5 B’s of Bedtime: The Routine That Works For Us

We call the hour before bedtime the twilight hour.

It is time for play, the time to get all the silliness out from our day & the time to bond at dinner. After dinner, she knows it is time to start our bedtime routine. Now that Scarlett is 22 months old, we have found a nighttime routine that works well for us, but it wasn’t easy. Consistency has always been key & working with one another has made it successful so far.

Finding a bedtime routine that works for you and your family takes time, patience & the ability to try a few things out. It took us awhile, but we have fond the 5 B’s for Bedtime that work for us.

Bedtime Bath

Who doesn’t love bath time? It can be fun, relaxing & there are so many opportunities to talk, interact, read & play with your little one. This is one of my favorite bonding times with Scarlett. We have bath books, a water xylophone & cups to pour & “help” Mama with washing.

Bathtime Bedtime Routine Tickled Scarlett Blog

I recently wrote a blog post on 3 Baby Products That Are Growing With Us, where I share just a few products we still use with Scarlett. A few others that I left off the list, but am still loving & using are the Erbaviva Body Wash & her baby bath tub by Summer Infant.

She use the big tub here & there, but she asks for this one. It keeps everything contained, plus it came with a pink stool/riser that we used for when she was an infant. I now sit on it & we also use it as a step stool. The stool will come in handy for a few more years too! Here is one that is similar to ours.

The Erbaviva Wash has always been our go to. It doesn’t have any of the harmful stuff, it smells amazing & a little bit goes along way. I purchase it at my local spa, but you can find it listed on their website or you can find a local retailer near you.

Erbaviva body wash Bedtime Routine Tickled Scarlett Blog

Books & Quiet Time

Once we are dressed in our pajamas, it is time to settle down with a handful of books & relax. We have a toy/book shelf right in the living room so that they are accessible through out the day, but especially at bedtime. She also has some in her organizer in her room.

Having books everywhere allows your little one to read whenever they want.

Reading Time Bedtime tickled scarlett blog

We have been reading books with Scarlett since she was born, regardless of her knowing or understanding words at the time. Reading with your little one at a young age familiarizes them with your voice & tone, introduces them to contrasts & then colors, and helps with hand/eye coordination.

As they get into the toddler stages, things like shapes, color & textures start to become more recognizable & reading becomes one of their favorite activities.

Not only do we allow books, but we have a few quiet activities that we allow, like picnic time!

Picnic Bedtime Routine Tickled Scarlett blog

Bottle

We will be working on phasing out this nighttime bottle very soon, but we still give little miss a bottle of milk before as we wrap up book reading. For the record, she only has one in the morning when she wakes up & then one during reading time at night.

She becomes quite upset first thing in the AM if she doesn’t have one & then likes to enjoy one when we read. This is what works for us until she wants to enjoy food first thing in the AM & once she learns to enjoy milk with some cereal.

We do not use it as a soother or as her way of going to sleep, like I use to when she was very little. Now, it is just a little something to make sure her tummy is full & ready for the night. I want to try and cut the bottle out by her second birthday.

Brush Teeth

I won’t lie, when we first started brushing her teeth, it was an absolute nightmare. She fought us every little bit. We tried different toothbrushes, toothpastes & we even tried holding her a certain way, but nothing worked. I decided to try out a spin brush, as I had heard a lot of kids enjoyed them. That was the start of a much better routine, but she still wasn’t understanding, even watching Daddy & I.

We don’t allow screen time on our phones with our little, except for this occasion. My husband found an Elmo song on YouTube that was about brushing your teeth. It has a fun rhythm, videos of kids & families brushing, and it even has some celebrities featured in it. Scarlett loves the video & it immediately allowed us to brush her teeth a bit & then let her finish at the end.

The video has over 180 million views, so it seems to work for other parents as well!

Brushing our Teeth Bedtime Routine Tickled Scarlett Blog

If you are looking for a really fun toothbrush, I love this Jack N’ Jill Buzzy Toothbrush. It plays numerous songs, comes with a pack of stickers to decorate it & you can replace the heads for prolonged use.

Bed

The final step in our routine, just like brushing our teeth, wasn’t always easy. With babies & toddlers, each one goes through their stages of growth & development and learning their own sleep routine is own of those stages.

We did a lot of research on different styles of sleep training a little over a year ago. There are many different techniques & again, every child & families situation is unique & different.

I just want to share what worked for us without judgement as we have noticed a huge difference on all of our sleep habits & overall happiness since we did this.

sleepy bedtime routine tickled scarlett blog

Scarlett has been sleeping in her crib since she was very little, for nap time & bedtime. Not too long after her first birthday last September, she started to regress in her sleep. She fought us really hard even after our routine & we gave in to her cries & demands to stay up late. Once asleep, she would be up & crying not even two hours later. We would rock her back to sleep & then the cycle would go on & on again the next night. Something had to change.

We read a bit about the cry it out method & ways to make it work for you & your family. It is not for everyone & many don’t agree with it, but I like to believe in pro-sleep. Whatever method has worked for you, I want to hear because WAY TO GO! Getting your little to sleep isn’t always easy.

It wasn’t a matter of her not being tired, she just wanted to be up playing & hanging out with us.  I get it kid, going to sleep isn’t nearly as fun as reading books with Mama & Dada, but when 7:30-8pm comes around, it is bedtime & your sleep is incredibly important.

The first night came when we sang our ABC’s & we pointed to our letters on the wall. We sang it a few times & waved it goodnight.

We tucked her with no fight, but the moment the door shut, the tears & cries began. It tore at our heart strings, but we couldn’t give in. I hate to admit it, but she cried for an hour.

That night was one of the first nights she slept through the night.

Consistency was key at this point, we couldn’t give in. The following night we did the same thing. We followed our routine, tucked her in & the cries came again. This time, the crying lasted no more than 20 minutes.

The third night, she didn’t make a sound.

She knew that her comfy bed meant bedtime; time to relax & it was time for sleep.

This was over a year ago & our method has still worked for us. Scarlett goes to bed anywhere between 730-8pm and due to summer, wakes up between 6-7am. During the fall & winter months, she may sleep in till 8 or 9 on those very rare occasions.

Of course, there are the occasional holidays/off nights that we run late, but we know the importance of routine & so do our family and friends. If you communicate how important it is to you & your little to stick to a schedule, they should & like ours, will respect your time.

I want to hear all about your bedtime routines & what has & hasn’t worked for you. Parenting is all about trial & error and learning together. I can’t wait to hear your story.

Take Care,

katie tickled scarlett signature for blog

  • Juju

    Love reading your blog. You and Matt are amazing parents. Scarlett is lucky to have you and all the love from her family.😘❤️

    • Awww thank you so very much Juju! She is also very lucky to have you in her life 🙂

  • This sounds like a great routine. One that you have worked very hard at. You’re right consistency is key! I hope this continues to go well for you!

    • Thank you so much Amanda for reading and taking a moment to comment. It has taken a bit of work & it has been well worth it in the end. For instance, just did it tonight & she was exhausted so she is already out! A little Mama & Dada time now which is always nice.

  • We do those exact same things for my daughter before bed. Only I never noticed there were five of them and that they all started with a B. That’s funny and something really easy to remember. My daughter likes her books and bathtime the most while brushing her teeth can be sometimes a struggle!

    • We just recently noticed they all started with B too! I was going to include dinner in there because we make it a point to sit together for that every night too. We have some great books and my sister & I just talked about swapping some with one another to change them up for the littles.

  • Great post filled with lots of helpful info!

    • I hope they were helpful! Looking forward to reading other’s helpful hints on how bedtime works for them.

  • shannongallatin

    Katie, thanks for sharing! We have a very similar routine. We are just getting into the brushing teeth routine though…our daughter is 14 months and was late to the teeth party.

    • It can be a lot of fun once they get the hang of it! No worries…we didn’t start brushing until after her first birthday. Thank you for reading and taking a moment to comment 🙂

  • Flossie

    Oh my gosh, I totally did the “cry it out” method too. Worked GREAT for bedtimes, not so great for naptimes. But we’ve since figured out several other things – including that our girls just aren’t super-nappers (they both gave up entirely quite early), and that they are EXTREMELY light-sensitive, as am I (to this day they have blackout fabric, room-darkening shades, AND room-darkening drapes in their rooms so they’re not literally up at the crack of dawn in summer!). Just be prepared for things to shift again (and again and AGAIN) at some point, now that you think you’ve “got it down” – at least that’s been our experience! 🙂

    • Thank you for taking a moment to read & comment on my post. It means a lot! Darkening shades are next on our list.

      We have had a few shifts with her sleeping recently due to teething & a cold. When sickness is going on, extra snuggles & a later night is okay, but we try to get back to the routine once she feels better.

      Take care!

  • We follow something similar too.. we have a couple of songs which they love and we play when they are on bed, they goto sleep listening to them..

    • Singing to them always helps get them ready for bedtime. Thank you for sharing and taking a moment to connect!

  • agilbertkindoflife

    That Elmo brushing song sounds perfect for little ones! Mine are a bit older now, but I wish I had looked for it a couple years ago when this would have truly been applicable (Im sure it was around then!) Your little one is adorable.

    • Thank you for reading and taking a moment to comment & share. We love the video & she asks for Elmo once we head towards the bathroom 🙂

  • Katie Bressler

    Thank you all for commenting even with my system on the fritz! I appreciate the support always!

  • Ashley P Fischer

    Love this article. I Always reference your routine with Scarlett when talking to parents having a hard time with littles going to bed.

    • I appreciate that …it means a lot! THANK YOU for taking a minute to check to make sure my comments worked. Love you sister!

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    • Thank you Amanda for taking a moment of your time to reply!

  • Jenn jg

    This is all such great info to get into a good bedtime routine! I’ll need this when back to school starts

    • Thank you Jenn for taking a moment to comment & read. Back to school seems like it is right around the corner!

  • This sounds just like our bedtime routine and I swear by it!

  • I love a good bedtime routine. My daughter is currently 18 years old and still follows some of the routines we established when she was a baby.

  • Karen Fischer

    I’ll never forget when Katie B. was a little over a year old. She figured out how to climb out of her crib, lower herself to the floor and then come peek around the corner at me. And smile. Id pick her up give her more kisses and hugs and lay her back in her crib. 5 min later she’d be back. We’d do this a dozen times some days. Some days she’d win, some days i did. She didn’t do it at night though. Anyway no real routine, and you turned out pretty good.Kudos to both you and Matt for being the best parents ever.💞

    • Thank you Mama so much for your support and love always. Sounds like I wanted to be up having fun! 😊❤

  • T-Nicole Johnson

    Love these bedtime routines. My teen still follows some of the routines we created when he was a toddler.

    • That is so great and reassuring to hear. Way to go Mama!!

  • MAMALOGUES

    This all sounds very familiar!! Glad to see I’m not the only one with these routines in place!!

    • Thank you for taking a moment to read my post. Yes routine is so important for littles, been a great one for us so far 😊

  • Rachel Catherine

    Haha! I never realized they were all Bs! This is a great post. I’m glad this works for you guys.

  • Jaymi

    What a great post, and more importantly, I love your tone. I like that you shared what worked for you without implying that it was the ONLY way. That’s rare in the works these days! Thanks so much 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the kind words Jaymi. It really means a lot. Children are so unique in their own way, so it is important to always express what may work for us, may or may not work for others. That’s what makes parenting fun too right?!? 😂😀

  • Jasmine A

    I love that you shared what worked for you! One thing I did with boys when they were babies after bath time was a lavender scented lotion massage on belly, legs and arms. They loved that!

    • What a great suggestion! Such a great bonding experience with your littles 😊 We love our little massages with our oils & lotion too.

  • Meredith

    We do all of these except the bottle since we’re off bottles now, but yes to everything!! I love our little routine, and I love the video you shared! I hadn’t seen it, and I’m going to share with my daughter tonight!

    • Thank you so much Meredith for taking a minute to read. I hope you love the video…it is so cute and helpful!!! Let us know how it goes 😊

  • I can’t agree more that developing a routine and being consistent with it is the absolute key. I can also empathize with the situation where your baby cried for attention but sticking firm to bedtime routine really is best for the mental and physical health of everyone concerned.

  • Diapers & Diamonds

    Bedtime routine is so important! And kudos to you on cry it out. You’re absolutely right: good sleep is the most important.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words and taking a moment to read my post 😊 It’s so nice to have a good routine so everyone enjoys the night, especially those little ones.

  • Jackie Lindsay

    It sounds much like our bedtime routine! Consistency is my big thing. Our routine is changing now that my daughter is cutting afternoon nap. She’s a bit overtired as we are at an in between staged, but I’m hopefully this will pass soon!!

    • It is good to be flexible with your little ones needs. Their need are always changing & I am sure it will all come with time for her. Way to go Mama on sticking to routine!

  • The Salty Mamas

    I love.that you acknowledge that what works for one doesn’t work for all. It can be soooo hard when someone tries to tell you the magic bullet of what works and then it DOESN’T! I have three kids and they all have different needs – one needs precision routine, one is so go with the flow you can just announce bedtime and that works! Glad you found your routine!

    • Thank you for taking a moment to comment! It is so nice hearing & seeing how things work & don’t work for some…that is how we all learn. Isn’t it interesting & neat how different all of them can be?!

  • Kassi Sherman

    Our bedtime routine is almost identical to yours! What I love about the bedtime routine that we have, is that it has made it so my little one will go to sleep anywhere. He knows that once he has a bath, brushes his teeth, gets a story and cuddles, then nurses or takes a bottle that its time to go to sleep. It doesn’t matter if we are home, or in a hotel room.. it works like a charm!

  • Saving this for when my little is a bit older

    • Thank you so much! I am glad you found my tips helpful.