Flexible Night Time Routine with Catholic Children

Children thrive when we provide clear expectations and order! After some difficult bedtimes, we have found a routine that works for our family and we hope it helps you too! Read about our simple and flexible Night Time Routine with Catholic children.

Home Altar Nighttime Routine

Please note that while order and routine are important, allowing for change in routine and being flexible are also very important! This routine is flexible because every family has different needs depending on the day and circumstance!

We Live in an Ordered World

The Lord created an ordered universe. The rain falls in cycles, the moon waxes and wanes. In the east, the sun rises, and in the west the sun sets. The world is ordered! When we see storm clouds we do not wonder what will come next, but we can predict a storm is coming.

At recent homily we heard at Mass, the priest spoke of the times we are living in and the fear that is beyond rampant. He talked about how the people on the news are wondering why people don’t seem to care anymore about all the chaos. Why don’t they care about all the bad possibilities, and what might happen to them.

The priest declared it is not that people do not care. It is that people cannot care anymore. People, and in a special way those separated from Christ, have been living in a state of hyper fear for to long. They cannot take anymore. They cannot give anymore of their minds over, or they will break. Breaking comes in a variety of forms. None of which are desirable! The priest wisely stated “If you raised a child in this way you would have a very unbalanced and unstable child”. The order in our world provides a sense of peace. It gives us stability.

Why do Children Need a Nighttime Routine?

Now, how does this relate to why children thrive on routines!? Well, we know the Lord created an ordered world for us. A world with routines! It is revealed to us through nature.

We also know that people in general can only handle a certain amount of change. They have a thresh hold for tolerating the unknown. A healthy life is balanced with both the known and unknown, predictability and adventure. Too much of either often creates problems.

This is also true for our children. We are called to provide a sense of order and structure in the home. Life is not always predictable though. Nap times can vary based on events of the day. Activities change, sickness occurs. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a night time routine.

How Does a Nighttime Routine Provide Structure?

With a solid and consistent night time routine children know what to expect. After time, they are able to predict what will come next. They will feel comfortable and confident with the events taking place. Few surprises and fun, relaxing, activities are a good way to wind down for the day as a family.

We had gotten to a place with our routine where after dinner, our oldest would go right to the living room and start choosing a game. She knew what was next and there was no debate or arguing. We were on”schedule”.

How Strict Is Your Nighttime Routine?

We are not strict with our routine. We followed it very strictly for a while. Now we are very flexible with it, and it has been working well for our family! If your children need a set routine, you will notice a difference when it is changed. Small changes may or may not affect them. Try and go by their needs, within reason!

Sometimes we are out later then usual. The children may fall asleep and we will put them right to bed. If anyone wakes up we will sing, read, or pray them back to sleep. If we had a busy day, we may skip the game after dinner, or only read one book, ect. We also no longer follow the time on the clock anymore! The routine is the same no matter what time we are utilizing it. If we are exhausted or ill, we will only keep the last part of the routine, prayer. We are almost always in the same rooms for each part of the routine, but even those can be flexible depending on circumstances.

Nighttime Routine for Catholic Children

First, we eat dinner together! Every night! You can get some easy dinner ideas here for meat, and here for some food from scratch!

whole cut chicken

Then we will try and do an activity together. This is something quieter or with minimal clean up. Play a board game, or color are almost always the activity.

Snack Time!

After about 20 minutes the children get a healthy snack. Fruit, crackers, sun butter, or they can have more dinner.

When the children have their snack and everything is cleaned up, we read together. We used to let the children pick any 3-5 books they wanted. We quickly ended that when choosing a book took more time then reading it!

Reading Is a Key Part of A Night Time Routine!

Before bed, we try to read 2 books about faith and occasionally if time permits, some picture books.

The books about faith are usually a saints book, and something Bible related. Right now we have been loving our two current bedtime books!

Night time routine books

For our first book, we have been reading 1 Saint each night from Saints Around the World. This book is so sweet, beautifully illustrated, and a quick read. It is nice to get the children’s minds focused on God and love before we enter the next part of the routine, prayer.

The other series we have been using before bed is the Catholic Treasure Box Collection. This is fun because we use the same book all week! We love the adventures of Wupsy and the illustrations are so sweet.


We start a new one each Sunday, and our children love them. Whatever the craft or game is, we save for free time during the week!

After these two books, we will either read another book or get ready for prayer.

Ready for Bed with Prayer!

The children should brush their teeth and then we meet back on the couch.

We shut all the lights and light the blessed candle on our Home Altar. We snuggle up and sing the Doxology together. My husband blesses each family member and then He leads us in the Rosary.

Our children almost always fall asleep during this time. We then tuck them in and they are out for the night. If someone is still awake, we will go to their bed and with lights off sing nursery rhymes, or tell stories until they fall asleep. Sometimes we will play a bedtime story or music.

It is that simple! Dinner, Family Activity, Pajama’s, Snack, Books, Teeth, Prayer, Bed! We do not always get to everything, and sometimes we are totally out of order! But generally we follow this routine and the children have responded so well! No more fighting about staying in their beds, and everyone goes to sleep peacefully and happily!

While one parent reads, the other parent can do the dinner clean up or take care of something. Or we can all read together!

This routine is flexible and provides a sense of order and peace that helps settle children down and untied the family in prayer.

Free Night Time Routine Printable!

This printable download is 3 pages. The first is a written list in event order of our night time routine. After that there is a page with pictures of each part of the routine , and a page for children to place the pictures on if this is helpful for your family! You laminate both sheets, add velcro, and the child can show what part of the routine you are up to!

Will you be trying our bedtime routine with your children? Let us know in the comments below!

Stella Maris, Ora Pro Nobis!

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Hello, I'm Jenny!

Hello, I'm Jenny!

I am so happy you are here! Join us as we celebrate Traditional Catholiscism, home making and educating, and wife and motherhood.

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  1. You are so right. Children thrive on routines. I think it also makes them feel safe to know always what to expect.

    • Thank you Julie! I think you are correct! We totally need a sense of adventure and a some spontaneous fun, but that sense of order brings a special peace right?!


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