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Welcome to my blog: Today's Lady Virtue. This site is for women--wives, mothers, singles, widows, family, friends, etc.! My heart is to share loving encouragement coupled with timeless truths from God's Word, the Bible, to enlighten, uplift, and empower women of today. At Today's Lady Virtue we're about "Reclaiming Virtuous Womanhood today the Time-tested Way!" Here you will find a variety of posts from poems, to "Put into Practice" principles, to pictures and more! I invite you to voyage with me on the quest to become Today's Lady Virtue.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What Makes our House a Home: Bedtime Fun and Prayers – Play then Pray

Since our boys were old enough to enjoy a good tickle, we’ve had an evening tradition I like to call “Bedtime Fun and Prayers: Play then Pray.” Daddy time with the kiddos. Vegetate in the chair time for me, although my role isn’t entirely passive. Sometimes my help is recruited when said children’s arms are raised high, “Put your hands over your head…” (Hear the rolling laughter. See the squirming bodies! Understand that laughter invites or rather begs for more tickling.) More hands = more tickled children.

Now, tickling most every night for a decade might get old, so, variety keeps bedtime play fun. Wrestling matches. Chase. Races upstairs while Daddy swats cushy tushies. Snail V. Sloth races across the living room. Impersonations. Child-directed and produced Bedtime Acts in full costume. Puzzle races. And others. How could I forget hide-and-go-seek (one of the current favorites)? Will Daddy’s all-time best hiding place go down in history? Only time will tell.

We don’t play then pray every night. Sometimes late night ball games or a disorganized schedule prevents the opportunity to play before we pray. Other times, we don’t feel like it—just being honest. For the most part, however, we do have an established bedtime routine that both our kids and my hubby and I anticipate. I believe my kids will recall bedtime playing then praying with fondness when they’re grown.

Here are some bedtime playing then praying helps my hubby and I have discovered:

1) Allow 10-15 minutes for bedtime playing and praying. What time do we want our kids IN THEIR BEDS? Subtract 10-15 minutes from that time, so we feel FREE to play before we pray. Note: This timing works for our family, but decide for yourself what works for yours. 

2) Playtime is OVER when Daddy says the word, “OK. It’s time to PRAY now.” That’s it. No more tickles, tackles, or anything in between.

3) Vary the fun. See above. I’d love to hear your ideas. Will you share them with me?

4) Guide children how to pray. When our kids were old enough to talk, we’d guide them through a very simple prayer. They’d repeat our words until they learned to say their own prayers. For our older children, we offer guidance when they get in a prayer rut—like when they quickly spout off a memorized prayer that requires little thought. Is there anything you can thank the Lord for tonight? Talk to Jesus about what you did today. Did you do anything wrong today that you need forgiveness for? What area of your life do you need help with—such as not lying, being more responsible, obeying the first time we command you, sharing with your brother, etc?

5) Define bedtime. Expectations. What time do the lights need to be out? The laundry list (water, bathroom, Band-Aids, book reading, medicine, special toy/blanket, “Tell me a Story…”, “Guess what…”, etc.) needs to be factored into our planning. Bottom line: kids need to be guided, so they know what’s expected of them. Even with guidance, however, still expect to be tested. Kids wonder, “Do I REALLY need to stay in my bed? Can I ask for just ONE MORE drink of water? What about another hug and kiss?” We, the PARENTS, must decide the bedtime parameters for our children—not them.

5) Shut the door and enjoy something “other.” Patience has a reset button, I think. It’s called, “Bedtime!” Once the kids are tucked in for the night, it’s Mommy and Daddy time. Enjoy something “other.” Read a book. Play a game. Social online media. Savor a soak in the tub. Give yourself a mani or pedi. Spend time with your hubby. Spend time in the word or pray. Relax and rejuvenate, for tomorrow will come soon.

Does your family have a bedtime routine?
Share your ideas and tips with us!

Visit my March Archives for other posts in this series: What Makes our House a Home.

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