Dad Life: Fresh bedtime routine ideas for you & your Under 8!

In this article, we share some fun activities to accompany stories and nursery rhymes to aid freshen up the bedtime routine with you and your children.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

Tucking your little angels into bed and playing an active role in your children’s bedtime routines is a magical moment that should be cherished. It won’t last forever after all and is a great opportunity to build a solid bond with your child.

However, reading stories and singing nursery rhymes can become stagnant from time to time. 

And what if reading isn’t particularly your strong point as a parent? This could lead to potential anxiety or fear of inferiority.

Ever thought of what you can do to ‘freshen’ up this daily ritual for both child and parent alike?

Have no fear, as we share our own practices to bring some fresh ideas for dads to have in their bedtime routine arsenal! 

Read Stories 

The magic of reading should not be neglected and we will publish articles in the near future about the benefits this has on your child’s development and how you can aid this process.

But maybe you just aren’t sure- what to read?

If this is the case, then head to your local library, Charity Shop or online and find any books by Beatrix Potter, Dr Seuss, Janet & Allan Allberg, Judith Kerr, Julia Donaldson, Lyndsey Dodd, Emma Chichester Clark, Emily Gravett, David Melling, Roald Dahl, David Walliams, Micael Rosen, Dav Pilkey & you won’t go far wrong! 

Obviously this is all dependent on your child’s age & interests but as much as we’ll go on to talk new ideas for bedtime, just never overlook the joy of reading.

Sing Nursery Rhymes 

Following on from stories, we shall not dwell on this practice but look for the following fun nursery rhymes to add to the classics you no doubt already sing:

  • Sugar Plum Tree
  • The House That Jack Built
  • Two Little Kittens 
  • Three Little Kittens
  • Complete lyrics of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (5 verses!).

You can find further classics @

Some of these I didn’t find until I did some research on ‘classic nursery rhymes’ and I wished I had found these earlier in my parent journey. 


Introduce Poetry! 

Build your child’s vocabulary and have fun exploring the English language & literature by reading poetry! Something my parents never introduced me to and I wish they had!

My daughter and I personally love TS Eliots’ Old Possums Book of Practical Cats, from which Cats the musical was inspired with Macavity the Mystery Cat, Mr Mistoffelees & Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat being our favs!

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & My First Oxford Book of Poems by John Foster are additional recommendations to introduce the art of poetry at bedtime!

Read Silly Jokes!

Whether you open up your child’s joke book or Google search some ‘best children’s jokes’,  bringing humour to the night time routine has plenty of benefits and will leave your child to fall asleep a happier one as you share giggles over silly jokes. 

Adults & children alike love jokes and it is a very universal form of communication & further teaches the magic of words through puns, punchlines & the art of storytelling etc. 

Have Fun with Riddles! 

Challenge yourself and your child with some fun brain teasers via the art of riddles!

This will also expand your child’s eyes to the wonders of language through homophones, homonyms & the joys of puns plus it promotes analytical thinking & reasoning. 

Check this site out for some ‘child friendly’ riddles @

General Knowledge Quiz!

Similar to riddles, why not have some fun testing each others knowledge by taking turns answering some general knowledge questions!

Expand critical thinking skills and broaden understanding of the world through the discovery of facts! 

Test yours and your child’s knowledge via some questions here:

Play Card Games!

A recent development; we have begun to play a couple of fun card games before lights out.

Go Fish, Chase the Ace (or Old Maid), Pontoon (21 – obviously minus the betting element), Poo-Head (what us adults refer to as Shithead) and even ‘Play Your Cards Right: higher or lower’ game, have been recent favourites for my daughter and I to play. 

Is also a good excuse to get out the ‘Trump Cards’ or UNO too!

We also bought some good ‘pair games’ recently with one particular game that tests knowledge and recognition of countries from around the world and matching of national flags etc.

Card games build numeracy skills, problem solving, communication skills and build confidence alongside fun, friendly competition by trying to beat Dad before bed! 

You can find further card games to play with your little ones here:

Star Gazing! 

Another fun activity my daughter and I like to participate in prior the bed routine is taking a step outside to appreciate the beauty of the night sky.

Here we wrap up warm, admire the stars, while talking about life & the awe of the universe.

Admittedly she also enjoys using the ‘Night Sky’ app to aid the identifying of stars and the recognition of planets within our solar system. 

A very beautiful, peaceful and tranquil practice before bed I find! 

Just Talk! 

Finally, never underestimate the positive impact of just talking! 

Or more to the point, active listening!

If like me, you have the tendency to unconsciously dominate conversation or just generally ramble, try and hold a conversation with your child that allows them to talk!

While you engage in conversation, do make the conscious effort to allow your child to lead the discussion and to ask questions as they reflect on their day or any initial questions or prompts you have put to them. 

As a parent it can be easy to talk over our children or to dominate discussions.

Let this be the time for your child to talk to you about what is happening in their life, to open up to show you their perceptions of the world around them & their understanding of life.

This will make sure you are respecting their opinions which will make them feel valued & love. It will also allow them to reflect on their days events and learn from their days adventures / interactions. 

It will also build communication skills as well as make them appreciate the practice of opening up, while strengthening the bond between parent and child.

It can also be a good time to calmly reflect and aid solve any issues or obstacles that your child may have faced that day.

Just to reiterate I’m not saying DON’T talk during this process. 

Open up conversation.

Ask open questions.

Share wisdom.

Tell stories.

But do make a conscious effort to listen.

Sometimes we can learn more from listening rather than talking. 

Night Night- Sleep Tight.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and I hope you have found some fresh approaches to add to your bedtime routines from time to time. 

Please feel free to leave a comment or share any fun activities you implement with your children, to aid further your relationship with your child and to aid a good nights sleep!

Lights out! 


BY Shane @ DMT

Did you enjoy this article or find it useful?

Feel feel to leave a comment below or give us your own views, on what topics you would like us to explore within the realms of dad life.



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