Every night, well most nights, after a long day of work, school, and the baby sitter’s house. After we come home and eat supper, do homework, bathe, and brush our teeth. It is finally OUR time!! The big boys share a room and the baby is still in mine & my husband’s room, for now. We all go in to the big boys room. The big boys lay in bed and get all snuggled in. I sit on the edge of the bed with the baby in my lap. We read a bed time story. We have a whole set of stories from the Bible for kids. A coworker gave these to me about a year ago. They are over 50 years old and they are still in perfect condition. I let the big boys take turns choosing a story each night. They either choose to read from the Bible stories or one of our Dr. Seuss books. Then I sing them a song. Ever since my oldest, who is now 10, was a baby, at every nap and every night before bed, I have sang him a song by Plumb called In My Arms. That song is just beautiful! Maybe not when I sing it, but it is to my boys!! This is OUR song. After the story and song, the boys take turns each night saying our prayer. Listening to my boys pray is so heart-warming! I love it!! I take a turn on the nights that they are a little extra sleepy. We pray for each other, for others, for our big extended family, and for other families. If we know of a particular someone who needs a little extra special prayer, we pray for them too. Our prayers are not perfect, but we know God hears them!!
Unfortunately, we do not get to do this every single night because I do work a full time job and am currently finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree. But, we are able to, most weeks, 4 days of the week on average. We start about 30 to 45 minutes before they should be going to sleep, which is usually 8:15 on normal nights or 8:45 on chaotic night when we got home late or I have an assignment due. We LOVE our time together. They really miss it when we have to cut our bedtime routine short. When we do, we usually skip the story, but still have the song and prayer. I know reading is important, but we read as part of studying as well. They will not want me to do this with them for long. So I am going to enjoy every minute of it while it lasts!! Our week day evenings are very hectic at times, so I really miss our bedtime routine when we aren’t able to keep it too!!
Our bed time routine has not always been so calm either. Before the baby came, we would start our bedtime routine, but the boys were still wound up and did not want to go to bed. They did not want to listen to the story at all and we did not pray. Somehow, they always ended up in our Queen sized bed by morning. The oldest at my feet and the, now middle boy, in between me and my husband. Some nights they came one at a time and sometimes they came together. A Mama can only be woke up so many times before saying “just get in bed”. It was no fun being big and pregnant with feet up your booty and a child on your back while sleeping as close to the edge as possible without actually falling out. I loved the closeness, but at the same time I longed to be able to sleep in my bed and not on the edge with feet up my booty!
To our amazement the first night home with our youngest, I put the big boys to bed in their room and they slept through the night, in their bed! I was so happy! For the next 5 weeks, our bed times were a little wild. It was summer and I was still out on maternity leave. The week before I started back to work, we started our new bedtime routine. Story, song, and prayer! The big boys were still, they listened, and stayed in their bed all night long. Eight months later, we do still have the occasional night that 1 or both big boys end up in our bed. But not often or frequent. It actually took me some time to figure out a bedtime routine and night-night time that worked best for our family. If it’s too early, they were still wide awake and wound up. If it’s too late, they were restless and grouchy. If they had screen time too close to bed time, they wanted to tell me everything they did in the game they played. So many variables!!! But we eventually found what worked for us.
“Night-night, sweet dreams, I love you!”
Do you have a nightly or bedtime routine with your kids?