Column – It’s best to end the day on a positive note
Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023
It had been a rough evening. Timothy was upset when I had him turn off a video game to complete his homework, he didn’t like anything made for dinner, and our discussion about his chores for the week had not gone smoothly.
There were some additional discussions that I wanted to take place, but the day was ending. We didn’t have much time before the lights would go out for the night. I wanted to speak about everything we needed to talk about, but I resisted bringing up the events of the day. We talked about whatever crossed his mind as he wrapped up the day, and I laughed at one of his jokes. Timothy crawled into bed, I said our evening prayers, wished him a good night’s sleep and turned out the lights.
The final portion of the day and the last few conversations before bed will stay in children’s minds as they drift off to sleep. The atmosphere and interactions during the last part of the day can make a big difference in their perception of the entire day. Therefore, it’s important to do all we can to end the day on a positive note. We should aim for children to feel safe, loved and filled with positivity as they quiet their minds for a night’s sleep.
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We can help create this atmosphere by choosing our words carefully and purposefully discussing positive or fun things as the day draws to a close. Allowing children to discuss what is on their minds can help them to end the day on the best note possible. Likewise, we should not wait until the end of the day to bring up things that need to be discussed. Do what you can to correct or discipline poor behavior before the last half hour of the day, and do not plan to have difficult conversations at bedtime.
Trying not to end the day on a bad note doesn’t mean that bad behavior should be ignored because it’s nearing bedtime. There may be times when discipline or correction is needed later in the evening, but adults should be doing what they can to help the last portion of the day be positive.
Planning when things are done in the evening can help prevent things from ending on a sour note. For example: If you know that a particular item, such as homework, may create a problem, ensure that homework is completed with enough time to do something else before bed.
Ensuring that children have done what is needed for the day and allowing them some time to unwind and relax before the end of the day can help everyone. Ask about chores, homework, and other tasks and verify they are done before it’s time for bed. Waiting until the last minute increases the chance that the last part of the day will be unpleasant.
The final minutes of a day can help a bad day to not seem so bad, but it can also make a good day not seem so good. Let’s do what we can to end the day on a positive note and help them sleep with a smile.
Nathan Rice, a Hampton Roads resident since 1988. He has volunteered with children and youth through various organizations for over 15 years. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.