How to Make Bedtime Fun and Get Kids to Sleep Better

End Bedtime Battles and Get Your Kids to Sleep

One of the keys to creating smooth, fun bedtime routines with your kids is creating a ritual. Little routines help your kids unwind and tell their mind and body, that we’re getting ready to sleep. Going through the same motions night after night will actually condition our brains to get sleepy!

Most of us already have a bedtime routine with our kids, but how much of your routine is a pure to-do list, and how much of it is fun? Getting some fun things into your bedtime rituals will help bedtime be something that everyone looks forward to. Here are some of our favorite ideas to make bedtime fun and get kids to fall asleep after a busy day:

#1 - Puppet Show

If it’s a struggle to kickstart the process of getting ready for bed, creating a puppet friend is one fun trick to try - kids love them. You could go for a hand puppet who interacts with the kids and helps them brush their teeth and get into their PJs, or maybe a the puppet could tell the bedtime story - just as soon as they’re tucked in bed.

How to make bedtime fun for kids: Three kids putting on a show and wearing hats with their names on it.

In the absence of a puppet, stuffed animals can also come alive as part of a good bedtime routine.

#2 - Read Bedtime Stories

It’s a classic idea, but it’s classic for a reason! Reading a bedtime book as part of a nightly routine is the perfect blend of relaxed and fun - you can snuggle into bed, but you’re still connecting with them and activating their imaginations. Depending on how old your kids are, this could be a time to bring out the silly voices and read the same books night after night, or it could be a your chance to work through a chapter book and ask them questions about the stories.

Parents reading a book with their kids before bedtime, a suggestion to make bedtime fun from The Adventure Challenge

Either way, this is a fun activity that kids love, and it actually gets them excited to get into bed.

#3 - Play at Putting Their Dolls to Bed

One habit to put into your nighttime routine that can help transition your kids into bedtime mode is to help them get their favorite doll or stuffed animal ready for bed, too. You can go through the whole bedtime routine - bathing, brushing teeth, and all - with the doll, either alongside your child as they do the same, or as a precursor. This acts as a cue so that they know to expect their own bedtime to be coming soon, too.

#4 - Bath Time Bubble Play

Bubbles are one of the easiest ways to inject fun into your bedtime routine! Grab some kid-safe bubble bath and let the bubbles get huge. Adding a few simple toys to bath time - a few cups to scoop up water, for example - is all you need to make this into a hilarious activity for you and your child.

How to get kids to sleep better: Dad smiles and plays with his son as the latter enjoys a bubble bath before bed.

The warm water makes this into a calming activity that helps get your children ready for going to bed.

#5 - Ask Them About Their Day and Actually Listen

Giving space for your children to process their days is a great element to incorporate into the bedtime routine. You could have the same couple of questions that you ask them every night as they settle into bed, and the ritual of this will help them to relax and calm down.

Ask them what the high point and the low point of their day was, what one thing they are excited to do tomorrow, and one thing they hope they’ll dream about. These are just ideas - but any kind of intentional questions around bedtime have the potential to create really sweet calming activities and peaceful moments of connection with you and your kids.

#6 - The Pajama Walk

Okay, so you might not want to make this one part of your evening ritual every night - but it’s the kind of memory-making moment that is fun to throw in every once in a while.

How to Make Bedtime Fun and Get Kids to Sleep Better. Little girl wearing a sleep mask as she gets ready for bed.

The idea is simple: get totally ready for bed, tooth brushing and all, and then take the whole family for a ‘Pajama Walk’ around the neighborhood in your PJs! Sometimes disrupting the routine is just what you need to inject a little fun into bedtime - your children will love it.

#7 - Play “I Spy” in Bed

One activity to help your kids wind down and sleep better is a little game of ‘I Spy’ at bedtime. This is a simple but effective way for making bedtime fun, and it helps your kids calm down, feel present in their space, and connect with you before sleep - try it sometime.

#8 - Dance Party For High-Energy Kids

For the kids that just can’t seem to get their ‘wiggles’ out, sometimes it’s best to abandon the whole calming routine and let them rock n’ roll.

How to make bedtime fun for kids. Little girl in a blue dress twirling in her living room.

Having a dance party before bed is sure to lighten the mood, get everyone laughing, make some beautiful memories, and tire them out while you do it! That’s a win-win, right?

Having Fun with Your Kids

For more ideas on ways to connect as a family and have fun with your kids, check out our Adventure Challenge: Family Edition. This has 50 adventures designed especially for families - all to deepen your connection and help you make amazing memories. 

And for more ideas on how to make bedtime fun and help your kids to sleep better, be sure to check out our blog!

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Mom tickling her son as they both laugh while getting ready for bed; image overlaid with text that reads How to Make Bedtime Fun and Get Kids to Sleep Better
Collage of kids playing a course in their playroom; image overlaid with text that reads How to Make Bedtime Fun and Get Kids to Sleep Better