I think bedtime rituals are important. When I was a kid, we said our prayers on our knees at beside our beds, reciting the well-known...
Now I lay me
Down to sleep
I pray the Lord
My soul to keep
If I should die
before I wake
I pray the Lord
my soul to take
I looked forward to sleeping at my friend Amy's back then. Amy was one of two kids, and her parents were very loving and kind. I remember feeling like I was on another planet when I went to bed at her house (a very beautiful planet) as her dad and mom would gather us kids (myself, Amy, and her brother) to sit on one bed, and her dad would actually talk to God like he knew him, just saying what was in his heart. It just blew me away to be part of that; that her dad actually knew this "Jesus guy" comforted me so much. It was like his prayers for me (yes, he would thank God for ME!) were worth more or something, because he was truly close with God. What a sweet experience.
When my own kids were small, I prayed with them before they went to sleep at night, not always on our knees (sorry), and with a different prayer that I made up; I wanted to make it meaningful and less gloom that the prayer I had grown up with. And I sang it, instead of reciting it:
Hello Jesus, Hello Friend
I'm here to talk with you again
Before I sleep, I kneel to pray
to thank you for this special day.
Thank you, Jesus, for loving me
Thank you for all you do
Thank you, Jesus, for being my friend
and teaching me all about you.
God Bless Kendall and Kyle and Mommy and Daddy, Grandmas and Grandpa's, too. And Gus and Max, and CB, too.
Kiss and a hug...
Mr.4444 usually let the kids climb on his back for a "Valcor" ride up the stairs before bed (I think that comes from The Neverending Story). Every now and then, Kendall still asks, "Dad, can I have a Valcor?" and Mark gives her one, because he knows there may come a day when she won't let her dad give her a piggy back ride.
These days, our kids put themselves to bed, and I only make it upstairs with them every so often, but we still have our little good-night rituals. Bedtime rituals (like other traditions) are threads that bind families, and they are simple (and free). They are also important, even if you are not religious.
I'd love to hear about your family's traditions. Do tell!