The Eight Steps Of A Faultless Bedtime Routine

When I first became a mum I did what many a new mum does, I bought and devoured a whole heap of baby books looking for THE answers.

I didn’t want my kid up until midnight every night so nailing a bedtime routine was the priority. I was a massive subscriber to it, I purchased a multitude of ‘That’s not my avocado’ type books, handed over 30 quid for Ewan the sodding dream sheep with his lulling womb noises and spent years investing into the promise of Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Bath like a total numpty.


It’s three times the price of anything else because it’s ‘clinically proven’ to help babies sleep better! How do they know? Did they also test the babies with a cheap Aldi version and then interview them the next day?


Anyway I’m digressing. The point of this post was to share how I have perfected bedtime now I am an experienced *ahem* parent with over 5 years on the job. This is our foolproof routine: –

1, TV and milk – At about 6pm we begin winding down, the process starts with an argument over whether we should watch Power Rangers or Peppa Pig, follows with an argument that the milk should be milkshake and not just milk and ends in a WWF style wrestling match in which one child lies on the sofa while the other child jumps from the coffee table and lands on top of them. it’s approx a 50:50 laughter to tears ratio which sets things off beautifully.

2, A lovely bath next up we go though a two stage #FML objection to bath time.


3, Brushing Teeth – We are all feeling super chilled now so it’s time to clean our teeth; this is one of my favourite parts as it puts my youngest into a RAGE which requires physical restraint.


4, Story time – Everyone loves a nice snuggle with a good book before bed don’t they!


Although perhaps not quite as much as ‘BOUNCY CASTLE TIME!’ 


5, Lights out and general f*ckwittery – The oldest one has about 37 special friends in his bed that all need to be accounted for before realising that he is ‘MISSING SOMEONE!’ and that someone is a teddy i’ve not seen since 2013. Then he needs 132 kisses, 13 hugs, extra toilet trips and numerous drinks or water (despite branding water as ‘SO SO DISGUSTING’ during the day).

6, Waiting in the dark for an hour – The youngest one needs one of us to stay in the room with him until he falls asleep. When I say ‘needs’ it’s more of a prevention thing because if you leave him alone he just gets out of bed and runs about upstairs shrieking like a deranged guinea pig.

At least I get to lie on the floor and look up celebrity gossip news articles on my phone so it’s not all bad.


7, Alcohol – Number seven is actually the only relaxing part of the relaxing bedtime routine. Or at least it should be, but sadly the sound of the sweet liquid hitting the bottom of the glass is often interrupted by…

8, Additional f*ckwittery – Also known as ‘I’ve got something really, really important to tell you!’ 


Like I said. Faultless.


P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


53 thoughts on “The Eight Steps Of A Faultless Bedtime Routine

  1. Emma Costello

    Good to know I’m not alone. The other day I counted up the amount of hours that I’ve spent sitting in my 5 year old’s room waiting for her to get to sleep (on average an hour a night) 78 days…..78 days!!!! Jesus, I’d be a size zero if I’d had 78 straight, non stop, non interrupted days in the gym….but no, I spend my nights sitting in a chair in the corner of my daughter’s room looking up “news articles” on my phone which is nicely tucked into the sleeve of a Mr Men book. It’s my own fault I know xx

  2. Annette

    Absolutely brilliant! Yet again you have me laughing out loud whilst nodding in agreement & periodically sipping on my grown ups drink from a Frozen beaker (first cup that came to hand when opening cupboard door!) Thank you, super writing :-) x

  3. Alison

    Doing that silent, shaking laugh/cry thing while I read this because a) it is completely and UTTERLY hilarious and b) I’ve been on 6. for 48 minutes [yes, still here…]. So much love for this post.

  4. Mrs ATWWAH

    Brilliant as ever!

    Ours also includes physically wrestling Mini ATWWAH as I put his nappy/sleepsuit on while Master ATWWAH insists he can’t put his Star Wars pj’s on as they are inside out. Apparently Darth Vader would care if they were on inside out and yes, his mummy does put them the right way round for him. Aarreggghhh

  5. Sanity4Mummy

    The tooth brushing position is the only way. I did that for about two years with my middle one, while she went red with rage and screamed the place down. Ahh, such happy memories. I start the wine before the bedtime routine starts. I can’t get through it otherwise. Wrong?

  6. Sugar&Rhubarb

    WTF is it with the blooming toy hoarding?!?! There’s no space for the actual child. Big Red now comes out with ‘Did you sell it on eBay’ if she can’t find a toy. She’s 3. I’m clearly scarring her for life with my habit… that and the use of Aldi bath soak x

  7. Julie

    Argh! That two-stage bath-rejection gets me every time! Mine also somehow manage to distribute half a tub of bathwater around the room before refusing to get out.
    Hilarious post as always. Glad to see someone else has a rock-solid bedtime routine nailed down.

  8. TheMummyDoctor

    Love number 6 – the story of my life. Instead of jumping on the bed we get a constant running commentary on the story:
    Me:”The gruffalo’s child said…”
    MiniMe: “look mummy, that’s a squirrel”
    Me: “lovely darling. The gruffalo’s child…”
    MiniMe: “and what’s that? It might be a elephant”
    Me: ” no it’s a little deer. Anyway. The gruffalo….”
    MiniMe: “It might be a elephant. Look, lots of trees!”
    Me: “yes, lots. The gruff….”
    MiniMe: “where’s owl? He might be hiding.”

    1. Dave Morris

      In my house it is not only the constant running commentary from the child, along with the bathroom break every couple pages, but the additional random (unrelated) and very loud commentary from my wife. Reading stories is a practice in making daddy (me) so frustrated that he just wants to ditch that entire part of the ritual.

  9. maddie

    This is my life! Except with the bath we get the fight of what the order is and who goes first and who went first last time. Also thank God my kid isn’t the only horder of stuff on his bed. He has a billion stuffed animals which he calls his ‘guys’

  10. CG

    2, 3, 7 and 8 are particully apt. Makes me feel less of a monster as I thought it was just me who had to use the all limbs pinned, stranglehold to clean my little ones teeth twice a day!

  11. Mags

    I love your writing. It is honest and funny. I can’t believe that some people slag you off about it. Please never take them seriously. Mags

  12. Jenny

    Oh I would love to be a fly on the wall at bedtime in your house darling. :) hahaha You have it done you are a total natural. Gin helps. lol :)

  13. Suzanne

    How about…. just say, “no”? Why are the children ruling what is or isn’t going to happen?! Suck it up and be a parent! They’re going to need a strong parent when they become teenagers!

    1. Ruth

      Suzanne, I’ll tell you why. Many young parents want their children to be their best friends. They don’t want to discipline themselves or take parently seriously, so why would they be strong parents and discipline their children? From this blogger, and I don’t obviously know her entire parenting style or even if she’s not just completely joking about what goes on at her house, but from my limited perspective, to her parenting is all to be taken lightly and for silly laughs, to create funny images, anectodes and get lots of attention on the internet. I’m certain this comment won’t get posted because this dear young Mom won’t want to have that kind of conversation spoil all the positive attention she gets by being a comedienne but if she steers even one parenting into believing that parenting has to be this frustrating and that it’s natural for parents to always feel this inadequate, she’ll lose her audience, those who keep telling her they are exactly like her and she’s so funny. What will last longest, the laughs or the consequences of whether kids are well taught or not?

      1. Katie Post author

        Quite happy to publish comments where people disagree Ruth. It’s just a jokey post about how kids are sometimes difficult to get to bed, no drama or serious issues. My kids are well and we are all happy! Also not worried about losing my audience people can follow or unfollow as much as they like, sure it’s lovely to have readers but I don’t get paid to do this so ultimately it makes no real odds :)

        1. Ruth

          HI Yes as I thought perhaps it is just about humour and about that I certainly agree there should always be plenty. Kids are so funny and spontaneous. Laughter is the best medicine and parenting is not for the faint of heart, so good medicine is needed via humour. It truly helps parents to know that they are not alone and mothers in praticular because guilt is a condition we all suffer from and knowing that our problems are common helps us to overcome. Sorry if I got a little too heavy but I really do hope that there are as many times for taking it seriously as there are for laughing and then it will come out well. Best hopes and prayers for you as you raise your precious little ones – it’s an honour, a priviledge, a huge challenge and a joy to be a parent. Keep writing I’ve always believed being about to write about spares us insanity. : ^ )

          1. Iain Gray

            I may be going on a limb here, but I’d wager the the author just might be exaggerating wildly for comic effect.

      2. Sally Cawdery

        Oh for goodness sake lighten up! It’s a bit of fun with the added bonus that we all recognise something of ourselves and our experiences in it, enough to cry Oh my goodness yes yes while feeling slightly better that we are not alone in our failure to be 100% perfect yet managing to share in the joy of loving our kids 100% and being willing to put 100% effort into bringing them up to be healthy and happy despite the frustrations. If you don’t like it don’t read it. I love it!

      3. i say no and still do most of these steps.

        Where does it say she doesnt say no?
        we all came here for a laugh and instead you just make me feel sad for you. I think you’re more suited to the Sanctimummy pages and should stick with what you know.
        and trust me when I say it’s definitely not critiquing humour

  14. Nina Ratajczak

    Oh. I remember it well. As the mother of twins a long time ago in 1958, my one year old twins did a number on me . probably all the numbers. fun wow!

    1. Els Couenberg

      My mom was pretty strict (beginning of the sixties and from a strict family) and she was a full time housewife plus a trained nurse. How well I remember hiding under the table in the hope she forgot we were still there, hiding a paperback inside the German grammar book, etc, etc. The bedtime routine was a bit easier (those were the days of the tub on Saturdays, no baths in the house, let alone bathrooms, no geyser, no t.v.). We had a loo, of course. In those days you had to wash yourself twice a day and the point with kids was: ‘WASH YOUR NECK!’ BRUSH YOUR TEETH (no nice kids toothpaste there, but you get used to it quite quickly). Although well I remember my mother’s face when I came out of bed AGAIN with ‘mummy, I cannot sleep’. I didn’t need much sleep. But 7 pm was bedtime, rain or shine.

      When I got kids myself I thought after two years with the first one that I knew it all. Big mistake. My impression sometimes is that the people over here who tell Katy off for ‘exaggerating’ or ‘just say no’ either don’t have kids themselves or have a bad memory -a thing that quite often happens to parents, by the way. You forget about the bad things. When I find back old notes about worrying behaviour I am surprised how much of that I have forgotten, even though I have a very good memory. There is a sound biological reason for that; otherwise you wouldn’t get any more kids.

      Nowadays I have one real and one budding teenager “I won’t go in bath!’ ‘I won’t go out the bath’ and though I have two ladies I better check whether they really have brushed their teeth, used deodorant – btw, it takes two persons to put on deodorant on a twelve year old, they are quite strong because of all those PE lessons, but otherwise the toothbrush picture is pretty accurate. They hardly get out of bed nowadays for ‘important messages’, they sneak around stealthily, hoping you won’t find out they have pinched your phone for a little night time game playing or e-book reading or whatsapp. As if I am not seeing those messages suddenly appear on Facebook around midnight. I learn whole new skills: setting parental controls on the WiFi, how to find out when the kids are on the smartphone (the eldest) or the internet (the youngest). Not to talk about sitting next to my youngest for over an hour to make sure that the computer is used for homework and not for MSP, You tube or you name it and then having as net result only two sentences of her homework research job written. Allocated time for homework: 45 minutes to one hour…..And after all this, try to get them out of bed in the morning. Some people advice that you check on them a couple of times during the night, but you have to sleep sometimes, otherwise you cannot handle the morning stress- at least I cannot. It is that I don’t like gin…..

  15. Iain

    Tooth brushing position is good, but not quite optimal. The best one is adapted from the feeding pills to a cat technique. Wrap the child tightly in a towel so that only head is sticking out, then brush teeth. Also works for giving child medicine. Having bad-tempered cats is good training for small children, imo.

    I also did something similar to make child #1 drink milk when she was young and drove wife insane by feeding constantly at night and refusing non-breast milk. However, I didn’t do this for long as it inevitably turned into something more like waterboarding the baby, and usually ended with her being repaying me by vomiting milk everywhere. I am very glad children don’t have memories of being babies (the ‘practice phase’), otherwise I would fear greatly for my old age.

    1. Jan Smith

      I have three boys and on the whole, bed time has always gone smoothly……except with the third, staying in bed was optional as far as he was concerned. All was ok until I had to put him in a bed, it was that or turn the cot into a cage to stop the little bugger climbing out! Usually around 2 hours post bed time, he’d wake up and then I would sit at the top of the stairs for hours putting him back in bed over and over. I tried threats, bribery, being nice, being cross, saying nothing. I was given all the usual advice by well meaning others – a later bed time didn’t stop it and meant a grumpy child the next day; if I ignored him, he would just get up and go down to the living room (even in the middle of the night which was a short phase also); if I somehow baracaded him in, he would destroy the room by taking all the books off the shelves, all toys out of all boxes etc etc! I persisted and of course, over time he grew out of it……it just felt like forever at the time. He’s now 10 and stopped waking at 5.45 am just sometime last year!

  16. Julia @ Rainbeaubelle

    So funny, bedtimes are not that relaxing are they although I reckon I’m pretty lucky as my youngest will go to sleep as long as she is holding a bottle of milk. Oh and she just needs a bit more. Just a little bit more. Oh and it’s time to get up, I just woke up mum (no, you didn’t got to sleep yet!) Agh! x

  17. MeanieMummy

    Ah Number 8 – most of the other steps have disappeared now that Dd is the grand old age of 8 and we got rid of the bathtub altogether…yet number 8 prevails. The screams of “mummy” “Mummy!” “MUMMY!!” *big sigh from me as my drink is returned to the table and the door is opened a tiny bit to stop the dog getting up there* “what?!…..I mean yes dear..” Followed by the automatic guilt tripping conversation
    DD: “I can’t get to bed”
    Meany mummy: “yes you can, Infact you were in bed then got out, now reverse that and get back in please”
    DD: “I can’t”
    Meany mummy: “Go back to bed”
    DD: “but mummy I can’t”
    Meany mummy: “GO BACK TO BED!”
    DD *in the sweetest voice*: “But I Just Love You”
    Mummy: “…..ok sweetheart I’m coming”

    1. Iain

      We had a problem with rats in the house for a while (sorted now, thankfully), and told our 5 year old that if she comes downstairs after going to bed the rats will get her.

      She stays upstairs.

  18. Honest mum

    My night, every single night. Brilliant. My eldest won’t let me lie on the floor in the dark to read Femail, I mean, The Guardian so I have to hang over his bed with the phone hidden so the light doesn’t keep him awake. Grrr

  19. Emma

    Just read this and Ruth needs to get a life! This blog sums up every parents routine I know mine included with a two and a half year old who thinks he can clean his teeth with his mouth closed! These blogs are what makes me feel great as a parent and also gives me a laugh at the end of a tough day of being at work and being mummy afterwards too. They are brilliantly written and on point with everything that is said, lost count of the amount of times I have said FML while his dad is fast asleep! I expect that Ruth is from the same PC brigade that think we should all leave a screaming baby / toddler to cry themselves to sleep at night as it teaches them whose boss! While we sit on the stairs an emotional wreck as we feel like we are punishing our child when all they want is a hug and their head stroked. If you son’t like it Ruth then don’t read it, But we all love it!! Emma xx

  20. Jimmy

    You get to look at your phone while waiting for your kids to fall asleep? My five-year-old claims the light from the phone, even on the dimmest setting, won’t let her sleep. Despite the fact that she has about 500 night lights on at the same time. Or just suddenly develops a fear of the dark and needs the main lights on: no, it’s my phone that’s causing the problem. Either that, or the thought that I’m getting a little ‘me’ time. *Sigh*

  21. hownex

    Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment
    (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it
    up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any points for rookie blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.


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