When it’s bedtime for my 4 year old son, I ask him to use the washroom, wash his face-hands-feet and brush his teeth. After that he changes into his night dress, drinks water and heads straight to the bed. We then dim the lights, get the room to a comfortable temperature and minimize all remaining distractions to the maximum extent possible!
After this begins our 2-question bedtime ritual which makes all the difference to my life as a mother, personally. I ask my son these 2-questions:
Which was the best part of your day?
Which was the worst part of your day?
These 2 questions might sound very simple, unimportant or vague to you. But, trust me, they are magical. These questions – rather the answers to them – have made me know and understand my child better; for a long time now.
I started following this 2-Question bedtime ritual when my son was barely 3 years old. As a naive and unwordly 3 year old, his answers were sometimes vague, funny and more often than not indistinct; unformed.
But I never gave up my ritual of asking these 2 questions to him every night before going to bed and consistently and patiently waited to hear meaningful answers from him.
Months passed and he and his answers ‘evolved’. Literally!
I then started getting more defined and clearer answers as he grew into a more expressive and observant child.
One evening, my little one hurt himself while playing. He cried and it took him a while before the pain subsided and he attained normalcy.
Same night, following our 2-Question bedtime ritual, I asked him which was the worst part of his day?
(Just like how every mother is confident about her child, even I was and I knew that he would invariably tell me that the worst part of his day was when he hurt himself while playing.)
I was utterly surprised to hear that the worst part of his day was when I scolded him. I was baffled and asked: “WHAT? When was this? Did I even scold you even once in the whole of today?”
He then told me, that I had asked him sternly to eat his lunch quickly as he was taking a lot of time to finish.
(Ideally, that didn’t even classify as a ‘scolding’ for me; but for him – it did!).
It was then that I realized two things:
- Getting hurt and crying in pain (which was a big deal for me as his mother) was not such big a deal for him.
- My light scolding hurt him more deeply than a fall or a bruise on his knee.
A few weeks later, his Daddy dearest and I had stepped out of the house for a couple of hours; without him. On our way back, we picked a Hot Wheels Car for him just to make up for our absence and to see him smile. Our plan obviously made him very happy and excited – as expected.
That night I was pretty sure of hearing that the car was the best thing that happened to him.
But, once again, to my surprise, he answered that playing with Aaji, Aazoba and Aatya (his grandparents and aunt- with whom we left him at home) was the best part of his day.
This again made me realize the following:
- Not always can toys or materialistic things bring joy to him.
- Nothing supercedes spending dedicated quality time with him and probably that’s what makes him the most happy.
This 2-question bedtime ritual with my son every night does immense good to me as a parent.
- It gives me a chance to guide my child when he’s going through any dilemmas or low moments.
- It also helps me dance with joy with him when he narrates his happy stories.
- It makes my child more observant beause somewhere at the back of his mind he too prepares his answers for my questions all throughout the day.
- It helps my child get used to opening up to me without any fear or hesitation; which will surely serve as a useful habit in the future.
This is how my 2-question bedtime ritual proves to be magical to motherhood.
Try this out with your child too without letting their age limit you. As, these 2-questions are simply perfect for any child of a school-going age or even older! After all, whatever happens to children in a day is very innocently classified by them into only two categories:
The best part and the worst part of the day…