You know the signs of bedtime. Whether it’s a specific time or you take your indications from your child’s behavior – eventually it is time to begin the process of getting your little one in bed. For some, this can be a grueling series of events. However, when you can incorporate books into the bedtime routine you can mitigate confusion, and get everyone off to la-la land faster, and more comfortably. One key part of our bedtime routine is reading.
I’ll stop here for a second and introduce myself. My name is Sam and I am the blogger and kid’s lit curator at Addison Reads. I am passionate about helping parents find the right books for their children’s bookshelves and encourage more reading in their homes. Bedtime reading is paramount in our household and it brings us closer together as a family every time we engage in our bedtime routine.
I believe that including a reading session into your child’s bedtime routine is beneficial and important because: it’s a calm activity to help wind down the brain and body, it provides an intimate moment to truly be present with your children and it is a good moment to fit in some concrete parenting lessons.
How to Incorporate Books Into The Bedtime Routine
1. Reading is a calming activity
Have you ever tried to put your child to sleep immediately after they’ve been running around, or watching a movie or have just generally been super stimulated? I have, and it doesn’t work. It always ends up being a long and painful transition to sleepy town. However, when we read together before bedtime, the transition is smooth and we move from stimulating activities to something very calming, soothing and slow. The slowness of reading, of turning pages, of pointing out illustrations – it all helps to calm their breath and relax their bodies.
Choosing a special and comfortable spot for bedtime reading is also a great way to ensure the calming effect occurs. We have our big puffy papasan chair that we read together on and we always fill it with blankets, stuffed animals and pillows so we can really start to chill. Even my husband and I feel a little tired after our nighttime reading is done.
2.Promotes engagement and closeness between family members
Speaking of big snuggly chairs for bedtime stories, the act of reading together initiates a close and intimate activity. Especially if you are a parent that works outside of the home or you get limited time with your children in general, having a set time where your whole family will be in one place is such a comfort. Also, the physical space involved with reading a book together involves closeness – sitting cheek to cheek reading, snuggling and turning the pages.
I have been “solo parenting” and working full time (ie: I’m married but my husband is gone training right now so I am parenting my daughter on my own) for over half a year, so my time is super limited. Knowing that we have bedtime to sit down together and just “be” is so comforting to me as a parent and I am sure my daughter feels the same way. It’s a set in stone, promised amount of time that I will be there with just her – no distractions, just us.
3. Moment for parenting
During this quiet and intimate time, I really love to use children’s books to parent my daughter and teach her about life. One of my core values and missions with regards to my business and my life principles is that kid’s literature is incredibly insightful. Stories are concrete ways to explain complicated points to your children, and infusing these value-rich stories into the bedtime routine is a great way to solidify huge lessons with your little one.
In general, incorporating your most important core values into your child’s bookshelf and into your reading schedule is important, but bedtime can also be a time to address current situations happening. For example, if your little one is having trouble going to sleep because they are afraid of the dark, reading a book that addresses this topic is such a great way to explain to them what’s going on. Incorporating this book into the bedtime routine, when everything is calm and there is a closeness in relationship makes it a seamless way to have this real conversation and let them know they will be ok and that you’re there for them. Most times, your little ones won’t even realize they’re learning something valuable – they just know they’re snuggling mom or dad – but they’ll get the idea anyway.
Our favorite bedtime books to incorporate into your bedtime routine
We don’t always read strictly “bedtime” books at night, but here are some of our absolute favorite bedtime / snuggle books.
If Animals Kissed Goodnight by Ann Whitford Paul – this book is adorable and makes you just want to snuggle your little one.
5 Minute Snuggle Stories by Disney Book Group – a collection of 5 minute stories starring some of the best Disney characters, all of them make you want to squeeze your baby.
Baby Badger’s Wonderful Night – a sweet book about not being afraid of the dark
I Love You Night and Day – if you’ve ever wanted to tell your little one how much you love them before bed, this book is perfect (especially because it ends with the characters going to sleep!)
If you want to start infusing more reading into your child’s lives (and into their bedtime routine), and are curious where to find the best books, I’d love to chat! You can schedule a free call with me and we can go over your plan of attack for building an intentional bookshelf that will bring you parenting peace and better books into your child’s library.
I showed you mine. Now You Show Me Yours. Comment below with your favorite books to incorporate into the bedtime routine.