Lots of things happen when you have a kid: You鈥檒l become a pro at changing a diaper one-handed (using a V cute diaper bag), you鈥檒l get used to never peeing alone and you鈥檒l be sleep deprived聽鈥 very, very sleep deprived. The lack of z鈥檚 won鈥檛 stop when your offspring steps up from baby to toddler, but this is the time when you really need to set boundaries, create healthy habits and instill nighttime routines that will make bedtime easier for聽your wide-awake little human. Not only will you be able to get more rest yourself (and OMG, you鈥檒l need it), but you will help your kids feel safer and more secure (routines help with that). It鈥檚 a win-win! To assist you in this noble journey, we have five tried and true ways to help your little ones go night night.

Little boy, big dreamer

1. Read soothing books.聽This is a go-to bedtime routine for a gazillion parents, and for good reason. It works! But you shouldn鈥檛 merely pull out any book 鈥 find tomes that are soothing, relaxing and have a soft cadence. You wouldn鈥檛 want to pick a book that is full of action or one that鈥檚 too interactive. This is the time for them to wind down. When reading, try to use your softest tone; not only will it help relax them, but it鈥檒l do wonders for you too. Find a book that they love and that brings them comfort. If you find a book that works not unlike a sleeping pill, you鈥檝e lucked out (I have no idea why, but my daughter would nod off whenever I鈥檇 read her Oh No, Not Ghosts! I can pretty much recite this one by heart).

2. Say your goodnights.聽Pull a Goodnight Moon and have your little one say goodnight to anything and everything. Wish the dog, the cat, their stuffies, their siblings and, yes, even the moon a goodnight. It鈥檚 a sweet routine that will help them realize that this is adjustment time between awake and asleep. There鈥檚 something about having them realize that it鈥檚 not just them going to sleep and that they鈥檙e not alone. Just give them boundaries. If they start saying goodnight to every hair on your head, you鈥檙e in trouble.

baby applaud while taking bath

3. Have them take a bath.聽This is another bedtime helper聽that many parents don鈥檛 use enough. The warm water of bath time will help relax your child鈥檚 mind, as well as their muscles, and will assist in getting them to a state more conducive to sleep. Just thinking of taking a bath makes me sleepy. If you have a dimmer on your bathroom lights, having the lighting a bit lower than usual will help even more. Chat with them while they bathe and reflect on the day. And there鈥檚 a big bonus to this routine 鈥 you鈥檒l have a clean kid!

4. Play relaxing music.聽Hide your Ramones and Kesha CDs; they won鈥檛 help with bedtime AT ALL. Instead, invest in some low-key kid-friendly music from classic lullabies to classical to Bossa Nova (we鈥檙e partial to Getz / Gilberto played at a low volume). It doesn鈥檛 need to be music; you can use sounds from something like the Baby Shusher聽鈥斅爄t鈥檚 a sound machine for the baby who loves the sound of shushing.

5. Play a soothing game.聽There are several games that can help get your little one to sleep (and do a little learning in the process). Take turns playing the alphabet game. First say something like 鈥淎 is for apple,鈥 and they would follow with 鈥淏 is for boy.鈥 Keep on going until they nod off. Numbers work just as well: Try 鈥渙ne little monkey,鈥 followed by 鈥渢wo cute cats鈥 and so on, until they get to the point where they go night night.

Does your family do any of these bedtime routines? Tweet us聽@BritandCo and let us know.

(Photos via Getty)