I’ve been struggling lately with bedtime for the 4 year old. Well, 4 and 5/6ths  actually. On the very tangible cusp of 5 and feeling it in a big, big way.

I was sharing that info with my dear friend and co-author, Kathie. We have been sharing parenting tales, ideas and inspirations for years. Who would know she had yet another trick up her sleeve. Here’s what she does…

At the end of the bedtime ritual, when the teeth have been brushed and the jammies on and the stories read, she dims the lights and sets her timer for 15 minutes. All is quiet. Kids are tucked and all the needs have been met (or denied!). She told her kids that she would stay in the room for that period as long as all was calm and quiet. While they drift off, she gets in her daily 15 minutes of meditation. Or breathing. Or stillness. Or whatever you want to call it. And it works. And everyone gets what they need.

She gets her time. They get her presence.

Before I extolled its virtues I decided to give it a try with my 4 almost 5 year old. We read our nightly story. Then his one last trip to the bathroom. Lights dimmed. Snuggle up. Kiss goodnight. Timer set. 15 minutes.

It worked. It works. It’s working. And I love it! Because before I would try to get those 15 minutes in at my own bedtime during which time I’d be really exhausted and rather than linger in it and enjoy it, it felt like a burden. And this way it feels like a treat. And I leave the room feeling full rather than drained. A total victory for me.

And he loves it! A last little connect before sleep for him. Full of love instead of angst.

And we all lived happily ever after.

Thanks to Kathie and her brilliant ideas.