I don’t mind telling you that bed time can be tricky. Some nights, I put my little girl down and she’s out within ten minutes. Other evenings it can be over an hour before I finally get out of the bedroom and enjoy my only “alone time” of the day. For us, one of the helpful tips we have found to a smooth bedtime includes having a great routine that is consistent every single time. Of course, this isn’t always possible. Traveling, events, and even forgetfulness rear their heads and throw the routine out of whack. However, our best nights are nights that start with our routine.
One of the key components to our own bedtime routine is reading a story together. This is a great step for so many reasons.
It encourages your child to interact with text
It allows your child to hear the cadence of your speech as you read aloud
It teaches children that books are read from front to back and have pages
It helps increase vocabulary
It is a great way to be close to your child
It is a calm and quiet activity that helps prepare for a calm and quiet evening
For infants and toddlers, you can certainly read books with paper pages, but as they begin reaching, grabbing, and participating in story time, paper pages are easily ripped or otherwise destroyed. We choose to read bedtime board books to prevent destruction of the books and to allow our little girl to help read. Board books also are easier for little hands to assist in turning the pages and do not require as much fine motor dexterity as paper pages.
Over the past year, we have come across a lot of bed time stories and I wanted to share some of our favorite bedtime board books with you.
Bedtime- A Baby Touch and Feel Book by DK publishing
What we love: My little girl really enjoys touching the different items on each page as I name them and read the text. This book is has very little text and can be read in a short amount of time. This is a good choice if you are starting the bedtime routine late and need to get through all the steps quickly without skipping anything.
Little Owl- A finger puppet book by Image Books
What we love: The finger puppet makes this book really fun to read. The owl can move its head while you read the story. We often add in extra hooting sounds on every page. The pages are very thick and sturdy which make it easy for even the littlest fingers to help turn the pages. The story rhymes which makes it a good choice if you want to focus on the pattern of speech.
Curious George Good Night Book- A tabbed board book by Karen Pandell
What we love: This book follows George as he goes through his own bedtime routine. It has a tab for each page with a picture depicting the event on that page. For example, there is a picture of bubbles when George takes a bath. At the end of each page it asks “Are you sleepy yet?” which can help you cue your child that bedtime is coming.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise
What we love: I love that I am sharing a book with my daughter that I remember reading as a child. She loves pointing to the objects as I name them. For a board book, this is kind of long and can be made longer by pointing to things throughout. Because of the length, we often don’t make it through the entire book before attention starts drifting. I chose this book as one of our favorites mostly because it is a classic.
What we love: These books highlight specific places that we have actually visited which can help young readers relate to the book more easily. We visited family in Kentucky and received Good Night Kentucky as a gift. When we read this book, I will read a page and say, “Remember when we saw the horses?” Even though she is still too young to remember, it helps reinforce at a young age that books can be about real people and places. There are books for many states and cities as well as places like a farm, the beach, and the zoo.
I’ll See You in the Morning by Mike Jolley
This is a sweet book that has a rhyming pattern. The story provides a very reassuring message to children with lines like, “I’ll be here if you need me, I’m only steps away.” It is comforting in both the text and in the artwork, which is drawn with soft lines and colors. This is a good read for children who are fearful at night.
While reading bedtime board books can be a great component of a bedtime routine, there are many other activities that are common to help children prepare their minds and bodies for bedtime. Remember to keep activities calm and quiet as this helps them wind down from the day.