Building an Evening Routine For Kids
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My wife and I have been asked many times how we get our kids to go to bed so early and sleep throughout the night. I strongly believe that it’s because we started building an evening routine for our kids at an early age. We built a routine and we stick to it every single night.
It all starts with dinner
We do our best to finish dinner each night by 6:30 pm. Eating dinner together as a family is an absolute must for us. We try to finish by 6:30 pm, including any small and final dessert. Maybe a popsicle or a scoop of ice cream. Recently, this comes in the form of a small bowl of applesauce. Easy! My kids know that once they finish their dessert, we clean the table together and then they take their vitamins. This is starting the process of our family building an evening routine together.
Bath time every single night
There are differing opinions on this one. But I firmly believe in taking this step every night. And by the way, I was once a skeptic as well! My twins take separate showers now that they are six years old. While they are taking their showers, we give our two year old a bath. Completing the showers and bath every night obviously allows our kids to get clean after a busy day. But more than that, it is reminding them that we are now entering the bed time routine. This time in the shower and bath allows them to start to calm down as they wash off, dry off and get in their pajamas.
This process should take 15 minutes.
Read a story before bed
Now that our kids are a little older, we let them read for 5-10 minutes on their own. This allows them to practice improving their reading skills and continue to settle down for the evening. Once those 5-10 minutes are up, we choose a book to read together as a family. This may be a chapter book. Reading a chapter from a kids chapter book each night is a great way to build creativity and thought. Our kids sometimes actually start to fall asleep at this point because they are deep in thought during our book reading. We are currently working through “Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid.”
Once we finish the book or chapter, we read a Bible story together. Now that our kids are older, I have started having our kids read the Bible story to me. If you need a great Bible that is easy for your kids to understand, check out “The Beginner’s Bible.”
After we finish reading, we pray together and then go to the bathroom one last time and brush teeth before bed. At this point, they are ready to be tucked in!
This process should take 20 minutes.
Tuck them in and sing a song…or two!
Once we are up in their room, we tuck them in and start singing a song as we do so. We then sing another song together and then at this point, we kiss them good night, and close their door. Because we have maintained this consistent routine every night for years, they know when that door is closed, it’s time for bed…no questions asked!
This process should take 10 minutes.
Altogether, if you can finish dinner by 6:30 pm, and you stick to this routine and keep things moving, you can realistically have your kids in bed by 7:15 pm. My kids end up in bed between 7:15 and 7:30 pm on most nights and they sleep 12 hours each night. It’s a routine that has worked for my family since my twins were born six years ago! If you haven’t been building an evening routine for your kids, try this out and let me know how it goes!