST right 🙂

  • Laura March 6, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I really think it’s personality driven. I have boy/girl twins—same routine for both since birth. They are now 12. My daughter has evolved to a simplified bedtime routine while my son wants to talk, spend time with me, ask me 100 questions, etc–basically anything to delay bedtime. I put her to bed first (easy peasy) and then dig deep for patience to wrangle him to bed. And, yes I still put them to bed at age 12. I love it–and they love it—we pray—we talk—it’s still such a special time for us. 🙂

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick March 6, 2018 at 11:48 am

    We have a pretty laid back bedtime routine these days but when the boys were little my best advice was put them to bed awake, dark room, white noise that won’t automatically turn off after 45 minutes (made that mistake for awhile before we figured it out), soft lighting and no electronics/tv/bright stimulating lights for 30 minutes or so before bed.
    And Matthew slept with a big plastic pumpkin full of his cars for a LONG time too. 😉 That Inspired Chick

  • Meg March 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I’m a sound machine girl myself, though the past few years I’ve switched to earplugs because they’re easier to carry around and don’t bug other people! I had a terrible time sleeping when i was a kid, could never fall asleep, but ever since I got older and discovered the read-until-i-cant-keep-my-eyes-open/earplug/eyemask combo i dont have any problems 🙂

  • Lindsey Baskerville March 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Shay, I’ve been an avid reader for several years now. I follow you on Instagram and kind of feel silly when someone asks me who that cute kid is and I reply with one of your kids names as if I know them!

    We are taking our two kids (will be 4 and almost 5) to France this fall and I’m scouring your blog for all you international travel tips for kids!! I want to start making my to do and packing lists right now!

    • Mix and Match Mama March 6, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Oh my goodness! You’re so sweet, Lindsey!! You guys will have the BEST time in France!! Email me if you have any packing/travel questions. I would be happy to help!

  • Bailey March 6, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    This may be completely false, but I heard it somewhere: Avoid milk/dairy products before bed/sleeping (yogurt, cheese, ice cream) because if there is some left in the mouth/throat area it can collect bacteria and cause sickness. Is that totally untrue?! We’ve started avoiding those things before sleep just in case. 🙂 No advice on routines here lol

  • Sarah N March 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I don’t think having a sound machine is bad at all. My husband and I have one in our room and have an app on our phones and iPad. We can’t sleep in dead silence (I have NEVER been able to sleep in silence). It’s something we will never apologize about. Who wants to be woken up by every single noise throughout the night?

    And I rocked all three of my babies to sleep every night. I dont regret that either. They are only babies once and they grow up so fast. Some nights it would have been nice to just put them down but now that they are big and don’t need to be rocked it makes me sad. It’s those sweet times that I cant get back with them.

  • Katherine March 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I’m not a momma yet, but I can tell you then as the oldest girl in my family, I also had a very complex bedtime routine while my younger siblings were much simpler 🙂 I used to require my parents to touch all the objects in my room in a certain order and have all my stuffed animals lined up around me! OCD much?! On the bright side, those habits did not continue as a teenager and adult and I am now pretty much the easier sleeper ever!! I’m Kensington will be the same!

    • Katie A March 6, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      This is the greatest! Making your parents do that! Haha!

  • Angela Ellingson March 6, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Yeah, I got nothing. 😉 Took my first 2 like 3+ years to sleep through the night and my 22 month old still doesn’t. As far as bedtime routines go, the production has definitely lessened in over time, thank goodness!

    • Angela Ellingson March 6, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      *That bad habit where you proofread a text or comment AFTER you send it…

  • Debbie March 6, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    It’s crazy that we go from filling their baby tummies so they will sleep as long as possible to depriving them of fluids so that they will stay dry! HA!

  • Meg March 6, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    We do a family show (usually full house), family prayer and kid bible story after the kids have showered. Then we individually say goodnight to each kiddo and while I am I sing them a song. One thing we’ve always done is keep it flexible and I think this has helped the kids be flexible…most nights the routine works, but on the nights it doesn’t then we go with the flow.

  • Darcy March 6, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you for posting this! We have a 26 month old and an 8 month old, and my 2 year old goes down pretty well (now, haha) and my 8 month old is like “leave me alone and I’ll put myself to sleep….”. But I am STRUGGLING with the milk before bed – my 2 year old will eat a huge dinner and still need 2, 8 oz bottles before he goes to sleep. I try to do 1 1/2 bottles, and he’s like “No dice, mom”. Lol.

  • Katie A March 6, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Bedtime is chaos at our house 😂😬. My middle child is BY FAR the hardest! He gets up a bazillion times 🙄. My third though, piece of cake! She just loves sleep! She’s been known to sleep 18 hours STRAIGHT! No joke! Sound machines are the greatest thing ever… maybe it’s bad in the long run but I’ve never regretted it. Especially for naps!

  • Shannon L March 6, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Reading picture books (and later chapter books) before bed was such a sweet time with my three (now all adults). My oldest is about to get married, and I was thinking the other day about which books I would want to give to him and his wife when they have children some day. I love that your kids love reading! As far as bedtime rituals, hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? I don’t think Kensington’s routine sounds unreasonable, and she will most likely drop some of it as she gets older. But I will say, as far as hindsight goes, all my friends agree that if we had to do it over again, we would NOT be running homework, projects, etc. up to school when our kids forgot them. I would definitely step back and let them try – and fail – because it prepares them so much better to be independent adults.That wasn’t your question, but throwing that in!

  • Miranda Fostet March 6, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    We have had a pretty strict bedtime routine from the time out 1st was very young. At 4 months I nurse them before bath so it breaks the nurse to sleep association. We do bath every night, pajamas, one book, say goodnight. We had our 2nd 2 years later and we have the same routine with him. The hard part our baby goes to bed early…like 6 to 6:30 so bedtime routines go on go for awhile but they fall asleep quickly in their beds!

  • Miranda Foster March 6, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    We have had a pretty strict bedtime routine from the time out 1st was very young. At 4 months I nurse them before bath so it breaks the nurse to sleep association. We do bath every night, pajamas, one book, say goodnight. We had our 2nd 2 years later and we have the same routine with him. The hard part our baby goes to bed early…like 6 to 6:30 so bedtime routines go on go for awhile but they fall asleep quickly in their beds!

  • Erin Port March 6, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Love reading about others routines! We brush teeth, put on PJS, pray as a family and then my hubby divide and conquer. I read 4 board books with our littlest and then put her to bed while he starts one on one time with one of our oldest two. Then I join the other one and we switch. The kids love a little nightly one on one time with each of us to talk about the day, read books and snuggle.

  • Stephie Chipp March 6, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Great post! Can’t wait to go back and read the tips. Our kids are 13 months apart and I’m still rocking my 25 pound 15 month old while my daughter has a similar routine to Kensington’s! I’m glad I’m not alone! Cheers!

  • Nicole March 6, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Has Madeley fallen off the top bunk? My little wants to sleep up there, but I’m scared she will fall off. Maybe I need to chill and let her 😬

    • Mix and Match Mama March 7, 2018 at 5:20 am

      She never has! She loves sleeping up there with Ashby and naps up there by herself every day.

  • Michelle Parsons March 6, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    We don’t have kids yet, but this post made me laugh because at Kensington’s age I had 9 stuffed animals that I seriously had to have lined up in a (very specific) row in my tiny twin bed, which of course left 0 room for me to sleep :). I love it!

  • Becky March 6, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Our grand girls, ages 1,2,3, have a unique bedtime routine. Everyone goes to bed by 8-8:15. They get a bath before some nights and a wash off other nights; get on clean pjs and night time diapers; then all sit in a circle with mom and dad. Dad prays and sometimes reads a short Bible story. Then hugs all around, and while being tucked in their beds (all in the same room), mom and dad sing Amazing Grace quietly. They close the door and I’ve never heard a peep out of them yet when we are over there. Not sure how long all that will last but it’s the same every night. They are no where near as active as your sweet family though. That may change too one day! And oh yeah, number 4 girl is on the way in May. They had fertility problems getting the first one but ever since God has been giving them babies and they keep wanting them!! I love your precious family <3

  • Jennifer March 6, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    We sleep-trained ours with Babywise! I highly recommend this book to ANY new mom!!! They took naps everyday until Kindergarten. They go to bed every night at 8 and fall right to sleep! It’s definitely not for everyone, but I was determined to have a schedule and create good sleepers. More sleep=less sickness and grumpiness! HA!

  • Lindsey March 6, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    I’m glad you posted this! Bedtime had been a huge struggle for my 2.5 year old! It takes at least an hour to get her to sleep every night! It’s a bath, a little milk, brush teeth, read books, sing, I lay down with her then she wants another book. Then more water, then a song, then rocked. Haha any little thing to stall. I’m due with her little brother in about 4 weeks so it’s going to be tough! .

  • Anna-Liisa March 7, 2018 at 9:09 am

    I think Kensington has this complex routine because that´s just who she is. I have twin boys, I´ve done everything the same way with both of them but they still have different routines.
    One has to have all his stuffed animals lined up next to him, so he somehow is able to cuddle them all before falling asleep. He has to drink water at least five times after our bedtime story. Then he needs hugs. Sometimes he needs to see me and his dad both. Sometimes it´s just me or just dad. Sometimes he gets really sad for no reason and cries. Then we have to comfort him. Again.
    The other boy, on the other hand, has one stuffed animal, his favourite teddy bear. He takes it, goes to bed, listens to bedtime story, hugs us and falls asleep. And they are twins!

  • cassie {hi sugarplum} March 7, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Oh geez, I’ve got no advice….except know that what you start when they’re little, they’ll likely hang on to forever!! Like when they’re almost 12!!!!

  • Sharon March 8, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Everyone comments on how easy our kids are to put to bed (sitters, grandparents, etc..). And they are so easy. I think that’s just b/c we are lazy and weren’t going to be doing any 2 hour bedtime. Ha. We do jammies, brush teeth, read them a book, then scriptures, then prayers and then lights out! We are consistent on bedtime too (as much as possible). 8 pm, and they are in bed. We need our no kid time! I also read an article that stated when you make your kids sleep and have a routine you are giving them the gift of good sleep their entire lives. That made us feel even better about our easy bedtimes. Ha. We never had any kids sleep with us (other than a pack n play when they were tiny or when our adopted daughter first came home). And, honestly, transitioning to their rooms was easy. I always say God must know I am weak b/c he gave us all good sleepers b/c he knows I couldn’t handle no sleep. I think in all parenting things, you focus on the behavior you care about. And I cared about sleep!

  • Lizzie March 8, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    We’ve kept it simple from the beginning. Ours are 9 & 7. They brush their teeth, go to the bathroom and put on PJs then they pray with either mom or dad. No curtains, no sound machines…we always said we wouldn’t have high maintenance sleepers. They are early risers, but otherwise they keep their high maintenance-ness for other areas. 🙈

  • Jaren March 16, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    I think we did really well with our first two kiddos and their bedtime routine. Then I feel like we’ve made all sorts of mistakes (and we know better) with our last two. But with 4, we have found it easier to pray together as a family before bed. I really love it. We all sit in the living room, and go in a circle. We all say what we are thankful for and then give our intentions. I think this really helps the kids to see what my husband and I are praying for too. I’ve seen my kids come so far with their prayers!!