As parents, following Jesus often looks like stumbling in the right direction. Well, except during bedtime routines. At that time, it can look more like falling flat on our faces. We’re tired and all we want is for our kids to go to sleep so we can spend some grown-up time with our spouse (or maybe even some alone time). Unfortunately, all our kids want to do is to stay awake for as long as possible. The situation escalates to crying, yelling, and pleading—and that’s just from the parents.
We know how important both sleep is for kids and daily one-on-one time is for parents. So, we wanted to share a tip that may work for your family: The Bedtime Pass.
Recent research shows that “the bedtime pass” may help reduce (and even eliminate) bedtime stress. In fact, it nearly eliminated the crying and leaving the bedroom for children ages 3-10 who participated in the study.
Plus, we’ve tried it in the real world and know it really does work with young children.
How The Bedtime Pass Works:
At bedtime, give your child an index card with “Bedtime Pass” written on it or use one of the Family Christian Bedtime Pass printables.
Tell your child that the pass can be used one time each night to leave the bedroom, whether it’s to go to the bathroom, get another hug, or ask a random question. One time. That’s it. After the pass is used for the night, the child may not leave the bedroom.
Commit to the Bedtime Pass for a couple of weeks. Be consistent and plan on your child to test the boundaries, especially as you establish how the pass works. Children can be especially skilled at pulling on the heartstrings. When we first used this pass with our then-preschool-aged daughters, they both tried getting out of their room AFTER already using their pass by saying things like this:
- But, mommy, I forgot to pray for Granddaddy and Gargar.
- Mommy, I need you to put on some quiet worship music. It helps me fall asleep thinking about Jesus.
- Daddy, I didn’t see you enough today. I need more snuggles.
Variation idea: For older children, consider a special Bedtime pass that gives children an extra 30 minutes to hang out alone with mom or dad. This pass can be used once a week (or month) depending on what works for your family.
A Word of Encouragement
As parents, we don’t always know the right answers, make the best choices, or respond to our children with endless grace, mercy, or love. But, to parent God’s way means to stumble towards Jesus and to look towards Him for guidance.
So as part of your nighttime routine with your spouse (or that extra alone time you’ll get thanks to the Bedtime Pass), spend time with the Lord. Read the Bible. Talk to Him. Worship Him. Make Him a part of your everyday routine, because you can be assured that you are already part of His.