Goodnight Love: The Perfect 17 Minute Bedtime Routine 4

Goodnight Love: The Perfect 17 Minute Bedtime Routine

It’s Bedtime!  Goodnight Love: The Perfect 17 Minute Bedtime Routine (Ages 2-10)


Oscar-Winning Bedtime Routine…

No matter the day, no matter the tantrum, checkbook balance, plumbing issues, or poorly distributed Weight Watcher’s points, no matter… I want to end on a good note. Bedtime needs to be my perfect conclusion. As a parent of littles, this is really the reckoning, a confessional if you will.  I want bedtime to be lovely.

Many a morning, no matter how hard I have attempted to be perfect, yelling often ensues.  And yes, I am culpable for this, but Sweet Savior, how can it possibly take 22 minutes to put on pants?


I digress.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Many a morning, no matter how hard I have attempted to be perfect, yelling has ensued.  And yes, I am culpable for this, but Sweet Savior, how can it possibly take 22 minutes to put on pants? ” quote=”Many a morning, no matter how hard I have attempted to be perfect, yelling has ensued.  And yes, I am culpable for this, but Sweet Savior, how can it possibly take 22 minutes to put on pants? “]

I am actually a big breakfast mom.  I love to send kiddos out the door with full bellies!  Watch for an upcoming post, Better Mornings by Design, I will be including a few recipes for easier mornings, but big breakfast moms are yellers too.  Also, I highly recommend Mary Younkin’s new book:

 The Weekday Lunches & Breakfasts Cookbook: Easy & Delicious Home-Cooked Meals for Busy Families

However, it is easy to lose it when you haven’t slept, the day before you is impossible, and the children you have attempted to herd to the car just put their shoes on the wrong feet for the 9th time.

Literally, I put them directly in front of the child… directly in front of the child, in the critical and accurate order in which they should wear the shoes, and yet?

“Nope, they are still on the wrong feet boo…”

Jesus, please come back today, and let us go barefoot in heaven.

Listen, I know.  I really do.  And things in this age are busy.  I am 46, and I didn’t play sports until junior high, granted I only played one or two games and then retired to the drama department, where I needn’t practice.  (I was born a drama queen. Shocker, I know.)  There is currently a 2-year-old division of our local soccer cooperative.  TWO-YEAR-OLDS???

We have redefined the busy work of busy. 

And friend, this is not the place where I tell you how to trim down on busy or how to say no, this is the place where I am going to share the secret to a fruitful and lifegiving bedtime for you and your littles.

Bedtime is the ruby in my crown.  Let it be said of me, I can do this, and I can do it well. I can put these little people to bed with the hope of winding down and leave my self and them steeped in sugar plums and visions of perfection.

And I propose you can too.

Sure, there are many a night I am desperate for them to JUST GO TO BED.  But the ritual, pomp and circumstance, and the satisfaction of a GRAND FINALE bedtime is the last thing I want on their little menacing brains.

This place, in their fatigue, in the nightly ritual of wind down, is the premium time you can pour scripture into their minds, address their concerns, and pray with them before lights out.  I will be linking to our TOP TWENTY-FIVE favorite bedtime books! Great for boys and girls ages 18 months to 10 years, so keep reading.

Coming soon!  10 Minutes of Perfection: A Goodnight Guide to End Every Single Day for 11-14-year-olds! 

So I am a laminator, there I said it.  But the fact is, laminating is easier to me than reprinting over and over!

This intro doesn’t need laminated, but I would recommend laminating the three tips and that way they will stand the test of time, and spills, and life.  I will let you know the pages I recommend protecting for ease of use and a quick, pleasing, bedtime routine and my posts are printable (there’s a button below.)

There are few initial investments I will ask you to consider.  Somethings you may already have, and others may be purchased through the included affiliate links or, if I were you, this is an excellent opportunity to make a Target run!

Here is your list, HURRY BACK!

Lavender essential oil (we use the roll on to avoid eyes and a repeat of last fall when some got into Charlie’s mouth… I am not ready to talk about it.

Noise machine (Optional)

Essential Oil Diffuser we actually use a humidifying aromatherapy machine because of Sam’s tender sinuses along with Essential Oils Lavender Liquid (both optional) During seasons with stuffy noses I also like to use Eucalyptus! And don’t forget using distilled water will dramatically increase the life of your machine!

And we do use Melatonin with ages 3 1/2 and up.  It has cut back dramatically on Sam’s night terrors.

Our two young sons have assigned bedtime cups with lids as part of their routine.

I love this brand because it keeps the water cold, prevents spills, and the silicone straw means less waste and damage to the environment.  The boys are responsible for bringing the cups down with them in the morning, which usually isn’t a problem as the water is still fresh and cool and they will often finish their water with breakfast or I will pop them in the fridge and serve again with their afterschool snack or dinner.

Regardless, it is a great way to serve more water to your little guys.

We also are big fans of Weighted Blankets for children with Autism, anxiety, or other sleep issues.  This blanket has made a world of difference in Sam’s night terrors.  This is certainly optional, but I can’t say enough about these “lovies!”

Of course, you may have a wealth of other “things” that are part of your routine.  Again, the important part is the routine.

I believe routine is second only to touch.  I confess, touch gets lost on me without the reminder.  No mom-shaming here, sorry physical touch is not one of my gifts.  However, it is so important for calming and bonding.  Having a regular routine where I am conscious of physical contact is of great service to my children and me.

For more information on the topic of physical touch and development, you can read here!

Aside from touch and routine, I set the alarm on my phone that goes off daily warning me that it is 7:00 pm and it is time to wind down.  Sometimes that wind down includes a bath for my littles, jammies, snack, and tooth brushing, sometimes that means a washcloth wipe down, yesterday’s jammies, a cookie, and tooth brushing (and yes, sometimes we skip that too… I know.  It is terrible. Not often, but come on… life happens.)

This part of your routine really needs to stay fluid.

Give yourself a break love, they don’t have to have a bath every single night. Our bathtime ritual includes stripping down and soaking in a safe temperature bath.  Bath water should be right around 100 degrees to keep from chilling or burning them.  Follow this link for a bath thermometer. (isn’t it adorable???)

I am also including links to my most favorite soap, shampoo, bubble bath, and lotion. Sam suffers from eczema, and this has been a huge help for his poor skin. But it is safe, effective, and affordable for Charlie too!

The Seventeen Minute Goodnight Guide

After everyone is jammied up, has taken their Melatonin Gummy, and teeth are brushed, I start the 17-minute timer on my phone.  I do this as much for myself as for them.  Longer than that I have a tendency to get edgy, and as this is the capstone to any day, good or bad, I like to have an escape plan in order. This allows the bedtime routine stays on task and then me and my Bubble Bath… we have a date.

Goodnight Love: The Perfect 17 Minute Bedtime Routine 7

With our sippy cups full of ice cold water we put the boys in their bed and tuck them in and read a book.  ONE BOOK, and no, not War and Peace.

Ready, Set Bed Time!

A dimly lit room.

Studies show screens are dramatically impacting our sleep patterns.  This wind-down needs minimal lighting.  We either use a small lamp or, at our house, the hall light is enough. However, the room is dark and cool.  During summer months we keep the thermostat set at 77 degrees with the ceiling fan running.  In winter the heater is set to 68, and we run the ceiling fan then as well.

Our little boys sleep in the same room.  With children of different sexes and ages, we invited the elders in to do the night time routine in the younger’s room and then would move to their room to use the lavender roll-on and tucking in.

Better Bedtime Formula in 3 Easy Steps (or tip toes…)

Step One:

Read one book.  Sunday nights we pick the books for every night of the next week and put them in a “book bucket” on the dresser, here is one from Amazon, but you can get something similar from the dollar store or use something you already have.  That way there are no arguments or tears.  Also, in the event we have library books out on loan, they stay in one place and we make sure and enjoy them until it is time to return them.

This form of planning allows the child to decide on an evening when we are coming off a day of rest.  We allow some time to clean the room for the week ahead and then we choose ONE book for each night of the week.  This cuts back tremendously on arguments right before bedtime when everyone is spent. For my top picks every household needs on their shelves, visit this post.

Step Two:

Scripture memory is next.  With our older children, we homeschooled Classically.  Classical Education uses memory method with repeated exposure to information.  I am including a link to 52 scriptures and a printable checklist.  It doesn’t matter which week you start on.  These are dear words from our Lord and this method writes these truths in their heart, head, and history.

The classical method of scripture memorization includes me speaking first and the child or children repeating.  Depending on the age of your child by mid-week they may not need to mimic you, but it does not matter if they do. Avoid making this a stressor.  And by all means, do not fall into the trap of legalism.

This is not a contest, this is a winding down with a word from the Lord. I recommend laminating it and attaching a dry erase marker, to use year after year! List One with instructions can be found HERE.

Step Three:

I tuck the children into bed and use the lavender essential oil roll-on on their temples, and back of their neck.  Always make sure your essential oil is safe for direct skin contact so you do not burn your baby.  If you are not comfortable putting the oil directly on their skin you can apply it to a piece of their clothing or pillowcase.  I then STAND, this is their prewarning that I am going and the routine is coming to an end.  I ask them for prayer requests and then I pray for them, ending with, “Jesus be all over you and with you in your dreams.”  I kiss them. Turn on the noise machine.  And promptly leave.

The more familiar they are with this routine, the more quickly they comply and go to sleep.


We have a regular rule of not going back into the room but giving short, brief acknowledgments from the door.  I have found that re-entering the room repeatedly just encourages more engagement, i.e. stalling.  There are some key factors to also consider, keep your voice calm and soft, nearly a whisper.  And yes, this is hard for me.  I am naturally loud.  But for 17 minutes, I defy nature.

Remember this, you are chosen to momma these humans.  What works for me may not work for you and yours. The key is to do what works for your family.  And friend, cut yourself some slack, no one else probably will!

May your floors be sticky and your nights be filled with much sleep.  Love, Jami 

So he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep. Job 14:12

Check out this video on mornings!

And the sneaky spinach smoothie!

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