30 Easy Steps to Put a Toddler to Bed

Establish a bedtime routine, they say. It’s good for your kids and will help them know what to expect, they say.


If you’re struggling with your bedtime routine, I highly suggest following my fool-proof, 30-step bedtime routine that we follow with Wildman. It’s best to start this routine two hours before your toddler’s expected bedtime for guaranteed success.

Step 1: Change the diaper and put on PJs.
Step 2: Change first set of PJs, since your child now wants Mickey Mouse PJs instead of fire truck PJs.
Step 3: Due to the screeching, hysterical demands of your toddler, take your kid to use the potty (though not potty trained).
Step 4: Negotiate the act of putting the diaper back on. Threaten restraints if necessary.
Step 5: Re-dress, because your child is obviously naked. How else do you pee?
Step 6: Wash your tot’s hands for five minutes. Remember to soap up his/her hands two or three times for optimal cleanliness.
Step 7: Wrestle-brush your child’s teeth while he/she wails to do it alone.
Step 8: Chase your screaming toddler down the hall, wrangle the wild one who is now half-naked, and bring back to the bedroom.
Step 9: Re-dress your kid again.
Step 10: Promptly put your kid in a sleep sack/wearable blanket/toddler straitjacket to prevent further undressing.
Step 11: Convince your child he/she hasn’t peed the diaper, nor does he/she need to poop.
Step 12: Settle into your respective rocking chairs and read one book.
Step 13: Read the three other books your kid found while you were reading the first one.
Step 14: Provide a drink of water for your dehydrated child, who is now desperate for liquids.
Step 15: Debate with your toddler over the need to bring a snack cup to bed.
Step 16: Read another two books to calm your kid down from above-mentioned snack debate.
Step 17: Turn on the noise machine.
Step 18: Turn off the noise machine and let your child turn it on. How dare you do it for him/her?
Step 19: Turn off the light.
Step 20: Turn light back on, because again, what kind of monster turns off the light instead of letting your child do it?
Step 21: Settle back into your rocker for some cuddle time and sing your sweet one a lullaby.
Step 22: Sing two more songs that your kid requests because it’s pretty cute. Plus, your voice is totally spot on tonight.
Step 23: Hand your child his/her lovey and place the kiddo into the crib or bed.
Step 24: Say a quick prayer together.
Step 25: Say goodnight and give your child a kiss.
Step 26: Wait, per the request of your toddler, until he/she has said goodnight to every piece of furniture, every toy and every stuffed animal in the room.
Step 27: Leave room.
Step 28: Because your toddler is screaming that he/she pooped, try to take a sniff undetected from the door. Otherwise, you’re stuck repeating steps 2-27 again.
Step 29: Check your video monitor to ensure the tiny dictator has stayed in bed after the pretend-poop ordeal.
Step 30: Get yourself a tall glass of wine for a job well done. You earned it!

Sheesh – bedtime routines. Am I right?


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