Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.  It is the same thing just about every night at our house.  Oh sure, every now and then we have company or we’re out of town (or something like that), but for the most part, the boys’ bedtime routine stays the same. 

We realized early on how much our older child thrived on routine.  He was constantly asking us what we would do next, what our agenda was for the day, what we had planned for the week.  He has worn a watch from a very early age, constantly checking times and schedules.  He was (and still is) up at the same time every day, no matter what the day, week or month.

Our younger son is definitely a “freer spirit”.  He is happy to get up at 6:15 or sleep in until 9.  He goes with the flow, excited with each new adventure and surprise and ready for whatever comes around the corner.  But, even with his less rigid personality, he thrives on routine.  Most children do.

Our bedtime routine starts pretty much every evening about an hour before “lights out” time.  Sometimes our schedule makes this impossible, but we try to adhere to the same schedule every night.  We begin with a bath or shower for the boys, then they climb into their pajamas and brush their teeth. 

Most of the remaining time we spend either playing a quiet game or reading a story.  The television isn’t on, and it is time to quiet down as a family and spend some time together.  About fifteen minutes before the lights are turned off, the boys climb into bed and say their prayers.  We spend our last few minutes singing songs and engaging in a few “mommy and daddy kisses”.  Bellies are covered with raspberry smooches and tickle spots are discovered.  Then, with a final hug and kiss, the lights are turned out and a soft, quiet peace fills the house.

Now, I’m definitely not going to say that the boys NEVER get out of bed (because sometimes they do) and they don’t bicker or cut up after the lights are out.  They are boys.  They are brothers.  And they aren’t always perfect.  But, I do feel strongly that keeping a routine at bedtime makes it, well, ROUTINE.  There are no questions asked about what happens next or why bedtime is here already.  Because it is the same thing, night after night, the boys KNOW this is the way it is.

So, what works for you and your family?  Please leave a comment on your bedtime routines (or non-routines) and let us know!