Over the course of 11 years we finally settled into a more consistent family nightly routine. It’s one we tried, failed, retried, and finally gelled into a workable routine for our family.
About an hour before bedtime, we have the children get changed into their PJ’s and have their teeth brushed. We then start our nightly routine of Bible recitation by the children per our newly instituted speech practice. After giving some feedback of each reading, we may discuss a little of the specific Bible passage the child just read.
After the reading, we listen to a story, either from an audio book or a book read by my husband. Currently we are listening to The Swiss Family Robinson audio book. During this time we just sit in the family room and listen and relax. The children are typically drawing, crocheting, playing with their toys, or doing other quiet activities in the meantime.
We then transition to a time of prayer. We share prayer requests and count our blessings, and after which we inquire if anyone wants to pray for a specific prayer request. Typically everyone except the toddler prays, and we end with daddy’s final prayer. The prayer time is my personal favorite time. I love the fact that prayers from the children are very simple. As sure as the sun rises, you can count on our four-year-old pray this prayer each night: “Dear God, help us to have good sleep.” I just never get tired of this same prayer. As adults we think we can somehow please God more by sprucing up our prayers, especially with fancy words or long and complicated sentences. As I dwell on this, I think God is very much please with simple prayers, especially from little children. I’m encouraged by my children’s simple prayers and I believe God hears and accepts them.
Finally we give hugs and kisses and the kids go to sleep happily ever after. Well, no, almost never. They like to stay up just a little so they plead. Often we find them chatting or singing amongst themselves in the dark. More recently we caught one or two children reading secretly with a flashlight. Unbeknown to us, the children have a secret stash of books in their beds, accompanied by a small flashlight. Their antics never fail to crack me up.