Abstract Background Bedtime routines are highly recurrent family activities with implications for children’s wellbeing, development and health. Aims The objective of this study is to co-develop and test in a feasibility, proof-of-concept study a bedtime routines intervention using text messages aimed at first-time parents with young children. Methods Fifty first-time parents with children aged 1–3 years were recruited for this study. Parents received a text message-based intervention for 7-consecutive nights which provided support and information on achieving optimal bedtime routines. Parents completed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires focusing on children’s sleep, bedtime routines and parental mood disturbance. Feedback was provided at the end of the study. Results Recruitment target and high retention with 98%, or 49 out of 50 participants completing the study were achieved. Pre- and post-intervention, there were improvements in total children’s sleep with children sleeping longer and having less disrupted sleep overall (MD = − 7.77 (SD = 17.91), t(48) = − 3.03, p = .004, CI (− 12.91, − 2.63) and in overall quality of bedtime routines (MD = − 5.00, SD = 7.01, t(48) = − 4.98, p < .001, CI (− 7.01, − 2.98). Parental mood disturbance decreased pre- to post-intervention (MD = 5.87, SD = 15.43, t(48) = 2.66), p = .010, CI (1.44, 10.30). Parents provided positive feedback about the intervention and valued the support that was provided to them. Conclusions Bedtime routines were successfully altered with short-term benefits for children’s sleep and parental mood. Future research will need to utilize a more robust, longitudinal approach for a definite exploration of sustained changes in bedtime routines and their long-term implications for children and parents.