14 Easy Steps to Get Your Kids to Bed


Mother kisses her daughter before bedtime

Ah, bedtime. You finally get your kids ready for bed, and it’s your turn to relax, eat your snacks in peace, or just get things done without distractions.

As parents, we know that bedtime is not always a smooth process. So I listed all the reasons my children get out of bed to create this simple and painless 14-step guide. Well, maybe not simple or painless, but hopefully handy. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

1. Start Bedtime Early

Try to start your bedtime routine at least an hour before bedtime. This will give you extra time for all the stalling tactics. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me every night, trying to rush reading time because brushing their teeth turned into a 15-minute activity.

2. Potty Time

Have your child use the bathroom. Ask them to try even though they say they won’t need to go. They always suddenly remember they need to use the bathroom the second they lay their heads on the pillow. 

3. Do Your Bedtime Routine

Read, sing songs, pat backs–whatever you normally do. Make sure you don’t forget any steps. In the middle of the night, your child will definitely remember that you only sang two songs instead of three.

4. Hydrate

Give them a cup of water. Actually, just fill up all the kids’ cups in the house. This is when your child, who hasn’t taken one sip out of their water cup all day, suddenly remembers how parched they are. 

5. Sleeping Buddies 

Does your child have EVERY stuffed animal they own in the bed? If not, they will get up to find that one animal they haven’t played with in two years because they won’t be able to sleep without it.

14 Easy Steps to Get Your Kids to Bed6. Lighting

Check the lighting. Do you have the nightlight, closet light, and hall light on? Are the doors the perfect width apart so they let in just enough light to keep monsters at bay, but not too much to keep your child awake?

7. Noise Check

Is it too quiet, too loud, or are there any weird sounds? Noise machines have really been a lifesaver in our house. 

8. Temperature Check

It is too hot or cold? Think of Goldilocks, everything has to be just right. 

9. Ailments

Check for any ailments: did your child bump into something this morning that suddenly is the worst pain ever? I recommend having ice packs, band-aids, gauze, allergy medication, burn cream, splints, and anything else you can fit in the drawers on hand. You can never be too prepared.

10. Monster Check

Check under the bed, in the closet, in the hallway, and anywhere else there might be something scary lurking. All monsters must be properly removed beforehand.

11. Final Hug and Kiss

12. Another Bathroom Break 

13. One Last Hug and Kiss

14. Leave Quietly and Quickly

If they sense you nearby, they will summon you.

With some luck and the stars aligning perfectly, your child will easily drift to sleep. I hope this helps. If not, I hope you at least got a good laugh.

*Note: this list does not guarantee that the kids will actually fall asleep, stay in their bed all night, or sleep in until a reasonable hour.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.