We have a simple bedtime routine. Since we homeschool and are literally reading the entire day, our routine includes only the basics: jammies, teethbrushing, water, prayers, and bed. The whole routine can take 20 minutes on a good night.
Many nights we have "issues" that extend the routine. These issues have become almost a ritual and one has to laugh to keep from crying or shouting in anger. They vary in context, but follow a similar pattern. Here is an example:
End of prayer: "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen"
Parental Figure (PF): "Okay guys, get into bed."
Henry (H): "Mama, I don't have any blankets on my bed."
PF: "Where are your blankets?"
H: "I think I left them in the basement."
Child goes and retrieves blankets. While making bed, we notice there is no pillow.
PF: "Where is your pillow?"
H: "I don't know."
PF: "You need to find your pillow right now."
H: "I really don't know where it is."
PF: "Then you will be sleeping without one tonight."
H: "Oh! I think it is in your room!"
PF: "Go get it."
H: "I don't want to go downstairs by myself."
PF (calling downstairs): "James, please bring up Henry's pillow from my room."
A few moments pass.
James (calling upstairs): "I can't find it in your room."
We troop downstairs to hunt for the missing pillow. It is located under my bed. Or in the schoolroom. Or on Margaret's bed. One time it was on the neighbor's front porch.
PF: "Okay. Good night."
H: "I left Wommie downstairs."
PF: "You can get him tomorrow."
H: "He doesn't like to sleep alone."
PF: "He wants to sleep with me tonight."
Then after all that the PF in charge of bedtime must hunt for and locate the stuffed animal because said child will arrive at the PF bedside at first light demanding to know exactly where Wommie slept the night before.
Sometimes this is the end of it. Other nights there is a slight creaking of the stairs and the child-who-will-not-quit appears again needing more water, more blankets, less blankets, bathroom use, comforting after hearing, smelling, seeing, or thinking an unpleasant something. Often the look of "Go back to bed or you shall not see morning!" is enough to send the little footsteps back to bed. Other times I give in and the child is allowed to color or draw until he returns to bed on his own accord.