Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Bath and Bedtime for Children
The evening time of winding down from the flurry of the day’s bustle is what Victorian families called “The Children’s Hour.”
Begin the nighttime routine by having the children tidy up their toys and personal belongings. To make the job easier, have one large basket in the living room or playroom into which children can collect their toys quickly. In the morning, before play begins again, the basket can be emptied and the toys put away properly.
While the children are tidying up, draw a bath for them. It is fun to personalize a bath basket to suit the ages and personalities of each child. Today, you can find wonderful assortments of bath products. Let each child pick a favorite color and color-code towels and washcloths. If your chid has had a particularly stressful day, let her take her bath using a night light instead of overhead lighting.
Every parent knows that children adore water play, but not every bath has to be a “play” bath, especially on school nights.
When the children return to their rooms, they discover their curtains drawn, a soft light turned on and their pajamas waiting for them. After dressing for bed, help select what they will wear the next day and lay out their clothes for the morning. These well-spent few minutes at night make a considerable difference in the morning.
Now it is story time, a half hour until lights are out. If your children are young, read a variety of short picture books, but older children adore continuing sagas, and even tots as young as four will settle down to hear a chapter a night. This sharing of a longer story together, as it unfolds over many nights, can become a conversation topic and a wonderful bond between parent and child.
Then the storybook is closed for the night, prayers are heard, and little ones of all ages are tucked in and kissed good night. After the lights are turned out, it is a wonderful opportunity for heart-to-heart talks. At this special time, happy events of the day are recalled, secrets are shared, or a sympathetic word is offered.
Soon, one of the most blissful moments any parent experiences all day arrives. The children are asleep. Enjoy the stillness of the house with everyone safe and secure and count your blessings.
~Sarah Ban Breathnach's "Mrs. Sharp's Traditions."