3 reasons why we still tuck in our adolescents

we still tuck in our kids.

it's just that the tucking looks a little different these days.

if bedtime routine was important to us when trying to sleep train them as toddlers,

it's equally important to them in their school years.

here's how and why we still tuck in our kids:

1. it's that one-on-one or two-on-one they crave. 

okay. okay. so they're not begging us for this nightly attention, but we know they want it! because they squeeze the mess out of the time when we are by their beds. for a while we did family time together, but realized they weren't getting the individual attention they needed at the end of the day. by the time we've had dinner as a family and have been in multiple conversations through the day in carlines and traffic and over afternoon snacks and homework, they're looking forward to one on one time with us. sometimes it's both of us parents with one child at a time. sometimes ben and i are fist bumping as we move from kid to kid.

 

 2.  we tuck in according to their needs.

some want more of our presence than others at this stage of life. some want to talk things out and some are saving the best for last. in other words, it's when they get quiet and still that they want to talk about friendships or the bully at school or deep thoughts about toenails.

our middle schooler. we remind him of truths. that he is loved. that we are for him. that God has a purpose for his life and He sees him and wants to be his guide and friend. we ask him about his day and his relationships. we try to be still and listen to his few, yet important words.

our girl. we receive the lightest kisses to our cheeks and arms around our necks. we pray with her that she will have sweet dreams and that whatever is pure, excellent, praiseworthy, lovely, she would think about such things. {Philippians 4.8}

our ten year old. though he's laying down, we're cheering him on. we tell him that he's got what it takes and that we believe in him. we pray specifically for friendships and for what's happening in our world. because this stuff matters to him.

our youngest. gosh. this kid simply requires hugs and back scratches and nearness. he could care less what we say to him, only to receive physical touch.

 

3.  we tuck in according to their age.

lights out is determined by their age. they're pretty much in bed around the same time, assuming homework is completed. but lights out depends on their age. our 3rd and 4th graders can barely keep their eyes open, but if they can, we let them read for 20 minutes. our 5th and 7th graders relish this down time with a good book and read for 30-45 minutes.

you've asked me before when are their bedtimes. sunday through thursday,  it's 730 pm. lights out at 8 for the younger two and 830 for the older two.

years ago when they started school and were required to read 20 minutes a day, we started to put them to bed early so they could read. it was a psychological win! we put them to bed early. they got to stay up later! so they thought! and now it's just normal. and it works the same for us as parents. we get that down time away from screens and devices and relax our minds and bodies with a good read.

this time they have in their beds to read gives me and ben plenty of time to go bed to bed and tuck them in. sometimes we're turning their lights out. other times they're eyeing their clocks and know when it's lights out.

but we've already established at a young school age that bedtime routine is sacred and it's personal. lights out varies with age, but all of our bodies are grateful the next morning that we were still and relaxed at the end of a busy day.

 

BONUS:  because outside of Jesus, we want to be their biggest fans.

and if we're not looking them in the eye, telling them truths, and cherishing that moment before they drift off to sleep, we're letting the rest of the world they encountered that day be the biggest voice and the strongest influence in their lives. so it's with an 'i love you', a kiss, a hug, a prayer or a song {and always a back scratch for a certain few} that we tuck our kids in at night.

 

i'm not crazy to write and tell you that it will still look like this when they're 14, 15, 16, and 18. cribs have turned into bunk beds and conversations have gone from simple to complex. but one thing hasn't changed. snuggled under their covers, we are the last ones they look at before they go to sleep. and the days left of doing so are growing fewer and fewer. so i'm gonna make a crazy prediction that this will continue until they leave the house.

 

like robert munsch writes in "love you forever," 

i'll love you forever,

i'll like you for always,

as long as i'm living,

my baby you'll be.