A Meaningful Bedtime For Your Children

A Meaningful Bedtime For Your Children

I'm not sure about you, but for us, bedtime routine oftentimes becomes very hectic. It's been a fun day, but everyone is tired, I usually have things to do, and the listening ears just seem to be turned off. We all have our usual bedtime routine- bath, pajamas, books, lullabies, prayers, and of course a cuddle. It's very important to have a routine and it makes bedtime go much more smooth once everyone has established how it goes. Last year, I felt there was something missing from our routine. I laid down with my children just waiting for them to fall asleep so I could run to my own quiet time. I seemed frustrated and just felt so done. I wanted to focus on love and actually bonding before bed.

I saw a post somewhere online that gave me these questions to ask your child before bed: 

  1. What was a hard part of your day?
  2. What was a good part of your day?
  3. Is there anything you need to tell me?

Asking these has changed our nightly routine for the better. 

 

What was a hard part of your day
You can change the verbiage for your child's age- ask what was difficult or something that wore them down, possibly frustrating for an older child. I love when my preschool-aged son thinks hard about this question. It's usually something that I would not think was a difficult part of his day like when his piece of gum dropped out of his mouth instead of when his brother bit him, but it shows me what's important to him and what sticks in his head. My favorite answer that I've ever received was after he thought for a while he said, "I had a pretty good day, no hard parts!" I loved his contemplation and honest answer. My toddler usually blabbers nonsense but loves to be part of the conversation, so I try and think of his day and share an idea with him. 

 

What was a good part of your day
Think of a favorite part or something good out of the ordinary. If my older son can't think of anything I try to think of ideas to lead him to his own answer. My favorite part about this question is that it usually leads to a longer conversation. It's not a one sentence answer, but an explanation about a good thing, how he felt, how it was funny, who was there, etc. This engaging conversation makes us all happy to reminisce over our day. 

 

Is there anything you need to tell me
I think this is the most magical question. Sometimes, I'm told a joke or something else good or bad, that they miss somebody or want a new stuffed animal. But the answer I most receive is "family hug" where we all pile up and give each other a bug huge cuddle hug. This question gives my children an opportunity to tell us their needs and their sweet answer shows me they're looking for physical affection at that time. 

 

We each take turns, including myself and my husband to tell about our days. We go one by one and make sure everyone gets their turn to talk and then listen intently to the next person. Saying more than just "okay" or "oh, cool" and actually engaging in a conversation and showing true concern and acknowledgment for what they feel is important to tell us. We try to keep the light on for these prompts to at least have the night light on so we can keep eye contact and see each others faces. 

 

Showing love by asking, listening, and watching has been a complete game changer for our family at night. It helps me feel more in-tune as a mother and helps my children feel more appreciated and heard. It's created conversation pieces and helped to calm the internal storm I previously felt at bedtime. All I needed to do was add a little bit more love and thoughtfulness. It did seem like extra work at first, but it has 100% been worth it for all of us. 

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