Evening Routines: Better Sleep Habits For The Whole Family

Get Better Sleep by Having a Bedtime Routine

Jacquie Ellis author photo Evening Routines
Every family goes through periods of time when they aren’t getting enough sleep. Evening routines, started when children are young (as a baby, even) go a long way to fostering good sleep habits. To clarify, even if you implement a bedtime routine at an older age, you will still see the benefits.

Don’t discount the power of a routine, no matter your age.

That evening routine and resulting good sleep habits mean a better sleep for everyone, including you! Every morning, after a much more satisfying sleep, you’ll be feeling fresh and eager to jump into your morning routine.

Jacquie is an Industrial Engineer by day, and writer and owner of Seeking Simple Life by night. More importantly, she is a long time mom of three who has “been there done that” from babyhood through adulthood who is happy to share her best tips for all the stages… So everyone can get better sleep!

When she isn’t working she is sorting through her own chaos that comes with being a wife and mom of three kids. She loves family time, camping, her Kindle, the odd adult beverage, their PVR and Netflix. Visit her website and discover how you can reduce overwhelm and simplify your life bit by bit.

Evening Routines Help the Whole Family

From toddler years through high school, evening routines help the whole family. These evening routines not only helped the kids, but also helped strengthen my marriage and improved my own self-care.

I often talk about routines on my blog, Seeking Simple Life, because routines are the brain’s sweet spot for keeping our lives organized. The brain loves a routine because it works less when it doesn’t have to walk you through each little step.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all for reducing the brain clutter and freeing up some energy for what matters, like enjoying life with my family.

I’m a mom of three kids and have been married to my husband for over 25 years. Two of our kids have started their own journey and no longer live at home, so we are almost empty nesters. I thought I’d share how our evening routines helped our family over the years.

Evening Routines with a Baby

Touch your heart, close your eyes. Make a wish, say goodnight. Sky so wide, stars so bright, off the lights, sleep so tight.
Photo Credit: rawpixel.com

We had our first child when I was in University and lived in a one-bedroom apartment. The crib was in the living room, so our child needed to be able to sleep with noise in the home.

However, we had no control over noise from the hallway or the surrounding apartments. With the crib in the living room, we also needed our baby to sleep while we had group study sessions, watched television or played games with friends.

Our first parenting routine was created out of necessity, and that allowed us some freedom after the baby went to sleep. We were able to take him everywhere and know that he would be able to get to sleep: weddings, dances, game and movie nights with friends.

Keep in mind whether you’re be able to replicate the routine easily if you’re away from home – the more you can keep things consistent, the easier your babe will fall asleep in unfamiliar places.

You’ll also need to make adjustments when the infamous sleep regressions happen, but you’ll find having a solid evening routine for your baby will help you through those more challenging times.

Find a checklist for what to include in a evening baby routine and a chart of how much sleep is required for each age in the Tickle Trunk – get the key to unlock the Trunk when you subscribe to the Abrazo and Coze newsletter. It’s free for subscribers, so just click the “I WANT IT!” button below.

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Evening Routines with Toddlers and School Age Children

If you've never said "I love you, too" in a slightly angry voice, you clearly don't have children that you're trying to put to bed.
Photo Credit: rawpixel.com

As young parents, I would see other families that didn’t have a set bedtime for the kids. The children would be up late, and the parents would be exhausted, going to bed shortly after the kids went to bed. Late afternoon naps would affect the evening bedtime and a vicious cycle would continue.

I’d also see marriages slowly unravel over the years because the parents spent their entire evenings with the kids or constantly cleaning the house.

They left no time for the marriage. No time was invested in nurturing their marriage or taking care of themselves.

As a result, life got complicated with a disconnected family and exhausted parents that had no energy left to enjoy life. Stress added up and life became chaotic.

In our own home, we set reasonable bedtimes based upon the age of the child.

Honestly, it started out more for my own benefit, but it helped them too. It drove me to distraction to have a cranky, whiny kid the next day. Setting up a reasonable bedtime set the stage for evening routines that helped them get enough sleep, and gave us parents time together.

As the kids grew up, the bedtimes would get a little bit later, and we added in a reading routine for them as a quiet time before bed. This still gave us some adult time and it would help them relax enough to go to sleep.

There’s a chart outlining the recommended hours of sleep for each age and an evening routine checklist for toddlers and another for children in the Tickle Trunk. It’s free for subscribers, so just click the “I WANT IT!” button below.

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Parent Time and Some Self Care

You know you're a parent when you cram your entire adult life between the time your kids go to bed and you go to sleep.
Photo Credit: rawpixel.com

One of our secrets to creating balance in our life is making sure we spend time together regularly. We don’t make it elaborate, we keep it simple. Mini-dates don’t need to be complicated or planned. They also don’t need to cost anything extra.

The key is making the time to do them, and the goal is to build a strong relationship with your partner and outlast the empty nest syndrome.

Self care is a buzzword being used a lot right now, but I’ve been practicing it for a few years.

My busy mom brain can’t slow down without a simple evening routine that will relax me before bed. My go-to’s include a fun book, craft, word puzzle or sudoku. Putting this simple evening routine into my day helps recharge me for tomorrow.

During the teen years, when the kids want to stay up late during the summer, is hardest for me because I miss my regular adult time. We are more flexible during the summer because I love that they want to spend time with us.

However, I’ll admit there are times I tell the teen to go to their room, so we can have some adult time. Either that, I’ll sneak off to my room for a mommy time-out.

Evening Routines Help the Whole Family

The bottom line is, after a busy day of work, you may feel guilty for missing out on time with the kids, but you aren’t doing them any good keeping them up. After all, cranky kids kill the joy in any home.

Finding an evening routine that helps everyone is the sweet spot for parenting and marriages.

The key to our evening routine is to not use the entire evening cleaning after the kids go to bed.

You need to spend that time with your partner, strengthening your relationship. Your marriage will thank you for this over the years.

Finding small ways to improve life bit by bit, will reduce the stress and simplify life. Strengthening your family relationships is just one way to simplify life.

However, I want you to promise me that you won’t forget to add in some self care time to create some balance for yourself. Take care of you and start enjoying life.

Every family is different, so I imagine your evening routine looks different from mine. What do you do to make bedtime go smoothly? Let me know in the comments below.
How to Sleep. Evening Routines for the Whole Family. Whether you've got teens who love to stay up late and sleep in late, or infants who are awake every three hours, an evening routine will help them get the sleep they need for healthy development.

Stop yawning and start living. Get. More. Sleep. Learn how. If you never seem to get to bed early enough, or your children are hard to get into bed you're going to want to start following evening routines for everyone.

8 thoughts on “Evening Routines: Better Sleep Habits For The Whole Family”

  1. Lots of good advice in this post! We have three kids age 6 and under. We survive the chaos of our days thanks in part to our rigid bedtime routine. Bedtime is the same time every night (even when we are on vacation) and the routine is always the same. We have book baskets in each child’s bed and a reading light for them (even the 2 year old). We have found that just like my husband and I love to relax our minds and bodies for sleep by reading books, they too benefit from some quiet reading alone time.

    • That’s one place we are weaker in our bedtime routine – when we’re away. Sometimes it’s such a challenge to get everyone to bed on time, most especially the first night if we arrive at bedtime. Do you always time your trips so there is time to decompress after arriving before bed?

  2. This is awesome. It truly is so important to have that special time with your spouse. You grow together. My husband and I have always made a deal (unless he is going to be gone for work) that we go to bed together. That may mean that Im sleeping on the couch during the last quarter of MNF but at least I am with him.

    • Awesome. Love that you have that policy for yourselves. We go to bed separately on occasion if one of us is especially tired, but otherwise, we go at the same time, too.

    • Glad you found some new tips – I hope they work really well for you. I’ve found a huge benefit to my mental health since starting a bedtime routine with my youngest two.

  3. These are great tips for creating helpful evening routines. I don’t know how families survive with late bedtimes for kids. If my kids are still awake after 8:00 p.m., I feel like I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind! Thanks for the validation 🙂

    • LOL – I was one of those parents. My eldest always went to bed late, and I stayed up even later to get things done and have time for myself. My youngest two have a bedtime routine, which we start at 7, in bed by 8. Soon we’ll be making the bedtime a little earlier once Monkey starts going to full day kindergarten (she currently only goes part of the day) – she’ll need that extra sleep time. And I definately love having time each evening after they’re asleep. Good for you for having bedtimes right from the start!! (I wish I’d figured it out sooner!)

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