Bedtime rituals are important for children—and for parents

How nightly traditions during a pandemic can offer comfort and stability

As an emergency medicine doctor, Jacinta Cooper didn’t always make it home in time to participate in nightly rituals with her two daughters. So she’d FaceTime as much as she could before saying good night.

But after the pandemic hit, the first few times Cooper FaceTimed home, one-year-old Ruby didn’t recognize her mom behind a mask. “She usually giggles and reaches for the phone, but she didn’t,” Cooper recalls. “It made me kind of sad. It’s already hard being away from them and working through this pandemic.”

Ruby now understands that it’s Mom behind the mask, and the important FaceTime ritual continues when she’s not at their Atlanta home. But one bedtime ritual never varies. Always, after the kids have been fed, bathed, pj’d, and read a bedtime story, dad Jeremy Reneau has four-year-old Liyla repeat or recite an affirmation he created when she was about two years old:

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