How to Nurture Your Child’s Faith Through Bedtime Rituals

It’s the end of the day, and everyone is tired. I have been tempted many times to send the kids to bed on their own and just be done with the day. However, research shows that bedtime is a crucial connection time for children and Christian families. It is one of the times specified in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 that we are called to disciple our children. Let’s look at a few ways we can nurture our children’s faith through bedtime rituals and routines.

Power of Rituals and Routines

Bedtime, darkness, and the separation from parents can all be scary for children. Anxiety and fear also make sleep difficult, increasing the stress of bedtime. This makes bedtime an important time for parents to help their children feel connected and safe.

We can assure our children that God is with them, but young children are very concrete thinkers, and sometimes, the truth of God’s presence can feel abstract to them. Rituals and routines can provide the comfort and safety that children so desperately need to get a good night’s sleep.

Other Benefits of Rituals

Rituals are also wonderful for nurturing faith. They build a sense of belonging, which is vital for children to continue in their faith after leaving home.

The repetition of rituals also builds neural pathways in our brains. This helps it become natural to practice habits that we know to be important for our bodies and faith.

For example, if we practice gratitude every night with our children, it becomes easier for them to see things for which they are grateful. Then, when days are hard, gratitude will come more naturally and help to remind them of God’s goodness.

Ideas for Bedtime Rituals

Every family needs to create its own bedtime rituals. There is no one-size-fits-all bedtime routine that will help all children feel safe, loved, peaceful and connected. You may even need to adjust for each of your children.

Here are some ideas for nurturing faith at bedtime. Don’t feel pressured to use them all. Add your own ideas, experiment, and see what works best for your family.


The Examen is an ancient practice you can use with children to help them reflect on their day and God’s presence. It can be as simple as talking about their highs and lows and then praying with those in mind.

By doing this consistently, we help children begin to connect God and His work to their daily lives. They can learn to see God in the good, the beautiful and the kind and grow to feel his presence in the hard and hurts.

Praying Scripture

There are so many short and sweet scriptures about sleep, peace and safety that we can pray with our children at bedtime. One of my favorites is Psalm 3:5 (ICB), “I can lie down and go to sleep. And I will wake up again because the Lord protects me.”

Kayla Alonso of shares 10 other simple scriptures to pray with your child at bedtime. They are easy for children to memorize and use by themselves when they wake in the night or after you have left the room.


One of the easiest yet most impactful rituals I have tried is the simple bedtime blessing. Christie Thomas of Little Shoots, Deep Roots introduced a bedtime blessing ritual to me several years ago.

This is similar to praying scripture, but the blessing doesn’t need to be about sleep. You could even let your child decide what verse you will bless them with.

Christie suggested an easy way to do this is to write a verse on an index card and tape it to the headboard of your child’s bed. The card will serve as a reminder to do it, and you can read the verse until you have learned it.


Practicing gratitude with your children as a bedtime ritual has several benefits. First, it helps us look at God and recognize His blessings in our lives.

Second, consistently practicing gratitude is wonderful for our mental health. It lowers anxiety and fosters peace, both of which will help your children sleep well through the night.

Finally, gratitude grows our faith. As we begin to see what God has done, we will be able to trust Him to keep His promises in the future.

Books and Stories

Bedtime stories are classic. This is a great time to read the Bible with your kids, whether from full-text Bibles or your favorite storybook Bibles. You can choose your favorite stories to read or let the kids choose theirs.

But you don’t have to read just Bible stories at bedtime to nurture your kids’ faith. Looking for Christian themes of beauty, goodness, kindness and love in your children’s favorite picture books can be helpful. It allows your children to learn that God and faith are not limited to the Bible; He is omnipresent.

Song or Lullaby

Most nights, my girls fall asleep to worship music. Music can be soothing and create a calming environment for drifting off to sleep. Sometimes, I sing, and sometimes, we listen.

I love the connections my girls have formed from these worship songs and peace. They have learned to recognize the songs and breathe deeply. It builds in them the ideas of worshiping God and being in His presence as a tool for anxiety and fear.

Who Loves You Game

You may not have heard of this one! It’s the “Who Loves You?” game. I love to play this when my kids are feeling discouraged, and it also brings peace and joy to bedtime.

You simply ask your child, “Who loves you?” Then you listen. If they stop, you might add, “Who else?” Or you can inquire, “How do you know?”

My girls play it enough that they always say, Jesus or God. If your children don’t volunteer God as an answer, you can say something like, “And do you know Who loves you more than anyone else in the entire world? Even more than mommy and daddy?”

This is just a simple, playful way to build their identity as being loved and delighted. Experiencing that will help soothe fears and anxieties while preparing your child for a night of sleep.

It’s Not About Perfection

Bedtime rituals do not need to be perfect to be impactful. If you plan out the perfect routine and jump in full force today, it may last only a short time. I suggest adding or changing one thing at a time. Once that becomes easy, you can choose to add or change something else.

Keeping it simple and doable will help you maintain the ritual more consistently. Then, when you come home late and need to shorten the routine, it won’t be as hard to jump back in fully the next day.

The best bedtime rituals are the ones that work to bring joy, peace, and connection to your night.

Share this post:

Sign up for Parenting updates!

Get weekly updates from Family Christian on all things Parenting!

Additional Parenting Articles