So many things to do at bedtime: get them to sleep, on time; read to settle them down and to foster a love of books; check for the monsters under the bed, etc., etc. So we often forget that bedtime is also a great time to build that parent child relationship and to bond with plain old conversation.
Young children often need some help starting and maintaining a conversation– a valuable skill in and of itself. So www.imom.com/espresso-minute has a daily set of 20 questions you can have delivered to your e-mailbox to help the process. The specific questions are far less important than getting into the routine of asking and really listening to the answers. Just the act of asking shows your child how much his or her thoughts and answers are valued, building self esteem.
Establishing these lines of communication could prove to have been invaluable when your son or daughter gets older and their communication shrinks down to grunts and monosyllabic answers. Old habits die hard, and when they need you those synaptic pathways built from all those earlier bedtimes may just kick in and bring your child to you with his or her issues and problems. It sure can’t hurt!