Ever thought why your kids don’t tell you anything, even when you ask?
As parents we ask our children to tell us about their day. When you pick them up from school, we ask: “what happened at school today?” and the answer is mostly: “Nothing.” Then later we ask them: “What did you learn today?” with the same answer: “Nothing”. After bath time we might ask: “anything new happen today?” with the original response: “no”.
But, at bedtime they will tell you much more than what you anticipated…
Maybe it is because they just want to stay up a little longer, this makes no difference in the bigger scheme of things. You don’t have to question them at all. As soon as you leave the room, they will call you back and then you just listen.
My boys do this every night. It starts with me leaving after tucking them in and switching off the light. Then a little voice says: “Mommy, can I tell you something?” And when I say yes, they tell me detail about who did what, who was mean, what the teacher said, who they played with, what made them happy, what made them sad and what they look forward to. This is also the time they ask me about upcoming events or arrangements to check if my answers are consistent. Yes, they test us. Let them, because that is how they build trust.
Spend that little bit of extra time with them. Listen to what they have to say and allow them to express their thoughts, ideas, dreams and fears. Everything else can wait. Work will be there when you leave their room, you can pause the series you are busy watching, the floor won’t get any dirtier than what it already is. So, stay… and listen.
Always show that you love them when you tuck them in with a hug and a kiss. This will be the moments they cherish, and this will create a bond that only you can have with them. Showering your children with love is never a bad thing. This will help them fall asleep and know that they are loved and secure.
What about your teen?
Older kids need the bedtime routine with us even more. Our teenagers are vulnerable, although the actions portray something different. They have different thoughts, hopes and dreams that they don’t share with us.
If this is not convincing, let me share the 5 reasons why… written by a teen.
You are interested in their opinion. When you ask them about their views and perceptions, it makes them more likely to listen to your opinions and perceptions. Ask questions that require explanation.
You value your teen. Your teenager knows that you are tired after a long day but making this time for them translates into them feeling valued. Never ask them if you can tuck them in, just do it.
Your teen will start to open up. Funny thing about bedtime… we start retracing the events of the day. This is when they want to talk to us. Use the time and build this bond.
You have a servant’s heart. Our children learn from our example. If you show them that you have a servant’s heart and put their needs first, this speaks louder than any of the lessons you described with words only.
Pray with them. Being a teenager is a difficult time. Not a child and not an adult. We forgot how it felt. Adult emotions with the cognitive reasoning of a child is stressful. Pray with them and for them.
Tell us about your bedtime routine with your children.