Raise your hand if your current bedtime routine with your child leaves you both tired (but not in a good way)?
Putting young children to bed can be a struggle. Starting around 6 months old, your baby may cry or fuss when you leave the room (and it can be worse in the evening especially when he or she is tired).
We've found that establishing a routine at bedtime helps reassure baby that this process is "normal" and happens every night. She might not be happy when you leave the room but knowing what to expect can help add a sense of security.
In our experience, storytime is an essential part of a successful bedtime routine and helps everyone get to sleep earlier (and sleep better). We love family reading at bedtime - which means that 98% of the time, our kids 💗 bedtime.
This routine started when our children were babies and can help you too. Here are our 4 tips to have more fun during storytime with baby (and toddlers +).
#1 - Go for the Board (Books)
We LOVE the versatility and durability of board books when reading to young children. These books have thick cardboard-type pages so they feel sturdy, are easy to spot clean yet still deliver vibrant story-telling to little ones.
Can you read paper books? Of course - but we find that parents are less likely to let babies and toddlers get hands-on with the books when they are made of paper. You want storytime to be fun so if mom or dad are stressing about a torn page, it takes the fun out of it for everyone.
#2 - Pick Books You Like
If you want reading time to be fun for your child...you have to enjoy yourself too! Pick books that are interactive and engaging and stock your nursery library so you have options. Rotate books in and out to keep it fresh for your little one.
- Avoid books that have no plot or theme
- Words are good! Your baby may not be able to read but the more words you expose them to, the better.
- Look for books that encourage engagement (like waving, clapping or saying words repeatedly.)
#3 - Have Your Babe Do the "Reading"
As soon as your little one can babble and point, they can "tell" you all about a book they love. Ask her questions. Point out characters. Respond to her giggles and gibberish.
Continue this as she gets older. You will be amazed at the phrases and thoughts she shares as she grows. All of this interaction is great for brain development and perfect for wearing her out for a good night's sleep.
#4 - Pair a Book with a Matching Toy
When you can read a book with one of the characters, the story comes to life for your child. Kids love tactile connection and learning plus having a toy let's the book carry on beyond storytime.
A matching toy can also help with the separation anxiety that young children struggle with, especially with middle of the night waking. Having something your child can recognize (and snuggle with as he gets older) will be comforting and help with self-soothing.
BONUS WAYS TO INSPIRE READING:
📘 Read to your children. Often. No matter their age, reading aloud strengthens their vocabulary and language skills. It also opens up opportunities for discussion which is good for growing brains.
📗 Keep books everywhere you spend time. Put them in the car, in every room of the house, and tuck them in backpacks and purses. Make them easily accessible. Smaller books are great for on-the-go.
📔 Get caught reading. Children imitate what they see the adults around them do. Whether they see you read a magazine, newspaper, or novel, let them know reading is the cool thing to do.
We'd love to hear how you make reading fun for your little one? 🤗