*I’m excited to share some guest posts with you over the next few weeks while I recuperate from carpal tunnel issues. Be sure to visit these awesome ladies blogs! Thank you 🙂
Is your home anything like mine? By the time bedtime rolls around I am ready to have the kids in bed so I can hide somewhere with a cup of tea (or bowl of ice cream) and a good book. I spend a lot of time with my children everyday from homeschool lessons, preparing meals, reading books snuggled on the couch, and chauffeuring them to activities. Previously, I did not want to supervise getting pajamas on, brushing teeth, getting settled in bed, and saying prayers. I was to ready to be off-duty and let my husband take over the bedtime routine.
Our new bedtime routine
Our new bedtime routine is for the girls to get pajamas on, wash their face, and tidy their rooms. (Some nights I need to directly supervise these activities to make sure they happen in a timely manner.) I then brush their teeth. Once they are in bed, Dad says prayers individually with each girl.
Depending on how quickly they completed their tasks, I spend 5–15 minutes with each girl once they are in bed. (This is a great incentive to get ready for bed quickly because they faster they are in the bed the more time we have to spend together.)
I use this time to speak each girl’s love language. My youngest daughter’s love language is physical touch and she LOVES to snuggle so I lay next to her while we talk or make shadow puppets on the wall. There is usually a fair bit of giggling involved since she is a pretty silly girl. My older daughter’s love language is quality time (plus she is now a preteen) so I sit with her and talk, allowing her to direct the conversation. Some nights it is a serious conversation about growing up. Other nights it is more light hearted about random things on her mind.
Before leaving each girl’s room, I tell them something on which to focus their thoughts as they go to sleep. This helps them battle nighttime fears.
How I found joy in bedtime routines
I see a difference in their willingness to go to bed since they are looking forward to our special time together. They don’t realize it, but they cherish that I am speaking their love language. I have learned new things about each girl as we talk. It is a great way to deepen our relationship.
It is an opportunity for mentoring my daughters. I am able to get to know them better and speak love and truth into them. They are more willing to open up and share intimate thoughts in the privacy of their bedrooms. Because I have been careful to let them direct the conversation, they are also more willing to open up because they know I am in listening mode and not teacher or mom mode.
My bedtime routine is off to a great start. I am blessed by the time I spend with my daughters each night. It provides me an opportunity to slow down from the day and cherish these special moments. I try to have my computer turned off before supper so I can create a relaxing bedtime routine for myself. (I don’t always succeed if I have a deadline I must meet, but it’s my goal.) Spending time with the girls followed by reading a book is a great way to prepare my mind and body for bed.
There’s not always joy in bedtime routines
I have come to cherish our nightly snuggles and talks. Because I approach them with the right attitude, they are refreshing and relaxing. But there are still nights I do not find joy in bedtime routines.
Some nights we are not able to get the girls in bed early enough for a snuggle or time to talk. Those nights I try to spend a few minutes sitting with each girl before saying goodnight.
There are some nights that I want to do anything BUT snuggle or talk. These nights are a challenge and I remind myself that they still want me to be there with them and still want to talk to me so I cherish that and try to look beyond my feelings. There will come a day when those beds are empty because they are all grown up and living on their own. But for now they are filled with sweet little girls that need their momma to choose joy in each moment.
How are you finding joy in bedtime routines?
Crystal has a passion to share her research and experience with parents in a way that equips them to train the hearts, minds, and souls of their children. She encourages parents through her blog, workshops, and published resources. You can find out more about Crystal at www.triumphantlearning.com.