Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do You Tuck Your Kids Into Bed at Night?



What do you think is the cut-off-age for ‘tucking in’? 

8? 9? 10? 

Is 15 too old to be ‘tucked in’? 

Well, first let me ask how many years have you been doing it? 

How long have your children been getting that last kiss and hug from you before bed? 

You might judge that your child doesn’t need, or want, to be tucked in and the complete opposite might be true.

If asked directly, they may not tell you the truth either. Many tweens and teens will become embarrassed, resisting immediately; claiming that they‘re completely uninterested in being ‘tucked in’ and that they are ‘too OLD’ for that!!

Well it’s fully possible that they're not too old and that they do want that last kiss. 

Many kids as they are growing up want independence- that's true. Your child might prefer her privacy as she goes to sleep listening to music. You may have a child who, at 15, talks on the phone until bed time, then gets her nighttime routine done, going to sleep on her own and requires no checking in with. You may have a child who watches T.V. before bed and who’s not even awake by the time you come by his doorway...

It’s probably nice to have some extra time to yourself (I know I like it) in the evening hours because your child is occupied with his/her TV, phone, computer, etc… and knows what to do.

I understand.

But with all of that being said, what they aren't telling you is that they still want to feel you love them and deep down inside still want to be ‘tucked in’. 

‘They’re too old’, you scoff. ‘They don’t want to be tucked in at night…they turn a cheek, they don’t even want me in their room! NO Way, that’s ridiculous!’

Okay, I understand that too. But, you know when adults go to sleep it’s always been said that it’s best to resolve issues, ‘don’t go to bed mad’, don’t go to bed stressed or worried because it will sabotage a fitful sleep...

Kids worry too, just like adults-sometimes more.

All kids still could benefit from a quick check-in; a warm and fuzzy ‘I love you’ or kiss on the head. Tussle their hair (against their will) if that's all you can get in. 

Tucking in doesn’t have to be outgrown and I believe it is an important part of creating a stable, consistent, loving environment at home.

Tucking your child in at night does several things: 
  1. It shows you aren’t too busy to make time for them.
  2. It offers a one to one, uninterrupted moment of private conversation.
  3. It makes your presence known (for those older ones who like privacy and secrets- hint-hint.)

I highly recommend doing it. But there’s a trick.
You might not want to be direct about it, because you may not get a good response. (Especially if you/they aren’t accustomed to doing it in the first place.)

1. Start by non-chalantly ‘checking in’ with your tween/teen every night about 15 minutes before their 'lights off' time.

2. The first five nights don't sit down. Make it extremely brief. "Goodnight kid, love ya."
3. The next night, my suggestion is to sit on a nearby chair or the edge of their bed. It’s much less intimidating to sit down than standing over them; less likely that they'll feel any pressure.Straighten a lump or ruffle in the blanket, it will buy you a second or two so that you can say something like (pick one):
  • ‘Getting ready for bed?’
  •  ‘Everything going good? In-’ (You can end the sentence by inserting: group/club/school activity.)
  •  ‘Thanks for your help today with-'
  •  ‘I’m really proud of you for (insert accomplishment or good choice/behavior)'. (This could even be a simple choice your child made today which was the right one).
BEWARE: If you and your child do not do the bedtime routine currently, this is going to feel weird. But, I promise, it will get easier and the payoffs will be beyond your expectations.

TRUTH:
1. They will look at you WEIRD.
2. They won't say much at all the first few times (the older they are, the less apt they are to spill).
3. This works...

Just don’t expect miracles the first three or four times that you do this. They will be baffled for sure, so give them time to get comfortable with you doing this. Key word: Trust.

When they do finally adjust to you doing this, they will know that they will be able to look forward to that quiet moment every night when they’re sure you won’t be distracted by work, mail, TV, computer, phone, their siblings, etc., and if they need to talk, they will know that you (and they) have that time to do so. Key Action: consistency.

Kids are always concerned about something and more times than not, 
they aren’t going to tell you OR show it. 

Another tip:
Darkness allows pre-teens/teens to feel more comfortable and allows their emotions/words to come out a little easier I think. Rather than direct light with ultra piercing-parental-eyes staring at them (judging or swaying them).

They tend to get shy, embarrassed, bashful and self conscious in these years, but are still children and are concerned about disappointing and worrying a parent. If they cannot see your facial reaction and you cannot glare at them (wink-wink) it just might work out better. Take them out of the spotlight-keep lights low or switch them off and leave a hallway light on.

You might think your budding adult doesn't need you, or want you.

You might be wrong.

Tuck them in and see for yourself.

(And if you have kids who are growing up and you're considering stopping the 'tucking in' routine....Hold off. They may need you for a little bit longer (wink-wink).

Truly,
Amber

2 comments:

  1. My son had a bunk bed and i would put blanket around the top bunk making him a tent every night. I miss that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aww that is so cute:) Fun memories to cherish. They grow up so fast!

    ReplyDelete

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