Talk Time Instead of TV Time

“Talk Time Instead of TV Time,” Ensign, Oct. 1998, 73

Talk Time Instead of TV Time

One busy evening I heard a little voice coming from our youngest daughter’s bedroom: “Mom, could you come here?” I paused in the doorway. Rachel looked up at me from her bed and said, “Mom, you forgot to talk me in!” I chuckled and went through the bedtime ritual of tucking her in and left the room a few minutes later. But I couldn’t forget what she had said. “Talk me in” really made a great deal of sense.

At one point when our children were small, I got into the habit of watching a few favorite television programs—in fact, they were quite important to me. I looked forward all day to sitting in front of the TV to watch them. Unfortunately, the programs came on at the same time the children went to bed.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at one point I realized I had put my programs at the top of my list and my children farther down. For a while I tried reading bedtime stories with the TV set on, but I knew in my heart it wasn’t the best way. As I pondered about the days and weeks I had lost to my TV habit, I began to feel guilty and decided to change. It took a while to convince myself that I could really turn off the TV.

After about two weeks of leaving the television off, I felt a burden somehow lifted. I realized I felt better, even cleaner somehow, and I knew I had made the right choice. The subsequent months and years of “talking children in” have been valuable to me. Some of my favorite memories of our old house are of lying on a bunk bed next to one of the children and singing Primary songs with our four children who shared the room. The strength and sweetness of their voices filled the night with love. After everyone had a couple of turns choosing a song, we talked a bit, listened as each child took a turn saying prayers, and said goodnight.

One mother of eight in our ward has what she calls “happy time” with her children as she chats with each one about the best thing that happened to the child that day. What bedtime really provides is an opportunity for teaching moments, counseling moments, and a sweet sense of security for a child ready to drift off to sleep.

Why just tuck children in when we can “talk them in”?—Susan Heaton, Elgin, Illinois

Illustrated by Julianne Allen