The Trick To A Five-Minute Stress-Free, Effortless Bedtime




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    The Trick To A Five-Minute Stress-Free, Effortless Bedtime

    Why do kids resist going to bed and what it has to do with “Living with Moshiach”? By Gitty Stolik of Beis Moshiach Magazine explores • Full Article

    By Gitty Stolik, Beis Moshiach Magazine

    One thing everyone agrees on is that we had enough of galus. But it’s not enough to krechtz that we want out of galus.

    The Rebbe told us (in 5748, Shnas Tismach) that simcha will bring the Geula. Don’t you find that a mystifying formula? I do! True, Chassidus explains how, but as humans, we like to see the mechanics of what we’re dealing with. We want to see the chemical reaction of the two as they merge. How is simcha going to bring Geula?

    That Geula will bring simcha – now that’s linear logic. The Geula will solve all problems. Everything will be glorious, G-dliness will be dazzling, and there won’t be any problems to mar the joy, so our simcha will be perfect. Az yimalei schok peenu – our mouths will readily fill with laughter.

    But it turns out that the linear logic is also true – in reverse. A commentator gives us the inside story. You know why the Yidden (will) merit these wonders of Geula? The answer is the continuation of the Psalm (126), hayinu smaichim – because we were joyful – in advance!

    To rejoice before the event? Honestly? Joy is, after all, an emotion. You can only experience the fullness of emotion in the actual unfolding of the authentic event. Think back to an intense past moment in your life. You can remember that you were very happy, that you were very frightened, that you were sad. But you don’t actually experience it in its prime intensity. A fortiori a type of emotion we have never yet experienced! 

    Especially, when we are still steeped in the good-bad mix of galus. Whenever we have something to revel over, there’s something there to mar it.

    How do we get around this conundrum? 


    A solution…

    Live with Moshiach – lichyos im Moshiach – the Rebbe has urged us. This can mean many different things. One way is to imagine future perks and invite them in to warm up our lives right now. So, let’s find familiar aspects of our daily lives and use them to bring Geula realities closer to ourselves and our kids.

    Here is a dream scenario for any parent to swoon over.

    What is the bane of a parent’s existence? Bedtime. If not for bedtime, wow, parenting would be a breeze! (Almost.) Day after day after day bedtime shleps out. Not just that it drags out, it saps parents of patience, of resources, robs us of time we need for ourselves. That is the galus deal.

    Now imagine the Geula scenario. You announce “Bedtime!.” Kids will independently complete everything on their list. Showers, clothing into the hampers, new clothing laid out for the next day, both shoes neatly set out for the morrow, Kerias Shema, teeth brushed, and – they will go to sleep. And they will fall asleep. Wow, amazing, Ta and Ma have the rest of the evening to learn, talk… (Disclaimer: I’m just extrapolating, it’s going to be even better.)


    If Moshiach ch”v doesn’t come before tonight, let’s see how we can bring more Geula dimension into the bedtime challenge.

    Why do kids resist going to bed? Because life is so happening. No one wants to stop the action and achievement. (I’m as guilty as those kids. I’m counting on Geula to finally change my poor bedtime habits 🙂

    Here are two solutions to help children transition to sleepy mode. The first one is better known, the second one less so:

    First bedtime idea:

    Many kids didn’t yet get all their daily needs met. They get food, practical care and security – but they also need soul time. Time to share thoughts and reflections of what life means to a kid. Time to just ‘be’ with their Mommy or Tatty. When they get their daily quota of neshama time – they feel an inner fulfillment and they’re ready to unite with their pillows.

    Rx: 5-15 minutes of a combination of (1) dedicated listening (2) or just being, which can include Chassidishe music, or (3) soul-fulfilling stories.

    And it’s not just kids, adults need it, too… We all want to finish the day and look back and say we achieved something spiritual. Women automatically are involved with good deeds all day, but sometimes we need something more pnimi – some inner nourishment. So, come the night, and we’re not ready to call it a day. We’re all craving spiritual intimacy, authentic connection. We’re seeking love, especially Hashem’s love. Tanya tells us about hisdabkus rucha b’rucha, cleaving, connecting our spirit to Hashem’s through His holy words, also the idea of hugging the King through our mitzvos. Maybe we need a few ‘real’ words from Torah. Or, to just ‘be’ with Hashem. Ich vil zhe gornisht, nur dir alein. In simple terms, bedtime resistance reminds us We’re craving Geula, aka connection with our True Source! So, let’s fill ‘er up.

    * Important: Helping somebody is very internally fulfilling, even if ‘only’ by bringing a smile to a sour face, but don’t give up on the Torah as a way of reclaiming your closeness to Hashem.

    Second bedtime idea:

    An effective strategy that helps kids wind down and fall asleep is firm massage. Have them lying face down on their stomach, in bed. Start from the shoulders and work down the arms all the way to the tips of their fingers. And then firm input from the shoulders along the torso, down to the waist and the lower half of the body all the way down to the ankles. Repeat each a few times. Tactile input is very relaxing. Kids who crave touch as well as kids who wriggle and resist touch – all love it.

    And how about doing a little Geula-visualizing with our kids as we sit with them? Or an impromptu crooning (like Puah…) as we massage them down: “Do you know when Moshiach comes you won’t be coming out of your bed, peeking out of your door, sneaking out, asking for a drink again and again. Your brother or sister will not annoy you, or make noises that you don’t like. You won’t have to be reminded to say Shema, brush your teeth, put your stuff into the hamper. You won’t be missing a shoe in the morning. You’ll do all that effortlessly. Isn’t that amazing?! We can even propose to do a Geula-trial run tomorrow, as if Moshiach would be here. (Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t exactly work out – you planted a seed and helped your children live with and envision Geula.)


    Joyful, peaceful, five-minute bedtimes. The thought itself is like a trip to the candy store. Our neighborhood’s favorite haunt is called Sweet Expressions. These sweet Geula thoughts are our Sweet Expressions of Geula. And we won’t get cavities from these treats. (Come to think of it, will anyone get cavities then? Now I really want Moshiach)

    Tempt yourself. Entice your family. Turn waiting into awaiting. Make it real!


    The magazine can be obtained in stores around Crown Heights. To purchase a subscription, please go to:


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