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 June 10, 2012

Nightly Tuck-In

Plant seeds of empowerment

What it is

 

The time you spend kneeling by or sitting on your child's bed saying good night.  It's the opportunity to catch up on the day's highlights while distractions are few.  Lights out, TV off and your child is fed, warm, and comfortable. 

Why it's  Important

Some of the most revealing comments are made in the dark at the end of the day.  Subjects that might otherwise be a bit uncomfortable (embarrassing) for your child can be approached.  Questions about peers, sex, religion, the future, etc., come to the surface.  Now's your chance to plant long lasting seeds of empowerment and worth.  Your influence is powerful because your message lingers all night long.

The Problem

Busy schedules and exhaustion make it hard for parents to approach children without an agenda . . .

an agenda to go to bed themselves!

 

A dark and peaceful room can lull you to sleep or make you yearn for your pillow.  The desire to turn off your day might cause you to rush through the tuck-in. Rushing closes the space for your child to share something and can cut short the time needed to work up courage.

 The Tip

3 Questions

Question 1

 What was one good thing about today?

 

Question 2

 Considering all the things that you'll do tomorrow, what's one thing you want to go really well?

 

Question 3  What will you dream about tonight?

 

For 7 years, we've had the tuck-in ritual of 3 questions.  The questions haven't changed; only the bits leading up to the questions have changed.

 

When they were ages 6 and 8, I'd spend 20ish minutes reading to them before turning out the light for conversation.  After that--3 questions.  Gradually, reading became less and conversation became more, but always the same 3 questions:

 

Question 1:  What was one good thing about today?Shifting focus away from shortcomings and helping your child practice appreciation. It's surprising to hear how small make a difference.

 

  Oh and another thing . . .  This isn't about the best thing that happened; it's just one good thing.

 

Question 2:  Considering all the things that you'll do tomorrow, what's one thing you want to go really well?

A chance for your child to visualize success. Sometimes you'll hear worry and sometimes  excitement. 

 

  Oh and another thing . . .  Encourage your child to be fairly specific and help to hone in on a small aspect of something bigger.  Example: “I want math class to go well.” Ask, “What about math class?” Could be getting a nod of approval from the teacher.

Question 3:  What will you dream about tonight?

Closure on the day and the tuck-in.  Everyone knows that imagination rules during dream time so your child is free to risk wanting everything without fear of criticism or disappointment. 

 

  Oh and another thing . . .  To get out clean try, "Your dream sounds terrific. I'll leave you to it."

 Benefits!

Fast & Effective

A wind-down strategy signaling that the day is done and sleep is next.  Less hassles. 

Trust

You become a safe place to share the highs and lows.  

Non-invasive peek inside

Short, simple, open ended questions give a lot of bang for the buck.

Conversation Sometimes the trickiest part is finding the right question.
 Influence The last conscious message of the day is the one that lingers in the subconscious mind all night.  Here's your chance to slip in a doozie! 

 

Related Articles:  Communication Part 4 - Style, Value is in Real Time,

Related Tip of the Week:  Have Faith, Rush,

 

The first 40 are the hardest

Image from Parenting Extra's Pintrest Board, Funny Children

 

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