Sometimes, it works
Sometimes the day winds down nicely and, at the end, we are left with calm pajama-ed little people ready to say a nice prayer together and roll into bed. On those days, the baby is willing to stay in someone’s arms, the toddler is willing to stay kneeling beside me, the two older ones are not leaking into some sort of reclined position on the floor. We say the Angel of God, we take turns saying thank you for something, we take turns asking God to bless someone, then everyone blows Jesus a kiss goodnight and those who know how make the Sign of the Cross make it.

Sometimes, it doesn’t
Other times, one or two or three or four out of the four children are going through some sort of difficulty. My pajamas are inside out. I can’t find Catti (stuffed cat). Too much toothpaste came out. I need to read three more books. I’m NOT tired. Those days, a serene group prayer with all the usual elements just doesn’t work and we explore other options.

The often-lost Catti

When a tired, weeping little person just isn’t up to saying bedtime prayers, she sometimes gets gathered up in a heap, placed on a lap and gets sung to. Hail Mary seems to be the most requested bedtime prayer song.

Delaying tactics
Clever little people will sometimes try to extend prayers as much as they can to delay bedtime. When that happens, we end it at some reasonable point and remind them that if there was something else that they wanted to say to God they can do it in their heads after they’re tucked in. He’s always listening.

I’ll pray for you
Sometimes the kids just get the giggles and can’t really focus on praying. We remind that Jesus is really present with us here in this room and then pray out loud to Him on their behalf.

Family Litany
The kids really enjoy going through their saints names (as well as the saints names of friends and family) and saying a short litany.

Each and every night we remember to turn to God again, whatever form the prayer takes. At the end of the day, I’m hoping that faithfulness is the lesson that sticks.