Like many parents we’ve tried many things to get our kids to sleep. Dozol ( for kids to help them sleep ) to baths before bedtime and turning off the tv before bed but still our son Christian would be wired and remain up until late at night before he’d go to sleep.
I thought he might be a little young for it being only five years of age, but I decided to teach him the Jesus prayer. Teaching a five year old the Jesus prayer was never going to begin well so I had to employ some tactics. I began by getting one icon of Jesus, candle and a table chair to place the icon upon. I turned out all the lights so that nothing but darkness encompassed the room. I allowed him to hold my hand as we struck a match to light the candle with.
The scene was set but he was still twitching and jerking on the couch, rolling around making faces. Children’s mind are so active it amazes me it really does, he’s not doing any of it out of badness it’s just his way. I thought my own mind was active until I met the mind of a child. Sometimes adults can lose their minds and patience with this kind of activity because we’re completely opposite and can sit still when required to without much effort. However children cannot and so it amazes and disturbs us when children behave this way.
Regardless I was not going to give up and so….as a Dad does….I bribed him. At the moment he’s crazy about Star Wars. Its important to find out what it is your child’s crazy about and use this as leverage. I handed him the 50 knot prayer rope. I said ” if you manage to reach the end of the first ten knots, I’ll get you a new Star Wars figure. That was it, he sat still and wasn’t prepared to budge any further. I gave him the short from of the prayer which is “Jesus have mercy on me”. He closed his eyes and began the prayer. In the beginning he rushed it but I was there to get him to slow down and every time he rushed it, I would make him start over again and he didn’t get his toy until he got it right.
This forced him to concentrate a little more. In the duration of the prayer he said “dad, I feel like laughing ” and I told him to ignore this feeling and concentrate once again on the seriousness of the prayer and so he did. When the session had ended he had done all 50 knots and so I got worried as this meant 5 new Star Wars figures but it was a great father and son moment.
After it had ended we sat back in front of the icon of Jesus and just stared in silence. He was calm now, no more twitching and rolling around in boredom. His mother came down the stairs and called him for bed and off he went. 10 minutes later she came running down and said “what did you do to him? I normally read him a lot f stories but for the first time ever he turned to me and said ” no more stories mum, I’m tired” and then he rolled over and went straight to sleep. No jumping around the bed or running around the room, just went straight to sleep.”
I praised God for this and plan to do it again. We must train our kids to be quiet and although miracles won’t happen every night, we must train them not just because we want them to sleep or for our own benefit, but because we want to save their souls. So try this and see what happens.