Why is it that some of my best conversations with my children take place at bedtime?
The nights that we have the beautiful gift of a solid bedtime routine is always something I try not to take for granted. Freshly bathed kiddos, full bellies, tired bones, and cozy beds combine to make some kind of magic potion that you can't seem to get anywhere else.
I don't know what it is about this combination, but it seems to create an environment that makes my children feel completely safe and able to share what's in their hearts. I have learned so much about my children in a small but very precious window of time at night.
Here’s what I learned and how you can make the most of bedtime with your children of all ages:
Make It a Comfortable and Safe Space
It may seem like a small thing, but it really is the first thing that sets the tone for the night. It doesn't have to be big or fancy, but if it is clean and inviting, it can allow their mind to quiet down and truly rest.
In that restful state, they can reflect on their day and open up about what is on their mind.
Allow Them to Make the Space Their Own
When they go to bed at night, I want them to feel like that space reflects their hopes and dreams. Perhaps it is the color on the wall, a poster they have chosen, or the bedding that reflects their hobbies.
Whatever it is, I want it to remind them that they are loved and respected for who they are and what they bring to our home.
This isn't the time to lecture, critique, or complain. This is a time to listen. Give your kids an opportunity to unload the thoughts from their day, no matter how trivial. Start laying the foundation; you are there to listen to even the little things.
When they grow up, they won’t hesitate to come to you.
Pray over Them
I have always done this. Sometimes it’s a quick blessing; sometimes, we pray together. Sometimes, it’s just me praying in silence. But, I always pray over my children.
One night my son had a stomach bug, something terrible. He was lying on the bathroom floor in misery and knew that there was nothing more we could do than wait for it to pass.
I will never forget the moment my nine-year-old looked up at me, feeling scared and vulnerable, and said, "Mama, will you pray over me?"
In his time of uncertainty, he went to what he knew was familiar and safe. He went to God, and those little nightly prayers suddenly didn't feel so little.
Make Bedtime Routines a Priority
Let's face it, there is no way a bedtime routine will happen every night. We are all swamped, and that will only accelerate as our children get older.
But something doesn't have to happen 100% of the time for it to feel like a priority and become a cherished tradition. Take full advantage of those moments and make the most of them.
Because we will never regret prioritizing this sacred time.
Joy & Polka Dots,