Parenting Advice

Sweet Bedtime Rituals

9 real parents share the off-to-sleep routines they do with their kids each night

They say the key to raising a good sleeper is to following a consistent and soothing bedtime routine. We polled real parents to discover the sweet and creative nightly rituals they use to help their kids drift off to sleep. Try them with your little ones.

Kisses All Around
"Once my daughter is in bed, she gets tucked in and kisses from Daddy. Then comes my favorite part: kisses from me. First we have a cheek kiss, then an eskimo kiss (rub noses), then a 'Sam' kiss from 'You Can Do It, Sam' where we touch noses. Then, depending on her mood we might have other kisses that
we make up (ie the Grover kiss is a kiss followed by 'Goodnight Everybodee!' in a Groverish voice)." -- Becky, South Haven, MI

You Can Take it With You
"We do a book before bed, but strangely, Ian likes to sleep with the book that we read. He needs the book and his monkey before he'll lay down. I can't really figure out why he does that but it's always there in the
morning." -- Chrissy, Euless, TX

Daddy Time
"I'm a stay-at-home mom, so I get all the daytime routines. Therefore, bedtime is Daddy's thing. After bath our son has a snack and some milk while Dad reads him a few books. Then I kiss him goodnight, and my husband puts him to sleep." -- Heather, Fort Benning, GA

Do a Little Dance
"I do a goofy little bedtime dance. Video of this will NEVER be seen outside our house!" --Chuck, Chippewa Falls, WI

Story-telling Improve
"My children come up with three items (person, place, or thing) that I make up a bedtime story about." --Denise, Alabaster, AL

Moral of the Story
"We tell our daughter a story in bed each night, snuggled under the covers. Often the story has a moral about being grateful, or kind to friends, or whatever that day's challenge was. She loves it -- and we get some subtle brainwashing in there!" --Lizzy, Brooklyn, NY

Sweet Nothings
"After the usual feeding, diaper change and reading a book, I put her in the co-sleeper and begin whispering to her. I whisper to her how wonderful she is and the hopes I have for her and the type of woman she will become. I end the whispering with a list of who loves her: 'Mommy loves you. Daddy loves
you. Grandma loves you...' I go through the entire family, including cousins and friends. Rowan gives big smiles the whole time, and it's great knowing she's learning about how adored she is." --LaVona, Boise, ID

One on One
"We have 11-month-old twin girls and every night at bedtime I take a couple of minutes of alone with each one separately. We just take a few moments of quiet time or I tell her a quick story or just how much I love her. They both listen to me talk with their heads on my shoulder and it seems to settle us all down after a hectic day."-- Lauren, Avon, CT