Bedtime is such a perfect time to bond with your kids! A good bedtime routine can give your kids structure and the space to wind down before sleep. Without a bedtime routine, you set yourself up for tantrums, late bedtimes, not to mention potential long-term issues for your kids. Beyond baths and teeth brushing, we’ve always made it a point to read and talk; it’s a nice, quiet time to reflect on the day and bond.
Whether you have an established bedtime routine or you’re wanting to start one, it’s a great time to really bond with your kids. Now that our kids are a bit older, they can articulate themselves better. Our conversations have gone from “favorite dinosaur books” to more profound questions about emotions, friends, and the wide world.
Bedtime Bonding Questions to Ask Your Kids
Going into bedtime with bonding questions for your kids can help them open up emotionally, and make them better at relating to people in general. Here are a few of our favorite bedtime bonding questions to ask kids.
What was your favorite part of today?
We get into ruts I think, as families, and the familiar routine of asking “how was school today” when your kid flops their backpack down becomes automatic. We ask, they say “fine”, and they root for snacks – nothing is gained or learned.
At bedtime, things are quieter and less automatic. This is a good time for reflective questions and “what was your favorite part of today” requires an actual answer, rather than a one-word qualitative response. It asks our children to think about what made them happy or fulfilled them best during the day. It provides space for reflection that can ripple gratitude as they nod off to sleep.
What was your least favorite part of today?
The temptation to ask “what didn’t you like about today” is probably there; admittedly, the difference between these two questions is subtle. But by framing your question in a less negative way, it redefines how your children view their day.
Often it will be something minor but in the context of their experience, it can seem catastrophic. You can then help frame this in a way that shows them that it’s not so bad, without downplaying their feelings.
While I’m all about always giving a child the space to feel their feelings, asking them a question like this always sets the state to re-frame the feelings. By asking them about something they wish they could change from their day, you can then begin a path toward a better tomorrow. This helps them make better choices, stand confident in the good choices they do make, and look for the good in the seemingly bad.
Who was kind to you?
This question helps your children remember even small measures of kindness and be grateful for them. By reflecting on their day looking for a time when someone was nice to them, they’re likely to see many times someone showed them kindness and it helps instill gratitude. Look for the good and you’ll see it’s all around you.
Thinking about how other people have been kind also makes them realize how profound a small act of kindness can be, driving them to demonstrate that in their own daily lives. Ideally you do volunteer work with your children and asking them a question like this motivates a cycle of kindness all around.
How were you kind?
Pretty straightforward but this question accomplishes two things:
- It gives them a chance to be proud of how they helped other people
- They see where they could have been kinder to other people
Exercises like this function as little pieces of meditation, a little bit of mindfulness, and helps your children be more present. It’s a good activity to do with them, because it works and is good for you, too.
Share Your Own Responses
So along those lines, make sure you’re giving your child an opportunity to ask “What about you, Mommy/Daddy?” Reflection is essential to living your best life. While you of course don’t want to overshadow this opportunity to spotlight your child, conversation and bonding is a 2-way street. This also allows the conversation to go deeper, leading down roads you might not otherwise.
What plans do you have to make tomorrow amazing?
I guarantee you there’s not a single pregnant person out there who didn’t hear “it goes by so fast!” at least a dozen times before the baby was even born. But let’s be honest – they were 1000% correct!! As adults, the days only go by faster and faster, and if we’re lucky, we realize that sooner rather than later.
For kids, though, thinking about the future is tough; their limited experience makes all time feel like forever, so planning things even for tomorrow is an exercise.
Asking them what they plan on doing the next day makes them aware that the power to craft their day is in their hands. The question is better than “what are you excited about for tomorrow”, because that question indicates excitement might come externally. While that’s true, it’s important for your kids to realize they can make the day awesome, regardless of other peoples’ attitudes or what happens along the way.
Bonding over creativity
There’s a reason why many kids’ toys are aimed at coloring, beadwork, or baking things with light bulbs – kids love to create. My son writes a short story (usually about robots or monsters) every single day. We don’t prompt him, he just does it, and my daughter’s always drawing.
Kids naturally like creative endeavors or anything that can demonstrate their skill. While it’s a good thing to speak to them at bedtime about things they love to make (or want to make in the future), it’s important to mutually share your creative skills with your kids. If you’re a great artist and your children show an affinity for art themselves, then create with them.
Likewise, if they like sports, or baking, or writing stories, revel in that creative urge alongside them. This is one of the best bonding activities you can experience as a parent. At bedtime, talking about your favorite creative activities will bring you closer together.
What do you talk about with your kids at bedtime, or are you just starting a bedtime bonding routine? I hope these bedtime bonding questions have provided a nice start (or addition) to a stronger relationship with your child. I’d love to know in the comments what sort of questions or bonding rituals you practice as a family.