Bedtime is a tricky time for so many parent/child relationships. Little ones don’t want to be away from their parents and, honestly, don’t want to be alone. There are many factors that make bedtime hard. Here are a couple and what to do about them.
Finally Slowing Down
When any of us lay down after going and going all day, our minds don’t stop. We think through the day and process what’s happened. We think about what have to do the next day and experience anxiety or anticipation. We think about our relationships and the people we want to (or don’t want to) spend time with. This is true for parents and for children. So, how do we slow our minds down enough to go to sleep and help our children do the same? Here are 2 fun tricks:
Pray through the Alphabet
- Praise God for a different attribute for every letter of the alphabet.
- Thank God for something that starts with each letter of the alphabet.
Singing without Sound
Try to sing through a Worship or Sunday school song by thinking the words and not making any sound. It’s like your soul is singing instead of your mouth. It soothes you and doesn’t distract anyone else!
Especially when our children are little, we don’t make time for them to spend much time alone because it’s not safe for them to be unsupervised, but they need to learn how to be alone.
Sometimes children see being alone as a punishment, because when they need discipline we often send them to be on their own for a “time out”. (Side note, the National Center for Biblical Parenting has a more effective training tool called “The Break” and you can learn about it at this link. This tool helps children be intentional about alone time when they need to process their decisions and learn self-discipline.)
It’s important for us to train our children how to be alone and that being alone isn’t bad. Our children need to know it’s good to have the life skill of being alone to play, to care for themselves, and to rest.
That’s where bedtime comes in. Everyone needs sleep, to know how to be alone, and to think right thoughts about our decisions and actions (processing our days). When children understand the importance of being able to be alone and get rest, it’s easier for them to stay in bed and get themselves to sleep. It’s part of growing up.
It’s also an act of trust in God to take care of us while we sleep. Let’s teach our children this:
The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. Psalm 121:5-6
Which of these tools will you train your children to sleep better tonight?