Between my Catholic childhood and raising my own flock of kids, I’ve noticed some devotions are perfect for bedtime routines.
Just one verse each day.
Many nights of my early childhood, I fell asleep listening to my parents praying the Rosary.
Their voices rose and fell in the gentle and soothing cadence of the ancient prayer. As my sisters and I lay in our beds, we drifted off to sleep hearing the rhythm of Hail Marys and Our Fathers.
My parents had caught on to a Catholic parenting secret: Because the Rosary is incredibly soothing and peaceful, it can be a great way to get your kids to fall asleep.
This nightly ritual did lead to a funny moment at a family gathering recently. My parents were sharing the story of how they started the nightly Rosary bedtime routine, and one of my sisters admitted she’d felt guilty as a little child that she so often fell asleep during the family Rosary. As an adult, she was relieved to discover this was actually my parents’ goal!
My husband, kids, and I have our own favorite nightly devotions. Every night my husband prays the St. Michael the Archangel prayer with our kids, and we’ve found it does wonders to banish their fears of monsters or scary things at bedtime.
When my kids need help settling down, I sing them the Salve Regina in Latin. They find it so comforting that they tell their friends about it. Recently another mom at a playdate said to me, “Your son said his favorite song is something I’d never heard of — something Regina? It must be a new band!” That definitely made me laugh!
Between my Catholic upbringing and raising my own flock of Catholic kids, I’ve noticed certain devotions lend themselves especially well to bedtime routines. These are my favorite devotions to help kids fall asleep at night.
Of course, the Rosary is the ultimate bedtime prayer. It’s so peaceful and its gentle repetition can have a soporific effect on little ones.
Yes, it takes about 15 minutes to pray. But that’s honestly what makes it perfect for bedtime. With any luck, your kids will be dozing off by the end of it.
2The Salve Regina
I have to include my kids’ favorite bedtime song. You can find the lyrics here if this beautiful hymn to Our Lady isn’t familiar to you (shout-out to my OGs who learned the Salve Regina as children).
I’ve also heard that the Salve Regina is sung nightly in many monasteries, so including it in our bedtime routine helps us feel profoundly connected with our brothers and sisters in Christ praying Compline around the world.
When I told this to my children, they matter-of-factly concluded that they’ll be prepared if one of them enters a monastery. From their lips to God’s ears!
3St. Michael the Archangel Prayer
Another family favorite, this prayer is a powerful invocation against evil and reminds children that the strength of heaven is always with them. It’s perhaps best for slightly older children, though; I’ll never forget the day my two-year-old decided the worst insult he could think of was calling his sister, “the wickedest and snares of the devil!”
Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg of amazing Catholic prayers for helping kids fall asleep. There are any number of hymns that would make a beautiful and calming addition to bedtime. Another prayer that would probably have a soothing effect would be the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
I’d love to hear your family’s favorite bedtime devotions! Did you ever fall asleep listening to your parents pray the Rosary too?