As a parent I have a love/hate relationship with bedtime. At the end of some days I am counting down the time until the kids are asleep. After all it’s then that I have a chance to be still, catch up on chores, eat, watch TV, spend time with my husband, the list goes on (and often unfinished). There are times I have a laundry list of items on my to do list that creates anxiety around bedtime, the list building up and my worry about how I will get it all done grows. Particularly in those moments I am more short tempered and less patient. Not the ideal mom I want to be.
I much prefer my calm, patient, it can wait mom moments. The fun mom who gets to not worry about the laundry and fully engage in play time before bed. There are those nights when I don’t want the kids asleep. After all, I am back to work and don’t get to see them nearly as often as I would like. Cue the working mom guilt.
It is in the moments I am laying down in bed with my son that I get that recharge button, that flutter of my heart, a heart that grows bigger and bigger with love for him. I could have had a bad day, I could have been frustrated and yelled at him tonight, or rushed home from working late in hopes to catch him before he falls asleep. I live for those snuggles and kisses.
The room still and quiet, then a “Mama I love you”. Or maybe “Mama I had fun playing cars with you today”.
It’s actually at bedtime as the toys are put away, the lights low, that I’ve found some of the best, most meaningful conversations with my 4 year old. I get that glimpse inside his mind. I find out about his day. I love to hear about the things that have imprinted in his mind. I started with prompting, using open ended questions. This facilitates the conversation to be semi-guided but open to what he is thinking or feeling. Here are some of my favorite toddler pillow talk conversation starters:
- What was the best part of your day?
- What was your favorite thing that you did today?
- What is something you learned today?
- What is something that made you feel happy today?
- What is something that made you smile today?
- What is something that made you feel sad today?
- What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
Now that my son is used to my asking and prompting he will start the conversations on his own. He will even ask me how my day was or how work was. It melts my heart to hear him learn to reciprocate. While every night is not the same, and we don’t always get the chance to have our pillow talk, I look forward to the nights we do get to chat. As we snuggle up and say our goodnights I am sure to tell him I love him. Some nights I lay next to him a little while longer, with a smile on my face from the things he’s told me that day. I take advantage of the snuggle time as I know one day he will outgrow it, he won’t always want me to lay with him and put him to sleep. I quietly sneak away being sure not to wake him. Because as much as I loved our pillow talk…mama also likes the silence of a sleeping child. Time for “mama time”.
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