I know that some parents hate bedtime, but it has always been such a sweet, special part of my day. I cherish the moments when I lie in bed with my girls, talking and sharing and connecting in a way that doesn’t seem to happen when the lights are on.
We never deviate from our bedtime routine. Kids find order and stability in routine, and it really helps to get them settled down and ready for sleeping. Here’s our routine:
- Clean up the toy messes in the living room and in their bedroom.
- Brush teeth.
- Put on jammies.
- Read a story. Night Night Farm is a great choice for little ones because it has bright pictures and rhymes. It talks about how each of the animals in the farm gets ready for sleeping.
- Turn on our sleepy music – a special CD of lullabies I made when my oldest daughter was born. We have played it virtually every night of their lives. It’s all about the routine.
- Turn off the light.
- It would seem that this is the time to close eyes and go to sleep, but this is when the real wonder of bedtime begins for me. After the story is read, and the light is off, we talk. I tell each of my girls 3 things I love about them. I ask them questions about their days and their lives and their feelings, and they always answer with frankness and clarity. Sometimes we talk for a half hour before they go to sleep. Sometimes they fall asleep in the middle of our conversation. Sometimes, they talk so much that I do have to cut them off and say, “It’s time for sleeping now.”
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