Bedtime routines become sacred very early on in a child’s life. I have started a routine with things I always tell my daughter before bed.
When Sweet V was a baby, there was bath time and pretty songs and nursing and rocking and rocking and rocking, and prayers…mostly for momma to make it through another sleepless night.
Then nursing was replaced with story books. The same books were read night after night, and the pretty songs were replaced with silly songs from preschool.
As my girl got a bit bigger, bedtime took on a much different look. She has a shower every other night now because this working momma doesn’t have time to do long baths in the middle of the busy week. We do jammies, teeth, snuggles and prayers. The snuggles have replaced the songs and books because this is how my girl wants to connect before she is left to be alone with her own thoughts before dreamland takes her away.
Some nights we play silly games while we lay there. She asks funny questions to get funny answers. Sometimes she wants to know all of the favorites-my 3 favorite colors, my 3 favorite animals, my 3 favorite foods, etc. Sometimes she talks about the things that made her day sad or ideas she has for tomorrow’s playtime after school.
I used to think she was stalling on bedtime, and she is in a way. She has my undivided attention in these moments which is different than other moments of the day. Also, bedtime all alone in a dark room with just a nightlight, quiet music and diffuser is AHHHHMAZING when you are a mom.
But when you are six and the imagination part of your brain is growing at light speed, that can be just a bit scary. My girl wants to know that she is loved and safe and the dinosaur she saw last night isn’t there anymore. And sometimes that takes more than the usual routine and we sacrifice a few minutes of sleep for a few more minutes of love and security.
So every night, just before I leave her room for what I hope will be the last time, I tuck her into the covers and tell her a version of these things.
You are smart. You are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful. And you were made to do hard things that other people don’t want to do.
I am so thankful God gave you to me to be your mommy.
I love you to all the moons, all the stars, and all the gallopees!
You are loved so much.
Daddy loves you so much.
I love you so much.
Bubby loves you so much.
But you know who loves you more? And she says, “Jesus!”
I smile and nod and say…
He loves you more than Mommy or Daddy ever could.
And you know what else?
He’s always with you wherever you go.
He’s with you tonight and all through the night while you sleep.
You are my sweet and wonderful girl.
Then we squeeze each other’s hands ten times and she looks lovingly in my eyes to tell me I am her favorite most beautiful girl ever. I tell her the exact same thing.
I walk out of the room to have my own time and she drifts off to sleep…Except usually she comes out ten minutes later to say she needs to go potty.
At least she goes with a full and happy heart.
It has been said by experts that first and last 5 minutes of the day are the most impactful with your child. So I try my best to fill up those last few moments with as much love as possible.
Life is good. Smooth bedtime is great. Keep making your house a love filled home.
High five for home.
What is your bedtime routine like with your children? Is it sacred and filled with love or rushed for survival? Let us know in the comments section.