Bedtime Stories from Our Past
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“Bedtime Stories from Our Past,” Ensign, Jan. 1999, 71

Bedtime Stories from Our Past

As a mother, I found that getting children to bed each evening could prove frustrating at times. There was always one more drink, a last trip to the bathroom, or another goodnight kiss. My husband and I tried a number of things to smooth out our bedtime ritual, including playing quiet music, reading a bedtime story, lying down briefly with the children, and even occasionally letting them stay up a little later than usual. Still, bedtimes remained a constant challenge.

One night as I was midway through our nighttime routine, I had an idea. As we met in our oldest son’s bedroom for family prayer, I explained to the children that after prayer we would all lie down on one of the beds for a few minutes, and I would tell them a story. After our prayer, I turned off the light and got comfortable on the crowded bed, then told them a story from my life—something that had happened to me when I was their age. It was a hit!

We decided to add this personal storytelling to our nightly bedtime ritual. One night I give the story; the next my husband shares something from his past. This way the children get to hear stories about each of us. By rotating, we also provide needed flexibility should one of us be gone at bedtime. Sometimes our stories are about our children, especially things they did when they were younger. We have also made up stories about problems our children were experiencing, which led to helpful discussions.

Doing this, our time together at the end of the day has become precious. We find it a wonderful way to settle the children and to spend the last few minutes of our day together as a family.—Melanie Linford, Elk Ridge, Utah

Illustrated by Julianne Allen