The Three Things

The Three Things

Paul and I have had a really positive experience with Stevie that I wanted to share, in hopes that other parents might give it a try as well. Since I know 90% of kids fight bedtime (WHY DO THEY HATE SLEEP?) this could give them something else to look forward to at the end of the day.  And I would especially encourage it if you have a child who struggles with behavioral or anger issues.

A few months ago, my sister-in-law posted this on Facebook about her friend Chad:

“…he started a new tradition with his two young sons called The Three Things. Each night, right before they say their prayers together, Chad tells each of his boys 3 things he’s proud of them for. After a few weeks of this, the kids began eagerly anticipating the ritual each night. So now, he deliberately drags his feet sometimes until one of them can’t take it anymore and pleads, Dad, do The Three Things!

Paul and I both thought it was such a great idea, we wanted to incorporate it immediately. We set it into our bedtime routine (so that it would become habit and we wouldn’t forget). At first, I honestly couldn’t even tell if Stevie was listening half the time, but we stuck with it.

Each night, as we climb into bed, I start with “I’m sooo proud of Stevie today because…” and Paul and I take turns complimenting him. Three things each that we are proud of him for. Some days are harder than others to come up with three things. Sometimes we repeat ourselves day after day. But sure enough, within a couple weeks, Stevie began excitedly running to his bed, requesting we do “how goud” (we are working on his P’s).  Just recently, he has even started talking about things he is proud of himself for!

“Stevie I so goud o’ mysewf because I hab a good day at schoo.”

I mean seriously, the first time we heard that nearly brought Paul and I to tears!


It’s not like we never complimented him before.  But I think having a set time for it gives him something to look forward to.  And this small thing certainly hasn’t solved all of our problems, but I’ve noticed other changes in Stevie – his language is improving, he is more receptive to touch, he speaks of how much he loves everyone – and while I’m not certain it has anything to do with us, or our new ritual, I like to think it helped, along with the countless therapists and teachers and family and anyone else who is focused on his development.  Plus, the excitement on his face each night, as he waits for The Three Things?  It makes it fun for us too.

Will you try The Three Things? Or do you have a favorite ritual with your kids?

5 Comments
  1. Such a wonderful idea! You two are so persistent and patient. Such good hearts.

  2. That is a fabulous idea. I’m so glad it is helping Stevie and his self-confidence!

  3. LOVE this, thank you for sharing! You two are great parents (truly). Also, the last picture of Stevie and Paul is so sweet. That one needs to be framed or “canvased” for your wall. Too sweet.

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