First published 8/24/17
Morning send-offs and bedtime rituals are two of the most critical times in your child’s day. This new school year is a perfect time to establish positive Send off and Seal rituals with your child so they feel loved as they begin and end their day.
Send-Off with Love
Every child has an emotional love tank, and sending him off in the morning feeling loved should be every parent’s goal.
Only the child who feels genuinely loved and cared for can do her best. ~Chapman & Campbell
What positive rituals can you introduce to set the tone for you and your child’s day?
1. Avoid Morning Chaos by Preparing Ahead.
Mornings tend to be rushed. Use this simple checklist to help ease chaotic send-offs by preparing the evening before:
- Have easy breakfast items available
- Pack school lunches after dinner
- Select and lay out clothes to wear
- Have backpack ready and packed: books, assignments, papers
- Make sure shoes and jackets are in sight and ready to slip on
2. Be Consistent.
Consistency is important. Model and team with your children the routine you want to set in place.
What do you do if your child refuses to cooperate?
Follow the actions reap consequences rule.
As a military family living in Italy, our daughter attended the Italian elementary school. The scuola bus picked her up every morning at 8:20 a.m.
Many mornings, Lucio, the bus driver, impatiently beeped his horn. No amount of cajoling or rushing would motivate our third-grader to be ready in time.
One morning I waved for him to leave without our daughter. It was time to enforce the consequence her action had caused. She had been warned over and over.
Walking to school was the consequence.
I helped her strap her Italian backpack–laden with books– over her pink grembiule, and watched her walk down the street. Tearfully, I followed her in the car the long distance to her school. With only a block left to go, I caved in and transported her the rest of the way.
Being consistent isn’t for the fainthearted.
Our daughter learned there were consequences to her actions. Lesson learned. Lucio never had to wait on her again!
3. Send-off with Prayer.
Send off your children by praying over them and their day. Recite a scripture together.
Our two children still remember this send-off ritual. Even if it happened in the car on the way to school, that counts! A few of our favorite scriptures to pray were Psalm 91, Psalm 23, 2 Timothy 1:7, Ephesians. 3:20.
Send off with a hug, a kiss and“I love you!”
Seal the Day
Your kids may have outgrown the “Goodnight Moon” ritual and bedtime stories, but night-time rituals are still important to them.
One of the values of bedtime rituals is that they create a bond between children and parents. Such rituals also facilitate better sleep. They provide a sense of security and love, and these must surely be the greatest sedatives of all. ~ Archibald Hart
Big kids also thrive on meaningful rituals that mark the end of the day, says sleep specialist Kathy Burklow, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
While it may be tempting to give your school-age child more responsibility in getting himself to sleep, he still very much needs your guidance to guarantee he gets the rest he needs. The world is too tempting, and five- or even ten-year-olds simply don’t have the maturity to say no to one more phone call to a friend or one more level on a video game. ~ Burklow
Let your ritual evolve as your children grow up.
There will come a time when your children will feel that they are too old for a bedtime routine. Be respectful of their wishes, but make sure that you still make time for a moment of connection as they go to bed. You might provide a last snack and hang around in the kitchen for conversation. It’s amazing how profound those talks can be. Otherwise a hug and word of affirmation as your older child goes off to bed can provide a much-needed moment together. ~ Sharon Harding
We want our children to leave in the morning feeling loved, and tucked in at the end of the day feeling secure.
I think we all want the same.
I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love! ~ God