As the holidays are approaching fast, I’ve been thinking about family traditions big and small. There are so many things I look forward to sharing with my family, and some that are essential to my children, like bedtime.
I remember as a child, waiting for my Mom, who worked too hard, to get home each night and come into my room to talk and kiss me goodnight. I never fell asleep without that, and I waited impatiently each day for our moment. Maybe since I didn’t have a bedtime routine to share with her, bedtime in my house is very special.
Our bedtime rounds start at about 8pm on most nights and last at least an hour. It’s our special time to catch up, snuggle, read and end the day with love. Fortunately, David helps out with Shaya, I wish I had him too, but my girls are Mama’s girls and Shaya is crazy about his Papa. Most parents with tweens and older children tell me to savor the moments now because before I know it, my kids will not want to share their bed with me anymore. I find it hard to believe as they each manipulate me to fall asleep with them all night. Admittedly I do on some exhausting days.
Rain, my almost 3 yr old looks forward to story time and loves to have me tell my version while I scratch her back. Lately she is asking to sleep with one of her sisters, and that leads to three of us cuddled up in a full-sized bed! I usually get into bed with my oldest; we talk about “girl stuff”, catch up on our day and enjoy the alone time. Then if everyone is asleep I stay longer and work on my book or write blogs until she drifts off. Because it’s so difficult to carve out alone time with each of my kids, bedtime guarantees my undivided attention and mommy all to themselves. That applies when Rain is not cutting in and we haven’t voted on a “special night” which means we all sleep together. That used to be a weekly tradition, but these days there is no bed big enough to hold us all! I should have built a custom double-wide bed, but then David and I would never have it to us!
Seriously though, bedtime stories are totally enjoyed in my home, at all ages. I think they not only entertain, but teach great values, and educate and stimulate imagination. Sometimes we make up our own endings, sometimes I ask them to guess certain parts, often times if we’re all together we take turns making up a story as we go along and it becomes an original, eclectic family fairy tale. My kids love playing that game, and it’s big on our “special nights”.
I know there is much to be said and debated about the security factor of children being able to put themselves to sleep. I am on the fence. I have always believed in attachment bonding. Many know that I had a family bed for 5 yrs with my first 2, I don’t have the family bed anymore, because there are too many of us, and David and I need our time together. But at least two of our four sneak in every night. As exhausted as I am, I still believe that nighttime affection is good for the soul.
I will not stop climbing into bed with my children until they stop wanting me too. I am too tired to keep them out in the middle of the night, so we will remain as a can of sardines, but happy to have the problem
I enjoy the nighttime traditions in my home. My kids expect it and look forward to it every night. They never complain about bedtime coming, they only ask, “When are you coming in mommy, who’s first?”
Maybe one day I’ll publish one of our Family Fairytales and it can become part of one of your own family traditions. Try it, it’s so fun!
There is a great book that is a collectible and perfect holiday gift! It’s called “My Very Own Fairytale”, Pottery Barn carries it. It’s a personalized book with a child’s full name and the story of how it became. Very sweet and a special read for any little girl.