Tucking Them In
I’ve read some blog posts about how parents have a cut off age for tucking their kids in at night. It always makes me sad because that is a ritual that I have always loved and kept going as long as I could make it last.
Tucking your kids in, no matter how old they are, gives you one more opportunity to connect, create memories, and communicate. Reading a story, saying prayers, and having a little chat are small things and yet they can make a huge difference in your relationship with your kids.
I find that my kids have always been a bit chatty at night. I think that, for the little ones, it is a way for them to kick bedtime back just a few minutes later and then it becomes a habit that they carry into their teens.
When they are little, I take some time to lie down with them and cuddle for a time after prayers. It gives me a rare moment to relax and it gives them a chance to have me all to themselves and talk about whatever they’d like to.
We’ve had some amazing conversations over the years which have included such diverse subjects as the existence of unicorns, why leaves are green, and exactly how the Book of Revelations will actually play out. I am often entertained, provoked to deeper thought on a subject, or taught something new, but I am never bored.
The older kids tend to come in and tuck me in because of their penchant for seeing the old day out and welcoming the new day in. I work odd hours but I can always expect a knock on the door as long as my light is shining out from underneath it. Whichever one it is will come in to sit on the bed, chat for a moment, and tell me goodnight.
Normally they relate something that has happened during the day that they think I will find interesting or funny but there are occasions that the chat turns into a deep discussion about their lives, fears, hopes, dreams, or problems. I enjoy tucking my grandkids in when I have the pleasure of them spending the night. Heck, I tuck my adult kids in when they are visiting!
There’s no way to put a price on that kind of communication.
So, when I read that parents are trying to decide when they should cut off the tucking in ritual, I shake my head. Oh, I realize just how rare those quiet moments are when the kids are finally in bed and the house stops vibrating from all of the chaos, but I also know that those moments are precious and once they are gone you don’t get them back.
Those times of lingering over your goodnights are foundations of communication that will last your lifetime. It’s just so much easier to develop strong lines of communication when they are toddlers than it is when they are adolescents.
You’ll have plenty of time to watch television or read a book in the evenings when they are older but you’ll never have these moments again.
Do you have a cut off age for tucking in your kids?
photo credit: Tracitod