Think about the way you put your child to sleep. Do you throw them in the bed and then leave?
Now let’s think about your own nighttime routine. Do you go straight to sleep when you get into bed or do you read or watch TV to unwind? Of course you do. We all need to unwind before bed… and kids are no different. I feel so strongly that connecting with your kids every day is important even for just 15 minutes/day per child. I have found the best time to do this is at night. I split my nighttime routine into 3 distinct parts:
Doing something goofy: my daughter and I play with the snapchat filters for about 5 minutes. We laugh, we record ourselves the funny voices, we act silly. You could also read a book (funny voices encouraged). Whatever you can do to engage with them on their level is awesome!
Lights out: this is the perfect time for them to start talking. As soon as the lights go out, kids will always start to talk. Why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO GO TO SLEEP. You know how when you pick them up from school and ask them how their day was, they have nothing to say? They don’t talk because they are tired. But nighttime is when they DON’T want to go to sleep so they will tell you everything you ever wanted to know. This is a wonderful time to connect. These conversations often times bring about many teachable moments. Seize these opportunities. Open a judgment free zone and listen intently. Gently guide them with your input.
No more talking: lay quietly for just a few minutes. Let them feel the security of you with them and then leave before they fall asleep.