When I was a little girl, my Dad created a musical bedtime routine for us. We read books and sang songs together. They were simple songs like "Jesus Loves Me", "Away in a Manger", "Bye Bye a Bye Bye", and "Taps".
”Taps” has a special place in my heart. My Dad is a musical guy and he taught me a simple harmony part on the last phrase of the song, “God is nigh”. I thought it was so beautiful and I LOVED singing it with him. (And it started me very early on singing in harmonies, which I consider my superpower today 😊)
My Dad was a doctor and he had a busy schedule. He wasn't always home at bedtime, but when he was, we had this ritual and I always looked forward to it. It helped us to bond and connect, even if it was just for a few minutes.
SOON YOU’LL BE TOO OLD
As I got older my Dad would say to me, "Soon you won't want to sing with me any more. You'll be too old and you won't think it's cool." But I never felt like that. Even as a teenager I loved having those few moments all to myself with my Dad.
Reflecting on this special ritual, I get so emotional. My eyes are welling up with tears as I type this! It showed me I was loved. It made me feel special.
CONTINUING THE RITUAL
When I became a mother, you guessed it - I sang songs to my boys at bedtime. I sang Taps and other calm, loving songs I learned as a child.
YOU ARE AMAZING
My self love journey started when I became a mother, and when my boys were 2 and 4, I wrote "You Are Amazing". It started out as a list of affirmations from A-Z I wanted my boys to remember, but as I said it to them at night, it turned into a song. I sang it to my boys every night for quite a while. It was a beautiful ritual that helped my boys know exactly how I feel about them. And BONUS! The second verse of the song, when the "You are" affirmations turn into "I am" affirmations, it helped me connect with myself. Even if bedtime started out in a crazy way, it ended with a lot of love.
I received this feedback a few years ago from a mother in the United States:
"My family and I have been through a lot in the last 12 months, and my oldest son has been lashing out, angry and hurting. I found your song "You Are Amazing" and now, as part of our nightly routine, we sing it together. These lyrics were the words I desperately needed to find when "I love you, Mommy is just stressed out" can't be understood. His heart is healing. Thank you." - Sophia Angell
It made me so happy to know my song was helping other families connect too.
WE DON'T SING ANYMORE!
As my kids got older we stopped singing songs. They now prefer that I read stories to them. I share this because there are many ways we can connect and bond with our children before bedtime. It doesn't have to be a musical routine. But if you've never tried it, I recommend it! I might even start it up again with my boys.
Tips for a musical bedtime routine:
-pick a few calm songs you and your children enjoy
-sing them with your kids as they're laying down in their beds
-if you're not comfortable with singing, just press play and listen to them together
-need some calm, connection songs? There are 25+ in the "Songs for bonding with your child" Spotify playlist, including "Bye Bye a Bye Bye", "Taps", and "You Are Amazing", which you can access for free here:
What kind of bedtime routine do you have, or did you have, with your kids?