Many parents have a nighttime routine that consists of a bath, a story and maybe even prayers. We do all of those things too, but there's something special that we do each night with Elle that I wanted to share with you.

When Elle began to talk I quickly realized how special nighttime is for us as parents because, often, during the quiet moments of hugs, kisses and prayers we hear Elle's fears, the things she is most excited about and the things she looks forward to most. It's a moment when we can better discover who she is at the core of her being.

I don't remember when exactly this tradition of ours started, but one night she was a bit scared of the dark. So, to get her mind off of scary thoughts, I asked her to tell me an idea she had. I asked her to think about an off-the-wall crazy invention or something wild that we could do as a family. To help her along, I shared my own whacky idea of filling our pool full of pudding and floating on cookies. Then Ryan took a turn. He said he was going to build a rollercoaster from our house to school. Elle joined in, and shared her cute idea of building an Elsa car with seats for every family member. 

Now we end the night this way every time along with kisses and hugs and sips of water because it not only ends the day on a fun note, but she goes to sleep with big dreams, happy thoughts and validation from her parents that we enjoy her. It also stretches her imagination and our imaginations to places it normally doesn't go. These are things I think we lose along the way as we grow older, but they really should never be lost. I highly recommend trying this with your kids one night, and I would love to hear how it went for you. I would love to hear what you learn about your kids through doing this too.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer