Is bedtime at your house like it is at mine: challenging? You would think that kids would wind down at the end of the day, but if you are a parent of young children, you know that it’s quite the contrary. They seem bent on using up every last bit of energy before they lay down to recharge. Not an easy scenario when everything in you is calling, “Let’s be DONE.”
What a great assurance (and convicting truth) to know that our Heavenly Father has never had that thought with us. Psalm 52:1 reminds us that, “The steadfast love of the Lord endures all the day.” Truths like that give us the perspective we need to do all things well, things like putting kids to bed. “Let’s be done” will keep us from making the most of the time.
So how do we make the most of this time? Here are some suggestions from the Simons playbook:
- Work with them. Take a few moments to tidy up with your kids. There are a couple lessons to teach here. By helping them you show them servant leadership. As much as we would like to say, “clean your room” and have it perfectly done, there is a path to getting the that point and it involves our modeling it for them. The second lesson is simply teaching them to love a clean space. It is a good feeling to go to bed with things picked up (and even better to wake that way!).
- Talk to them. While cleaning, you have a perfect opportunity to ask about their day. Open ended questions (like How was your day?) won’t get you very far. Narrow it down. What was the best thing about this day? What would you change about this day if you could? What is something you learned today? The goal in this is not just to know about what’s going on in their lives, but also to help them know that they can always tell dad what’s on their heart.
- Read to them. What other time of the day do we have when we can experience a story together. Well-chosen stories can give you excellent opportunities to discuss Biblical truths with your kids in the most natural way. I have often found these stories a reference point when disciplining them during the day. The Chronicles of Narnia are replete with examples of how sin destroys and virtue builds up. Read along side of Biblical stories literature has the potential to anchor their hearts to truth like few other activities.
- Pray with them. There is no more fitting response to the day’s lessons and challenges than to take them to our Heavenly Father. Prayer is faith’s most important exercise. It leaves a deep impression when a child sees dad carrying the family’s burdens to the One who is big enough to truly bear them.
The time we have with our kids is short, and it just might be things like a bedtime routine that leave life’s most indelible and thereby most important marks. If you don’t have a schedule that allows you to capitalize on bedtime, don’t despair. You can do these same things at other times of the day. The important thing is not to miss any times to invest in the things that are most important.