Monday, January 29, 2018

Five Reasons To Tuck Your Teenager In At Night

by Danielle’ Dimond
Check out @my30somethings for even more!

As my kids have gotten older and 3 out of the 5 of their bedrooms have moved down to the blessedly out-of-sight basement (because you know, kids are slobs), I have fallen out of the habit of tucking them in at night. Gasp!! Yes, it’s shamefully true! I have even been known to skip tucking in my 5 year old when I’m too worn out. It’s ghastly, I know. So, I challenged myself in January to rectify this most heinous crime to motherhood. I began a 30-day challenge to give all 5 of my offspring a special tuck-in service every night. You know, for 30 days. Even by Day 23, I was astonished at what we have all been missing over the last few years! The response (especially from the older kids) has been staggering! Never before have my 9- and 11-year-old boys been so eager to get to bed.

If you have any preteens or teens I know you’re thinking they don’t need or want you coming in every night to tuck them in like little kids. You’re probably concerned for your safety if you try. I promise, they wont kick you out. They may play it cool and act like they don’t care what you do, but I’m confident that the average teen will not, actually dismiss you. In fact, I’m optimistic that you’ll see some major positives from this one little bedtime habit.  So if you’re tired of your teen or preteen waking up on the metaphorical wrong side of the bed, here are 5 reasons to encourage YOU to securely tuck THEM in on the RIGHT side of the bed each evening.

Five reasons to tuck your teenager in at night

#1 Boogeyman Emotions are Minimized
The Boogeyman of emotions likes to lurk in bedrooms after dark. The pressures of schoolwork, family responsibilities, friend drama, church expectations and the ever-consuming drain of the technological world can make for a teenager who is bogged down. When the lights go off at night and there is nothing to distract them from negative thoughts, there are countless kids who can feel the pressures and anxieties of their world hanging heavily over them. When my kids are going to freak out about something, even just the little things, it’s going to be at or after bedtime. During the act of coming in to tuck them in for bed, I’m able to soothe away any built up stress with encouraging or tender words and planting a magical (yes even for teens) Mom-kiss upon a forehead. Having a person taking care of you is the ultimate way to de-stress. I don’t care what anyone says about a bubble bath, essential oils or meditating, this is the #1 way to calm the body and the mind.

#2 They’ll Open Up
The key to this one is taking your time on the tuck-in. Easy now. Make a point to straighten the blankets, turn down the overhead light, sit on the side of the bed, fuss with their hair and then look them directly in the eyes. Pause for a moment…a good pause…and then ask a question you feel needs asking. “Honestly, how was your day today?” “How’s your life going so far?” “Are you OK?” “How can I be a better Mom to you?” “Is anyone causing you trouble at school?” “Do you have anything you want to talk about?” You get the idea. I pinky promise, if you’re open to it, when you sit on that bed and look them square in the eyeballs, you’ll KNOW the question you need to ask them. When they know you aren’t in a hurry to get out of their room and on to other stuff, they’re going to be more open to opening up. Especially since you’re already in their room, without the distractions of daylight and other kids.

#3 Infuses Them With LOVE
In my humble (but correct) opinion, there is nothing on this earth more comforting and safeguarding than feeling someone lovingly fuss over you. If you’re napping on the couch and someone lays a blanket on you its like instant warm fuzzy feelings. Say you’re sick and miserable (of the man-cold proportions) and your spouse lays a cool and tender hand on your forehead—it’s like for that moment you don’t mind being sick so much. Or when a friend comes over for the sole purpose of finding out how you’re doing and suddenly, you aren’t alone anymore and there are people who care! I’m convinced that taking 5-10 minutes a night to individually tuck in your kids is like ALL of these things in one simple action. There is something chemically stress relieving about having a loved one fuss over you. Even if it’s for just a few minutes! It sends a rush of wellbeing and safeness that a hug and a kiss goodnight cannot do by itself. Chocolate works too, but is put to better use for your own chemical stress relief later on.  

#4 Shows Them You Can Be Counted On
Kids (and teens) love and need routine and structure in their lives to help them feel grounded. If you are regularly and lovingly tucking them in they begin to look forward to that few minutes of one on one time every night. No matter how old they are! In fact, on days when life has been particularly hard on them: their friends are being nasty, they bombed that History test, missed the bus or lost the game, they will begin to rely on at least that few minutes at the end of the day when you will inevitably come quietly into their room and give them some much needed love and attention. What’s even more, if they know you’ll do this even when they’ve disappointed you or gotten themselves into trouble, their trust and faith in you is doubled! Nay, TRIPLED! If they can rely on you to do this, then they may just trust you enough to tell you the hard things. That’s what we want right?

#5 End the Day On A Tender Note  
Those hard days I just mentioned, happen a lot to teenagers. A LOT. Especially in this modern day in which they live. I am the proud Mama of a 14 year old and a soon to be 12 year old (amongst a few other kids too;). I am becoming more and more aware of some of the crazy awful influences they have to deal with on a daily basis. When they climb into bed at the end of a day where good decisions were hard to make or weren’t made at all, I like to think that it’s my job right then to let my older kids know that there is someone rooting for them no matter what. There is someone who knows that they’re doing their best and she’s in their corner to offer that reviving drink, that healing touch and those bolstering words to encourage a strong fight again tomorrow. I can send that message with the simple and yet time tested act of tucking the little (and not so little anymore) ones into bed.

A little over dramatic? After this month of tucking in even my older kids, NO, I don’t think it’s over dramatic at all. This is a difficult world and these kids are up against a difficult fight! So I’m going to use every simple trick in my motherhood arsenal of care and encouragement! They deserve it. So before you write off your teen or preteen as too old, too independent or too prickly for a nightly tuck in, think again. They dearly need some extra love at the end of the day too! I daresay they may need it more than the little kids do.

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