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Nighttime Routines

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How can you make bedtime a more peaceful event? Establish nighttime routines for your kids that will help them to transition from busy days to restful nights.

Here are some routines to help kids transition from busy days to restful nights:

Putting Binky to Bed

I wanted to encourage my 2-year-old son to become less dependent on his pacifier at night. After providing him with a small box, crayons and stickers, I explained that we were decorating a bed for his pacifier. At bedtime, he placed the pacifier in its new bed, covered it up with a little blanket (a scrap of cloth) and said good night. Although he cried for an hour the first night, by the second night he only cried for 15 minutes — and by the third night he was over his nighttime dependency.

—Suzannah Kiper

Dry-Hair Prayers

My 6-year-old daughter’s long hair was beautiful, but it took a long time to dry after a bath. So I asked her to pray with me while we dried her hair. She agreed. We named the people we thought needed help and prayed for each one. Soon it became our hair-drying ritual.

—Claire McGarry

Bible Story Mix-Ups

Rainy days and bedtimes are great opportunities for telling Bible stories to our kids. As my children got older, I often told the stories incorrectly on purpose, just to test their knowledge. How they loved correcting me! Then we would tell the true version of the story together. Doing this was fun, and it helped my kids review their Bible knowledge.

—May Patterson

Bedtime Walkie-Talkies

Listening is an important communication skill to foster in children. So on the weekends when my kids crawl into bed, we all turn on walkie-talkies in our separate rooms, and the kids take turns talking about their week. The walkie-talkies don’t let anyone interrupt while someone is talking, and everyone has to listen until a person is done. My kids know they have everyone’s attention. I listen to them, and they listen to each other.

—Jared Hottenstein

Nighttime Comfort

You can use glow-in-the-dark duct tape to make a cross on the wall in your children’s bedrooms. Kids love seeing this reassuring symbol of God’s love glowing in the dark as they go to sleep at night.

—Kim Decker

Routines

Most three- and four-year-olds will sleep about twelve hours each night. A daytime nap may continue to be part of your child’s routine, but don’t be surprised when it is phased out during the next several months.

Remember that bedtime should be early because your child needs the sleep and you need time with other children, your spouse, or yourself. During the middle of summer, this can be a challenge. The sun may still be shining, and all sorts of activity may still be going on outside at what is normally bedtime.

You will need to decide how much to bend your routines to match the seasons, or perhaps invest in heavy window shades if you need to darken your child’s room at this time of year. You may also need to exercise sensible flexibility to accommodate family work schedules.

The activities that surround getting tucked in should become a familiar and quieting routine. At this age, bedtime can be a delightful, enlightening experience. You can introduce your child to some wonderful stories, including books with several chapters that can create eager anticipation for the next night’s installment. Your child’s desire to keep the lights on and you in the room as long as possible will usually cause her to be remarkably transparent and receptive.

Expect to hear some of her private thoughts (“I think I know what Buster is saying when he barks . . .”) or to tackle some riddles of the universe (“Where is heaven?”). Without being manipulated too much, allow enough slack in your day so you can relax during these wide-eyed sessions.

You will probably have many more opportunities at bedtime to talk about God and the values you care about than during family devotions or even at church, Sunday school, or other formal religious teaching sessions.

—The Complete Guide to Baby and Child Care

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There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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