Before the children go to sleep we always have some kind of ritual. Yes, even now when they are 12 and 13 years old. When they were younger it was putting them in bath, massage them (till they where 2 years old), telling a story, kiss on the cheek, make sure the blanket is ok that was it.
But the older they become, the harder it gets.
When my daughter has to go to bed it goes like this
First she taking a shower,
She comes downstairs again,
When it's time for bed,
She remembers that she forgot to make her homework (afcourse she did it, but she doesn't want to go to bed),
We say "It's to late, go to bed"
She goed to the toilet,
If it takes to long
We say "hurry up, you have to go to bed"
She get's of the toilet (not inmediatly),
She gives my husband and I a kiss and a long hug,
And goes upstairs,
When she's upstairs, she calls out "Mam"
I'm like "Yes"
She "Can you do my blanket"
Me "Yes ok, I'm coming in a minute"
When I'm downstairs she calls me again, there is always something, she remembers something that she has to share with me of my husband, she complains about headache, that her belly hurts, or she just doesn't want to go to sleep and is reading a book and while reading her book she want to tell us something. This happens much more, it just not her style to go to bed and keep quiet.
Yes, my daughter has a ritual that I'm not happy with.
Sometimes she has called already a few times and we get a bit cranky so we say, no we shout "No, we don't want to hear it anymore, just go to SLEEP!!!!"
She is saying with a little voice "I love you mommy, I love you daddy"
When she does that, we smile to each other and it's like the whole ritual before is forgotten...