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Discussion Starter #1
<p>Hey ladies, this seems like a weird question, but I thought you all would be the ones to ask because I really can't ask my IRL friends, haha. They already roll their eyes at my hippie-dippy nonsense.</p>
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<p>Nick and I were talking the other day about rituals we wanted to pass down to our kids. We have lots of special-occasion and holiday rituals that we love, but neither of us ever had a "end of the day" ritual, or even an "end of week" ritual (besides, occasionally, Sunday church for my husband), and I always thought they were so nice, and was terribly jealous that some of my friends got to do them.</p>
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<p>I'm friends with lots and lots of Jewish folks, and after nannying for a Rabbi and his wife I really fell in love with the candle-lighting / challah + wine / singing / blessing of Shabbat. Now, I don't want to even come close to stepping on any toes, and the religious aspect of the Jewish traditions don't really apply to me anyway. But I'm wondering if any of you had some ideas for a similar type of ritual that would be a quiet, reflective, wind-down activity for either the end of every day, or maybe the end of the week.</p>
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<p>We're going to be doing a mix of Montessori and Waldorf, and both recognize a child's need for rituals and routines at an early age. </p>
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<p>I'm also not super new-agey or anything. I consider myself a Humanist, so I love reflecting on the special people in my life and sending good thoughts their way, etc. So nothing too overtly "spiritual" either, I guess?</p>
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<p>Thoughts are appreciated!!  </p>
 

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Something that my sister does is best thing/worst thing. They usually do it at the dinner table and everyone takes a turn saying the best thing & the worst thing that happened to them that day. The kids really like it, even my 4 year old nephew, and as the kids get older it's a way to get them to share. It can get frustrating when you say "how was your day or what did you do today?" & get "fine" & "nothing" back!<br>
As far as stuff for really small kids, this is what I did...For my kids a bath was relaxing, we'd get pjs on, read a story, and then I'd sing a song to them when they were in bed. I started this before they could talk, and would do it every night.<br>
Is that kind of what you were looking for?
 

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<p>The kiddos brush their teeth and get pjs on.  Then Daddy reads them a story and they choose who they want snuggles with that night.  Then we have '20' snuggles where we basically snuggle as close as we can get while they count to twenty.  Then we talk about our favorite part of the day, or a time that we struggled and how we handled it.  Then we make up a story together about the Twenty Puppies (an invention of my eldest, twenty puppies so small you can barely see them, but they cause mischief on a daily basis and have to figure out a way to solve their problem).  It sounds a bit involving, but it's been a lot of fun hearing what they come up with for the story.  The whole thing only takes about 1/2 an hour, and they love the routine of it.  Also, since they are both very active little boys, it seems to really wind them down for the night.</p>
 

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Our bedtime routine with DD ... she nurses to sleep. <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"> She puts her pjs on and brushes her teeth, and listens in to DS's story, but that happens long before she actually sleeps.<br><br>
DS's routine (he's almost 7, but has had more or less the same routine since he was 3, and before then, he could have if we as parents were bettter suited to routines!) - he gets on PJs and brushes teeth, selects a story.Lately it's a short one, but he has done long chapter books w/ DH reading a chapter each night, especially when DD was very little. Reading a bit of a long book each night gives continuity to the routine which you naturally get with scripture readings, but leave off the religious compnonent you're not comfortable with. After story and before sleep, DS says his prayers, but the longest part of this is talking about what he can be grateful for that day -- he is asked each day to tell us 3 things he can be grateful for, and some days these are quite amusing, other days they are quite profound. It would be simple for us to do to the talking with younger children, if we had more structure to our own evenings (I think it's coming soon .... DD's stay up till 10:30 or 11 isn't working for this exhausted 20wk mama anymore!)<br><br>
I have friends that sing the same 2 songs every night at bed time, and others that through birth - toddler years read the same lovely children's story to their son(s) every single night.<br><br>
We have a bed time limit of one story, or one chapter of a long story, to avoid the endless requests to delay bedtime ... a lamp on, a water bottle on the night stand (and from about 18mth - a leak-proof water bottle w/in reach at night, especially in winter when the house is dry), tuck in with a specific blanket ...<br><br>
I would advise to keep your routines/plans as portable as possible, so that when/if you travel or camp or stay with family, you can maintain as much of the routine as possible in new surroundings, it generally makes for a more peaceful evening for you both!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
<p>I'm loving all of these ideas!  Thanks for the suggestions everyone.</p>
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<p>Bedtime rituals are wonderful, and I think that will be something that we will develop over time as well. I love the talking about your day, and I love the "goods and bads" at dinner time; I had a family that I nannied for do that and it was really a sweet way to get everyone talking!  </p>
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<p>My husband and I do "burning questions" every night before bed, where we sit and chat about the day or ask each other things that have been bothering us / we've been thinking about, etc. I could totally do a similar thing while snuggling a baby or toddler at night. </p>
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<p>I also have songs that I like to sing to baby, one being "Peace like a River". Never really considered it a lullaby but it totally could be :) So I'm thinking bedtime ritual will be some combination of nursing, snuggling, talking about our day, and singing the same song.</p>
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<p>End of week rituals are a little tougher. Sunday would have to be the day, since it's the only day that my husband is reliably home with us. Maybe we'll design our own little "weekly ceremony", read a short book or a poem or something about whatever we're going to focus on that coming week, light a candle and send some nice thoughts to the people that we love. Sounds doable to me!  </p>
 

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<div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/community/t/1395783/peaceful-non-religious-bedtime-rituals#post_17547508" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false">Quote:
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>HopefullyMama</strong> <a href="/community/t/1395783/peaceful-non-religious-bedtime-rituals#post_17547508"><img alt="View Post" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br>
 
<p>End of week rituals are a little tougher. Sunday would have to be the day, since it's the only day that my husband is reliably home with us. Maybe we'll design our own little "weekly ceremony", read a short book or a poem or something about whatever we're going to focus on that coming week, light a candle and send some nice thoughts to the people that we love. Sounds doable to me!  </p>
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<p>At DS's public school (and all the schools in our region), they have monthly character traits they learn about and are recognized for. As parents, you can make a list of 52 things that you want to instill in your children and have a weekly focus on each -- the things they do at school are Integrity, Kindness, Empathy etc. I imagine a big list of 52 'big ideas' that you scroll through annually to be a nice way to cover each one 'age appropriately' once a year as time goes on.</p>
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<p>Another friend has a 'bucket list' of sorts of skills she wants her children to have before they leave the nest. Some are actual skills like cooking or laundry, and some are more intellectual (learning a 2nd or 3rd language and being financially literate - understanding money/budgets etc). Those would be harder to figure out in a regular rotation to discuss/model/etc for tiny babies, but might be a longer term idea for a weekly family time.</p>
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<p>Many of our friends have 'family night' once a week, no one goes out, they make pizza together and play board games or watch a family movie. It's easier when they are little, and can't really go out without you, and very valuable to have established by the time they are teens! Another way to have a day-of-rest that is not Sabbath or religious, is to have a day that you do not go out and shop, or spend money, or clean - but truly *rest* and be at peace and calm with your family, and/or a day that you 'unplug' from screen time (phones, tv, computers ... both work & personal).</p>
 

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Our routine these days consists mostly of a simple little non-religious verse we made up as we kiss good night, and singing. When our oldest was 2-4, you could say she was "spirited", and much of her day was very difficult to get through for all of us. We started "daily acknowledgements" at bed time, which consisted of finding 3 nice things to say about her to help her feel good about herself. We would tell her a time in the day we were grateful for her/her actions, a time we saw her be generous, and a time she was helpful. Sometimes these were a challenge to come up with! After some time, she started coming up with things herself, and also telling us what she liked about our behavior that day. Once upon a time, we were also on the Waldorf path and had some great books about rhythm and traditions. I would recommend "Seven times the sun" by Shea Darian, and "Circle Round", by Starhawk. Circle Round is not really<br>
Waldorf-y, but has nice ideas to celebrate seasons throughout the year and even life events- pregnancy, birth and blessing the baby included. It's a little out there, and is based on "goddess tradition"/mother earth, but I like it. I bet you can find that one at your library:)
 
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