One of my children is a nighttime talker — bedtime is when she feels most comfortable sharing when she has something on her mind that’s bothering her. That means that even though my brain starts shutting down around 9 p.m., I have to be ready to listen intently, process effectively, and advise wisely no matter how late it is, and believe me, there have been some late nights!
If there was a parents’ guide to bedtime, being ready to listen would be pretty much near the top. It’s one of the things moms should do for their kids every night. Here are 5 things moms should do for their kids every night.
1. Tuck them in.
Consider it a standing appointment; when it’s time for your child to go to bed, put all else aside. Leave your phone in the kitchen, turn away from the laundry, finish the work email later. Go to your child’s room and be ready to spend however long it takes to complete the bedtime routine.
(Of course, if your child starts stalling or trying to stretch out the bedtime goodnight past the normal limit, don’t feel badly about leaving his room. Just end on a firm note with overtures of love.)
2. Be ready to listen.
If you can avoid rushing bedtime rituals, your child might open up more often. When kids are tired, their guard comes down too. Ask them about their day. Use some of our Pillow Talk questions to spark conversation.
3. Read with them.
Read with your child even after they learn to read themselves. If he can read his own books, find one that tells a great story that might be beyond his ability level. Even if he can read any book he chooses, spend a few minutes each night sharing a book together. Here’s a list of great read-aloud books for younger children.
4. Pray with them.
Send your child off to dreamland with a prayer of love and hope. Hold her hand, snuggle beside her, or rest your cheek on her forehead as you pray. Thank God for the day’s blessings; pray for a good night sleep, and pray for the day ahead.
5. Hug or kiss them goodnight.
End every bedtime with a physical show of affection.
Bonus: Have a bedtime ritual.
Come up with a signature phrase or goodnight tradition. One example I have heard: “Who loves you?” “Daddy.” “Don’t ever forget it.” “I’ll never forget it.”
In case you missed it, here’s our very popular 7 Things Moms Should Do for Their Kids Every Day.
Readers, do you have a bedtime ritual with your kids? Tell us in our comments section below!