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Why I Still Tuck My Teens in Bed at Night

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Why I still tuck my teens in bed at night. @ AVirtuousWoman.org

When my oldest kids {the first three} were still little, bedtime was difficult to say the least. No one wanted to go to bed. What they wanted was me. Inevitably a lot of crying ensued.

I was a young mom, and at that time I really looked forward to bedtime. I wanted some time to myself. There isn’t really anything wrong with wanting some down time in the evening, so don’t think that’s what I’m saying. It’s just that it was so frustrating for everyone involved.

My oldest is 24 years old now. I’ve been a mom for quite a while now! I have some regrets – things I wish I could go back in time and change. One of those would be how I handled bedtime with my oldest kids early on.

By the time I had my fourth child, Hannah, my ideas of parenting had changed considerably. My older three were now 9, 6, and 4 and bedtimes were naturally becoming easier.

I spent my fourth pregnancy reading a lot of books and articles on “gentle” parenting and so my philosophies changed. And as my ideas of parenting changed, so did the way I parented all of my kids.

  • I learned to be more patient.
  • I forced myself to speak softly, gently.
  • I enjoyed my kids much more.

So when Hannah came along, I breastfed exclusively for a year {which I had done with my third child}. We co-slept and loved it. I no longer felt inconvenienced when my little needed me. I finally really loved being a mom.

By the time Hannah was two years old, we were still co-sleeping, but I was pregnant with my fifth baby and my husband and I moved a toddler bed into our room next to our bed for Hannah to learn to sleep in. She had her own room with a double bed and a crib, but we rarely used the crib.

Why I Still Tuck My Teens In Bed at Night

And this is where it gets really good. By the time Hannah was two she was talking in full sentences and we had the best conversations. At bed time we would snuggle down together and I would ask her questions and she would think of answers and we would chat.

Every night I asked her what she wanted to dream about and she would come up with the most fanciful ideas. We would talk about Jesus and heaven and so many wonderful things. I loved every minute of it.

I handled bedtime the same with Laura when she came along. Such precious memories! I wish I had done that with my older ones when they were little. Of course, I can’t change the past.

But, I learned to really enjoy the time I had with all of my kids every day. I’d rather have special moments with my kids while they are still home than I would some time alone.

Which is why I still tuck my teens in bed at night. The best conversations seem to happen just before bed. It usually takes me about an hour to get everyone “tucked in” at night. Sarah {20 years old} and Emily {18 years old} share a room and Hannah {14 years old} and Laura {11 years old} share a room.

We are together most of the day, on most days. We have conversations off and on all day long. But it seems like at night, they just want to unload all kinds of questions and ideas and get my opinion about things.

We are very close. They know I care enough to listen. They trust my opinion because they know how much I value each one of them as a person. They know I like them.

I really like my kids – they are amazing people!

And so I still tuck them in at night and I will as long as they continue to live at home.


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  1. I realize this isn't the purpose of your post, but can you please tell me where you found those polka dot sheets?? Sooooo cute and my kiddos would love them!
      1. Haha! Ok thank you anyway! Story of my life, since my daughters decided they want a rainbow colored room! :)
  2. I loved reading this article..I wish I had slowed down and taken the time to baby my babies more....But when I was young and my husband was full time Navy I just have too much to do and never enough time. Thank goodness I became I stay at home mom later. I only wish I could have been all along....Its the simple moments that count the most in life.
  3. Hi Melissa, I love your website it has helped me so much in a spiritual way. I just read your story, 'Why I Still Tuck My Teens In Bed at Night'. Funny enough I just put my 5yo girl to bed and always have a debate if what I'm doing is right for her or right for me?? I too feel I long for down time at night, but argue with myself that this precious time is so short, do I give in to their cries and lay with them until they're alseep or continue to walk out the door to teach them to fall asleep by themselves in tears. Thinking I don't care!!?? I have a 4 yo boy too. We have always had a routine, books, kisses and cuddles, prayers and songs. however once we finished at least one of them (mainly my 4yo) would be still awake and then the crying begins. With your children did you leave the room whilst they were still awake? control crying breaks my heart every time. I've tried getting closer to the door etc at times he falls asleep then wakes up 5min later screaming for me. we've reassured etc etc then I feel guilty that I'm damaging emotionally?? Anyhoo, just wondered what your method was...
    1. Desiree, I left my first three to cry because all of the books I had read said to do that. When my fourth and fifth children came along I had begun reading books with a different philosophy - gentle mothering. And I laid with Hannah and Laura until they feel asleep for years. Now that they are older {14 and 11} I tuck them in, we talk, sometimes I read a chapter book if we are working on one, and I kiss them goodnight, tell them to have sweet dreams, tell them how precious they are to me and that I love them very, very much. I turn out the light and leave. I do the same thing with my 20 and 18 years old except, I let them turn out their own light and I don't read to them anymore. I can tell you that my daughters and I are especially close. VERY close. Best friends in fact. And it's not just because of bedtime but because I treat them the same way during the day, too. Lots of joy, laughter, fun and games, polite requests, and I listen to them when they talk to me. I almost never have to fuss at them. I rarely raise my voice at them. Tender love is the best. Time lost can never be found again.
  4. My baby will turn 17 in May, and whatever the time I go to bed I go in her bedroom, kisses her goodnight and give her a cuddle, most of the time she s asleep, but she expects me to come round and sometimes she s half asleep and mumbles something.I think I ll stop only when she ll get married....
  5. My daughter (30 next month) moved across the country to "home" to help me care for my terminally-ill father. She gave up her job and just came home to do "whatever needed doing." She's getting ready to leave the nest again soon as my father passed and her job is done. I don't do it every night, but sometimes I still tuck her. The wonderful thing is that at this age, we have become friends, real best friends. And, you know what? Sometimes I get tucked in too!
  6. I am reading this post and getting all weepy. My little one has a way to go before he is a teen, but time is going so fast and I know that I will to hold onto our family bedtime tradition (storytime and lots of snuggles) for as long as I can. Thank you for sharing your story. :-)
  7. Thank you so much for sharing this post, although I never have any trouble with my daughter I need to learn to be a little gentler with her younger brother! I think I will try your method both in the day and night! Blessing to you!
  8. I tuck in my teenaged son every night. After a busy day we both get to connect. I read to him from a special book of his choosing, we talk about our day and then pray. All of this helps him fully unwind. Dad joins us if he hasn't already fallen asleep. We have had deep thoughtful conversations as a family during those quiet reflective times.. priceless. He also asks me to come back later and check on him and his dogs. I love standing at his door and listening to him quietly breathe as he sleeps. This mom job is the best!!
  9. I agree, my girls (3) are all grown too. Two are married, one still is home, and true, our best conversations are in the evening. I use to spend one-on-one time with each so I could give them advice, tips, or just listen, something they were comfortable around when they just had me. We only have them for a short time, I wouldn't change anything I did either with them, except, maybe hug them tighter!!
  10. I'll bear this in mind when it's my turn to parent. I'd like to invite you to my link party on Saturdays and would love if you would come share with me! Hope to see you there. Abbi @ www.seasonsofahomemaker.com
  11. My mom tucked me in until I got married and moved into my own house. We still give each other a kiss goodbye. Now I tuck my daughter in at bedtime and kiss them goodbye everytime we leave each other. Great post! I hope you can stop by and visit: http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2015/04/make-it-monday-stained-glass-granny.html Colletta
  12. Aww I love this! I'm always trying to be more patient at bed time. I will have a teenager this year and he still requires me to put him to bed and give him "loves". I will definitely try to continue this!
  13. Thank you for this. What a beautiful reminder to love all the time I have with my children. I have six girls ages 13-1. I'll share this on Google and find a way to follow you.Stopping by from Lou Lou Girls.
  14. I tuck my 7 year-old in most nights. Her 4 year-old sister usually fall asleep in my lap. Some of my best conversations with 7 happen at bedtime. Just last night, she asked why she doesn't get to sit in my lap at bedtime the way little sister does. I told her she can sit with me anytime she wants to, she just has to ask. We'll see how bedtime changes tonight!
  15. I will admit, at first I thought it was odd. Maybe it's because my mom never did and I just wasn't that close to her. But now that I have my little one, who's only 18 months old, I'll probably still tuck her in for years to come. =)
  16. Ah, I'm so glad I found you! We are kindred spirits for sure. I have 4 children, the oldest of which is 26 and I homeschooled my last two. I grew up a pastor's daughter and learned so much about people and ministering to them. (I became the church pianist at age 12 - that was scary!) Anyway, I get what you are saying. Something I loved to do was read to my kids, even up through high school. They loved it too. We have so many fond memories of our favorite books and memories from homeschooling! Found you on Ducks 'n a Row Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!
  17. This is wonderful! Nighttime does seem to be when my daughters want to share more personal things going on in their lives. I even read chapter books to them long after they could read themselves. They are 20 and 17 now, but I still treasure every moment! Thanks for sharing your story!
  18. Thanks for being honest about your journey in enjoying being a mother. I have problems with this sometimes I enjoy it, and sometimes I just don't. Thank you for the advice it has helped me to understand where I am going wrong, especially with my eldest.
  19. Love this. My favorite feeling is both kids falling peacefully asleep while we rock in our lazy boy chair at bedtime. They are 7 and 3, and there is still nothing sweeter than their sleepy breathing. I used to wrestle with doubts about whether I should I sleep trained them, but now I have no regrets. It’s affirming to hear the perspective of a mom further along the journey!

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