One of my favorite times of day when my grandchildren lived with me was bedtime. Regardless of their ages — one preschooler, one elementary, and one middle school; bedtime was theirs alone to spend time with just me and them.
First was the preschooler, we would read two books and then I would sing her the “sunshine” song—You Are My Sunshine or Sunshine on My Shoulders; often singing both before I could leave the room. Next was the school-ager, a 10 year-old boy. We would read too, although it was a chance for him to read to me from whatever book he chose. He had a favorite author so I made every effort to keep him well-stocked with them. Finally, the middle-schooler, a girl. We spent time in the quiet talking about struggles of being a girl and what she wanted for her life. I often sat on the end of her bed waiting for her eyes to get heavy knowing she would fall asleep peacefully.
There is research galore on why sleep is important for growing kids (see this article from the American Academy for Pediatrics). There is almost as much research on the importance of the time spent before falling asleep.
A sense of security, acknowledgement of feelings, washing away the day (literally and figuratively) and looking forward to the next day, are just some of the benefits children can experience when bedtime routines or rituals are part of their world. This article from Parenting Magazine offers several tips to make the transition from day to evening for children. So, as the seasons change this month and a new school year is beginning, consider establishing or re-establishing bedtime routines or rituals for your family.