As someone who has the joy and the challenge of a two and a half year old I will be the first to tell you that nap time and bed time are two of the most stressful times of the day … despite being necessary reprieves.
If you, like me, need some help with the bed time routine it might be a good idea to grab one of these books and make it part of the routine. It might be boring for you to read the same story over and over but it helps with relaxation, pattern creation, and eventually will help lead to reading as memorization allows for word recognition allows for a continued understanding of letters, sounds, and grammar patterns… but we were talking about bed time.
This one is my personal favorite and it is a newer one. I do also have a young boy who is fascinated with trucks and construction vehicles so it may just be a personal thing. I feel like the particular cadence of this one lends itself to a good wind down activity. It just seems to slowly loose steam, which in a bed time story is a good thing. You want it to help bring the energy down a little bit. If your kid falls in love with it. A sequel has come out that is all about sharing and asking for help and that is really great as well.
This next one is great to read alongside or just before the bed time routine. It follows Little Pookie (a beloved character of mine from childhood, how about you?) while he goes through his bedtime routine. There is a little bit of open interaction in it so I would definitely recommend this one earlier rather than latter because it stimulates the brain a bit too much to lull a child to sleep, but it definitely has its own benefits. Helps create routines which again… important for young children.
Goodnight Moon is maybe the quintessential bedtime story. I think we all remember it from childhood and there is a reason. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If you haven’t tried incorporating this one into your nightly routine it might be a time to revisit it. There are board book and picture book versions so it can grow with your child. Margaret Wise Brown is one of the staples of picture books and all of her books are worth adding to your child’s library. She has a similar quality to Goodnight-Goodnight Construction site in that the cadence of the story helps wind down after a long day, so it would be good in bed.
Jane Yolen is one of the upcoming names in children’s books. Her series about Dinosaurs is well worth the read and this one is great for parents of kids who try and talk their way out of bed time, or throw tantrums. It shows several ways one should not act at bedtime, and discusses the proper way. No shouting, no tantrums, no bargaining just a kiss and a sigh and a great rest. I know lots of kids who are obsessed with Dinos and this one is great to stimulate their imagination because the parents in the story are human, and the child becomes the dinosaur. One typically would think the Dino’s would be very rambunctious when in fact they go straight to sleep calmly. It doesn’t rile kids up and has a great teaching element. Well worth the read.
I’m ending this list on another classic and this one is one that worked well for my mother getting me to sleep when I was a baby. I really loved animals and this one teaches baby animal names as well as winds down for the night. Its just a sweet book that rhymes and uses repetition to lull a sense of calm into the child. If you haven’t read it, I would recommend grabbing a copy. It definitely helps wind down at the end of the day.
So whether you needed some suggestions of books that slowly bring a kid into bed time or books to teach the bedtime routine here are a few to try and add to your library both new and old, tried and true.
What are your favorite bedtime stories? I would love to hear in the comments section below and maybe I will make another list like this one in the future.