Some days are long and hard. Some days are ones that you are glad to say goodnight to. During the years of raising young children we mothers are often thankful to see bedtime finally roll around and we can be very anxious to have everyone safely tucked in so that long, slow breath can finally escape our lips as we sit wearily on the couch or crash into our own beds.
The problem comes when the little ones don’t want to settle and we become more tense and frustrated as we feel our evening quiet time slowing slipping away. I often fall into the trap of rushing the bedtime routine so that I can get my break for the night. (Not including midnight feedings or nightmare visits, of course!) But there is something that I didn’t take into account a while back:
If you spend just a couple extra minutes connecting with the heart of your child, they will be more relaxed and sleep better, and you will both feel better about each other – no matter how the day went.
One of the best ways I have found to make that quick but meaningful connection is with a lullaby. I don’t mean a fancy, drawn out event. Just a simple, soothing song that is special to your family. And no, you don’t have to have a great singing voice. Your child will love hearing you sing even if you aren’t particularly gifted in that way. You could even make it a poem if you really hate to sing.
For my children, they actually have different favorite songs. I’m sure some of you might think that might be a bit too complicated but it seems to work for us. Perhaps you have a favorite song as a family? A movie theme, a traditional lullaby, a classic song that you grew up with? It could be anything!
The best way to implement it is to touch your child in some way – hug and kiss goodnight, tuck in time with a blanket, or stroke a head or cheek – and softly sing to them before leaving the room. I have found that even when I am angry and frustrated with my child’s challenging behaviors, when I start to sing and actually look them in the eyes, even I start to relax. I see the best parts of my children and it makes my heart more tender to them, and consequently they see the love in my face and they feel better about themselves and their world. This is a ritual where they fit and feel comfortable.
I find it amazing that I can begin that end-of-day breath before I even leave their bedrooms and it makes me feel a little better about how I “did Mama” that day. We all know what a tough exhausting job this Mama gig is. Sometimes we need all the hacks we can get!
Today I’d like to offer the challenge to you to try this idea out and let me know if it works in your home. We can all use more tricks in our bag and it’s good to know how to adjust ideas for different families. Do you already do this? Or maybe you have another bedtime ritual that accomplishes the same goal? I’d love to hear about it!
I hope you have a peaceful bedtime tonight!
Peace and health,