YES YES YES!!!
A set bedtime and routine are great not just for our kids but us adults too!
It doesn't need to be long drawn out event and a bedtime routine for a 6 month old will be shorter than one for a 2 year old. Simple steps you do every evening that prepares your little one for sleep time.
We're all busy but ..... Ideally:
If your little one is eating solids after dinner (which should be 1-2 hours before bedtime) allow time for one on one playtime where possible.
Turn off the TV, phones and screens. Any blue light from screens, phones, tv’s and baby light projections block melatonin production so don’t have these on 1-2 hours before bedtime.
It can be a good idea to do something fairly physical with your child, rough and tumble or running around exercises - something to help burn off some energy.
Then 15 minutes before you start bedtime routine dim the lights, draw the curtains and have everything calm, this is the start of the wind down routine. The purpose of the wind down routine is to start the bedtime routine with a calm child.
For older toddlers and children, during wind down you could do puzzles, colouring, look at books or better still a bespoke bedtime book. (This is where you make your own photo book and break down each stage of bedtime routine by taking photographs or downloading pictures what your child will do at each stage. )
When you start the bedtime routine stay upstairs and have a sequence of events that you do in the same order before bed. Take everything you need with you upstairs, so if they have a favourite teddy, story or have a drink before bed have it all in their room so you nor your child need to go back downstairs. We've all fallen into the trap of 'oh I need my ...... for bed' and no one knows where this precious item is and you spend the next 20 minutes looking for it. If your little one is old enough, have a bedtime basket and make it the child's responsibility to put everything needed in there and carry it upstairs.
If your little one gets really excited after bathtime then you don't need to have this as part of bedtime routine you could do this straight after dinner time. If your little one takes a while to wind down before bed then try sitting with them in their dark bedroom before bed and talking quietly with them.