I know that I, personally, have moments of dread as bedtime approaches. The kids are inevitably in the midst of an exciting game that they can’t tear away from. Or they are suddenly hungry, even though they just ate dinner (or didn’t eat because they “weren’t hungry”). They don’t want to brush teeth and they won’t stay in bed, and the whole bedtime situation is the last thing you want to deal with at the end of a tiring day.
So let’s take a moment to rethink bedtime, in terms of our children. “Children,” says Rivka Zahava (Making the Most out of Bedtime), “Usually view bedtime as a time to unwind, hear a good story and be treated to the caress of their parents. As adults, many of our warmest memories are the times we sat in pajamas, conversing with mom or dad when there are no stimuli from friends and nothing on the schedule to rush out the door for.”
This is good quality time that should be maximized. It’s perfect for talking over their day (and yours) and developing a deeper relationship with them. During this dialogue, you have an opportunity to instill values that are important to you, in a positive, engaging manner.
feature image via Dotty Parker
Here are some satisfying ways to enrich the the closing of each day.
Stories: Kids love a good story. Better yet, books about feelings, sharing, and people you admire are a good way to instill a message. (A good book is worth a thousand lectures!) Making up your own stories, or telling tales of your childhood, are often welcomed enthusiastically.
Click here for some of Rivka Zahava favorite children’s boks.
Picture Albums: Children are fascinated by their parent’s childhood, and love looking at old pictures and hearing the stories behind them. Your 7th birthday party, your first bike, a party at your grandparent’s house. You can use pictures to discuss challenges you had when you were little and how you dealt with them, like pointing out the picture at your softball game in which you are sulking. Talk about what was hard for you back then and how you learned to overcome it. Or didn’t!
Songs: Lullabies are a sweet and soothing way to end the day. Your children will never forget the songs you sing them on their bed, so try choosing something a bit more meaningful than “Rock-a-by baby”. Or pick songs that your kids enjoy– my son loves “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”!
Say your prayers: You know what they say… the family that prays together stays together. The repetition of a familiar prayer lends sweetness and comfort, even if they are too young to understand the meaning of the words. But tucking them into bed with a kiss and then whispering a meaningful prayer together will make them feel warm and cozy inside. Encourage them to talk to God themselves, voicing their hopes for the next day or the troubles that are bothering them.
Reflect on the day: By age 3 or 4 kids can already enjoy reviewing their day together. Keep it positive and save discipline for another time. Tell them how proud you are for the nice things they’ve done that day. Let your child drift off with a positive self image and happy to face the coming day.
Read the whole article, and more, on Aish.com