Our Toddler’s Bedtime Routine and How we got her to put Herself to Sleep

This post is sponsored by Dock-A-Tot. All opinions and ideas expressed here are 100% my own. 
​Here is our toddler’s bedtime routine and how we get Ava in bed by 7:00pm. This is what works for us and how we got our daughter to put herself to sleep.


3:30 pm – I arrive home from work. Sometimes I clean-up the house, prep dinner, go workout or just rest before Joey and Ava arrive.

4:00-4:15 pm – Joey and Ava arrive.

4:15-5:00 pm – Family time, decompressing from work and daycare

5:00 pm – Ava eats dinner. We have discovered that by this time Ava NEEDS food or she is one unhappy toddler.

5:00-5:30 pm – Finish cooking dinner.

5:30-6:30 pm – Eat dinner, wash dishes and pack lunches.

6:30 pm – Bath Time

6:45- 7:00 pm – Story time and milk on the Dock-A-Tot. 

After her bath Ava helps us get her Dock-A-Tot from the corner of the living room and put it on the floor. This has become her spot for story time. I discovered the Dock-A-Tot after Ava turned one and I definitely wish I had one when she was little. I would have used it when giving her some floor time or for nap time.

I definitely think it will come in handy when she transfers to a toddler bed. I think the side bumpers will help her feel secure in a big girl bed.

Anyhow, we continue reading her book on the Dock-A-tot in the living room and then finish getting ready for bed.

7:00 pm – Brush her teeth, prayers, turn on the sound machine, give her her blanket and stuffed dog, kiss her goodnight and close the door.

Sometimes she cries and stands in her crib. We give her 5 minutes to cry it out. Usually by the end of the 5 minutes she is sound asleep or laying on her belly putting herself to sleep by kicking her legs against the mattress. If she’s still crying after the five minutes (which is very rare) we go in and lay her back down and rub her back for just a little bit. Just enough to calm her down. Then we walk out.

This is a method we started when she was really little. We let her cry it out and waited 5 minutes before going in. Then we soothed her while she stayed in her crib and then left the room once she was settled. If she started crying again then we waited 8 minutes the next time before going back into the nursery. We literally set a timer for this. Each time we extended our wait time (her crying it out time). The first week of this was tough, but then it got much easier. Now, all she needs is 5 minutes and she’s sound asleep. This method is something that worked for us, but I know it doesn’t work for everyone. Every child is different. Ava has never been a cuddly baby (so sad) or a baby that liked to be rocked to sleep (sad again), but looking on the bright side she is able to put herself to sleep which gives my husband and I more quality time together.

Ava has an early bed time because she wakes up anytime between 5:30 am and 6:00 am. We have an early morning. By 6:30 am Ava is dropped off at daycare and my husband and I are headed to work. Her early bed time is really nice because it gives Joey and I time to ourselves before going to bed. Now if we could just teach her to sleep in on the weekends!





What’s something that helps make your bedtime routine easier? Does your little one have a lovey, Dock-A-Tot or a special blanket? ​


  1. Alexandra
    July 10, 2018 / 7:08 pm

    Do they make those in adult sizes?! Seriously. I’d put one of these on the livingroom floor and camp out with the kids – who think “camping” on the livingroom floor during the summer isn’t at all like napping. 🙂

  2. July 10, 2018 / 7:08 pm

    It is so important to have a routine! We’ve found that it is so much easier that way, both for our kids and for us.

    July 10, 2018 / 10:04 pm

    We just had another toddler recently placed with us through foster care. This was a great read. Thanks for the helpful information. 🙂

  4. marciemcheung
    July 10, 2018 / 11:32 pm

    My youngest loved his DockATot! We do something similar. We snuggle a bit to calm down and then we say goodnight and put our toddler in his crib. He usually just lays down and either plays quietly or falls asleep quickly.

  5. July 11, 2018 / 6:12 pm

    The dock a tot looks great. I am sure my kids would have loved it. They seem to always find pillows or boxes to sit on.

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