Mastering the Art of Our Preschooler’s Bedtime Routine


Getting My 4-Year-Old on the Sleep Train: Bedtime Strategies that Work for Us

The transition from play time to bedtime is not an easy one, as many parents can attest to. I have endured several uphill battles in the 20 footsteps from the living room to bedroom. My daughter is great at exercising her preschooler debates on why she should get to do “one more thing” before our evening bedtime routine. I, in turn, began brainstorming and reading up on strategies to help our final 30-45 minutes of the day together run a little more smoothly.

Creating a Calming Environment:

We have a dimmer switch for the recessed lights in the bedroom, and I set them to low light as we enter the room. I find that the softer lighting helps transition from the brightness of the living room to a more serene atmosphere conducive to rest. We also have an aromatherapy diffuser with various color settings. I let my daughter choose the color of the evening, and I turn on the lavender essential oil mist for a subtle, relaxing scent to fill the air. We also turn on a couple of flameless, battery-operated candles.

Stretch it Out:

My daughter has me beat in the flexibility department, no doubt about it. She loves to do yoga stretches and various postures demonstrating her agility, whenever and wherever. She also loves to school me on how to do them “properly.” For this reason, working in some wind down stretches before story time seemed like a natural fit for our evenings. Some our favorites include:

-warrior pose –
-downward facing dog –
-forward fold –
-child’s pose –

Story time by book light:

Once we finish our stretches, my daughter chooses the book we will read that evening. We have an LED reading light that we turn on as we settle on the bed. I turn off the bedroom lighting and we read by this book light, with the accent candles providing some additional, soft light around us. 


We finish our night by listening to a guided meditation or relaxing sounds. We love Insight Timer, an app that offers over 15,000 meditations at no cost. My daughter chooses the meditation to drift to sleep to. Some nights, she requests a children’s one, which usually has a storytelling theme. Other nights, she picks one based on a cover photo that she likes. Still other times, she just wants to hear the soothing sounds of rain, waves, or singing bells.

Finding a bedtime routine that aligns with the needs of your family can require trial and error. We are happy to have found some techniques that work for our 4-year-old. What works for you? Please share in the comments section below!


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