Putting my children to bed is my favorite time of the day! I have a 2 year old and 4 year old and life can be so busy and nonstop. Sometimes the end of the day is the only time I have one-on-one quiet time with each child. As a Catholic mom and previous Early Childhood teacher, I know the importance of reading and the importance of teaching our faith to our children. That is why I wrote the book Goodnight, Jesus, published by EWTN and Sophia Institute Press, to help create a simple and beautiful story that can be used in your night-time routine! Goodnight, Jesus and our nighttime routine includes 3 simple steps: reading, prayer and gratitude.
Read Catholic Books
Getting your children involved in the nighttime routine really helps in our household. Toddlers love to be in control and letting them have choices along the way is such a big part of making this work in our home. I have always read to my children since they were in the womb. First this is just the comforting sound of Mom or Dad’s voice, then this turns into them associating pictures and words with meaning, then reading themselves. Filling your home with Catholic children’s books is the first step of our night-time routine. We read 2-3 books a night with our children. At first, I would pick the stories, now that they are growing and forming their own opinions, they like to choose their books for the night. Reading is a great way to teach about our Faith and having a library filled with Catholic literature is a great way to do that!
Pray With Your Family
After reading with my children, we pray together. For my family, we start off our nightly prayers by reciting the Our Father. My children are young and have short attention spans, so I meet them where they are at developmentally and keep it simple. I know this will lead to us saying the rosary together, but we started with just simply saying the Our Father. The Our Father is also the last page in Goodnight, Jesus! I wanted to end on that prayer to put emphasis on it and show the importance of it. The most important thing in my life is my relationship with our Lord and ending with the Our Father helps showcase that.
Thank God For The Day And Your Blessings
After our traditional prayer, we do a simple prayer of thanking God for our day. I am a big believer in gratitude and being thankful for people, places, and things in our lives. As an adult, I even write gratitude lists when I am having a tough day to help me see the bigger picture: that my life is SO beautiful despite any tough moment or the little bumps along the way. I really want to instill that grateful heart onto my children. After we thank God for our day, my children love to list off all the things they are grateful for: Their toys, their teacher, their next-door neighbor Sarah Jane, and anything else they can think of from their day. It is such a special way to end our nighttime routine after reading and prayer!
Keep Jesus As Your Focus At Bedtime
Keeping this three-step routine of reading, prayer, and thanking God for our blessings at the end of every night is how I keep Jesus the focus at bedtime. These three simple action items end up having a bigger impact on my children. Reading is setting up my children for success by fostering a love for reading and education. Praying every night, and all throughout the day, is showing them that they can lean on God, Jesus, Mary, and the Saints, through everything that life throws at them. Gratitude helps remind us that God’s goodness can be in everything we do, even in the small mundane aspects of life! My hope is that Goodnight, Jesus can be the start of a beautiful and comforting nighttime routine.