Looking back, in our family the annual Christmas wish lists would build relationships. Each year, every single member of the family made Christmas wish lists of what we wanted. This included adults handing their wish lists to kids. Then with the consultation of someone older, even an 8 year old could figure out what they could afford to give as a gift – be it a lovely shade of nail polish for an aunt, or going “halfsies” on a tin of Sail pipe tobacco for Grandpa.

Occasionally, an adult would dismiss our requests. For years, I asked for a fountain pen and every year my grandmother would give me a nice ball point pen saying “You wrote you wanted a fountain pen, but I thought why would anyone want something that old-fashioned? So I got you a nice, modern ball point pen.”

…you know it only just this moment occurred to me that perhaps my mother intervened with the caution that an 8-year-old – or even a 12-year-old because I kept asking! – with a bottle of permanent ink was not such a good idea.

What was cool about these wish lists, is they became a kind of tangible evaluation of the year and the person for whom you shopped for gifts. My grandfather’s tastes were simple – good pipe tobacco, Scotch, and a good adventure novel were what gave him contentment. I perceived him through our relationship and part of our relationship was giving him the gifts he truly wanted.

This week between Solstice/Christmas and New Year’s Day is traditionally a kind of “time out”. A time to assess the preceding year by releasing regrets and acknowledging growth, success, and deepening relationships. Even as a child, I felt a sweet silence on January 1st. While my brothers and my father watched football, I went off and treasured my Christmas gifts which always included some kind of diary or journal. The first entry was always a list of my gifts, who gave them to me, and the Thank You notes I would write.

Kind of a simple way to incorporate the cycle of acceptance, release, and gratitude!

Relationships are built and deepened – or lost – through every act we share, every thought we think, and every intention we make. Which is why this article in Psychology Today jumped out at me.

The title – “The Relational Work of Children’s Bedtime Routines” says it all and it is well worth a read.

We know consistent bedtime routines encourage better sleep, foster a respect for sleep that continues throughout one’s life, and brings with it a whole cartload of other benefits. But did we ever count how that bedtime routine nurtures our family relationships?

I can’t express this as well as the article, so here’s the link again. The bedtime routine is like a nutrient dense veggie!

There are two highly significant take-aways in this article. The first is that setting the intention for a beautiful, caring bedtime routine calms the caregiver as well as the child. Regular routines decrease stress for the caregiver as well as for the child in their care.

The second is the importance of reviewing the day. Now what’s quickening to me, is that every Sleepytime Club bedtime kit has this folded into the bedtime routine. It’s called “Put the Day to Bed”. “Put the Day to Bed” includes relaxation techniques as well as a review of the day. It also includes some mindfulness practices such as noticing our extreme emotions pass away.

When caregivers read “Put the Day to Bed” to a child, they can pause and listen. When the Sleepytime Club playlist is left behind, the child listens to all the stories – including “Put the Day to Bed” – and can go through the relaxation process. That is, providing the child is still awake! Each bedtime routine playlist is 20 minutes long – the average time it takes for someone to fall asleep and “Put the Day to Bed” is at the end.

Come join Sleepytime Club here and get a monthly bedtime routine that makes that bedtime routine “nutrient dense” without you having to work…so you can just “be”.

And get the free Bedtime Blueprint which helps you organize your days for peaceful nights. It tells you everything you need to schedule – like when to cut out caffeine and screen time, and when to start that delicious tuck-in time.