People have asked me to share my bedtime routine with them. I have given it out a few times by email. I have decided to share it here as well. There are many reasons why I wanted to have a bedtime like this. To teach faith in God's love and promises, to encourage self worth and pass on our families Christian heritage.
I remember having nightmares, from the time I was a young child until I became a mom. Really vivd nightmares. In fact even after we were first married I would shoot up in terror while sleeping. When I was 25 I noticed that when I fell asleep after worship or study, it quieted that part of my life. I wanted to start my kids out with faith and not fear in their heads when things were dark.
I can recall bringing home my first sweet baby girl. From the time we brought her home at 3 days old, I felt a strong need to share Jesus and his love towards her with her. I wanted the knowledge that he loved her, uniquely designed and created her to be such a part of her life that it was like breathing. I would read her Bible stories, and being days old she would sleep. I felt stupid at first alone in a room singing and reading to a sleeping baby. I just felt doing it was more important than how silly I felt and it would be worth something even if she was not awake. It turns out I was right.
By the time she was one and talking she already had one important verse memorized. John 3:16 personalized. A sweet friend of mine, like a spiritual mother to me mailed it to her on a plate that still hangs in her room. I loved the idea. Every night I would say it to her. From the time she came home.I looked at it each night and realized saying it to her with her name in it was teaching her of his special love for her.
It is really easy to do. Just add your child's name into the verse. Like this:
For God so loved (child's name) he gave his one and only son Jesus so when (child's name) believes in Jesus she will not perish but have eternal life.
I have tried many different things. Since we moved here, the routine has remained the same other than adding in her brother and sister. At 8 months old V even knows the rhythm of the routine. So here goes...
When I was a teacher there was a song we sang every day with the kids in Chapel called you are special. We start each night with this song. It signals the beginning of bedtime. We sometimes do it even as we walk towards our beds. If you know me well this goes with out saying. I am not a big fan of Barney. He gets on my nerves, but in researching the origins of the song for this post I discovered my beloved song is an adaptation of this Barney song.
So moving on. I like to read a Bible story. It is my belief that it is my honor and responsibility to teach my kids about the Lord and his ways. In Deuteronomy 11:19 it says:Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. I try to do that, I try to weave bits of Him in all we do. I like to take this time to go a little more in depth. Here are some of my favorite Bibles I have used over the years with the kids.
My Good Night Bible - I was given this as a gift at my 1st baby shower. This was the first one I ever used. The one I read aloud to my sleeping firstborn. It is like a kids devotional book. I like how simple it is. Teaching Bible, words, concepts and the habit of prayer in a basic and short devo. I have also incorporated some of the songs from this book into their routine. The last song we sing each night is from this book.
See With Me Bible - One of my favorite all time Bibles for kids. Dennis Jones is one of my favorite Illustrators. My friend Kim and I used this bible as inspiration for the murals we painted in the classrooms at the church in school. I still use this each week when I teach Bible class and when I tell my kids Bible stories at home. It hardly has any words so you can tell the kids the stories from the pictures. It really helps it feel more natural when you translate the Bible into kid language.
Student Discovery Bible - As my daughter got older she was familiar with all of the Bible heroes stories. I started this one with her when we moved to Vienna. She was 4. This takes the stories deeper giving more historical details and info about where events took place etc...
All 3 of these at our house have been well loved and used, they all have broken bindings and a special place in our hearts.
Ater we read we sing the song I mentioned I learned in the Good Night Bible. It is called the Slumber Song and it goes to the tune of Jesus loves me.
Let's tuck you in, turn out the light-
now it's time to say "Good Night."
God is watching over you,
he keeps us save the whole night through.
God's love is near us,
God's love is near us,
God's love is near us,
sleep tight, (I insert 3 kisses per child here) We love you dear(s)
Then they run to their beds and I say a personalized goodnight to each one. Good Night sweet Precious, Good night sweet boy and Good Night sweet baby. In addition to this both of the older 2 have a favorite book about love. We say personal love remarks from those as well. I love you best starts the one for my oldest based on I Love You This Much book. For my little man it is I love you to the moon and back from the Guess How Much I Love You book. We will have to see what baby girl picks.
What are the things you do with your kids at bedtime? What are your favorite memories of bedtime as a child?
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