One, Two, See
Bedtime can be a chance to stop and rest at the end of a busy day. But it can also be a terrifying proposition for some children. Bedtime often signals the cusp of being utterly alone, left to your own thoughts and memories which can be a very scary place to be — especially if a child feels unable to control his or her own thoughts.
If this is the case for your child, try playing a quick game at bedtime to help him or her learn how to better manage and control their own thoughts.
Explain that one of the most wonderful gifts God has given us is our mind and our creativity! But like learning any new skill, we need to practice how to control and use them both. Thankfully, it can be as simple as one, two, SEE!
Ask your child to start by sharing one good thing he or she enjoyed during the day. Encourage them to be as specific and descriptive as possible. The goal is to paint the most vivid mental picture possible. A picture is worth a thousand words. So, work together to make it a good one!
Next, ask your child to share two things he or she is looking forward to. This may be challenging. So, help him or her by reminding them of fun things that may be coming up. This is also a great opportunity to encourage your child to make plans for the next day, too. It doesn’t matter what the two things are. The key is to intentionally direct your child’s thoughts toward something positive and turn potential bedtime anxiety into hopeful anticipation.
Finally, after your child is already tucked into bed, and you’re still beside them, encourage him or her to close their eyes. Then, ask him or her to remember a favorite memory — or even just the one good thing they shared just moments ago — and focus on it, really see it in their mind. Lastly, help your child to feel more in control by telling him or her to tap your hand or let you know when they have their memory in mind. Then, quietly leave the room and tell your child to relax and enjoy their “memory movie” until tomorrow — when you can make more great memories together.
After completing this activity, read through the following verse and prayer with your child.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable …
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for being the most good thing in our lives. Help us to learn how to use our minds and creativity well. Help us to remember, too, that we can always look forward to spending time with You.
In Jesus’ name, amen.