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Bedtime Reads

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

Reading with your children at bedtime is a really important time for both you as parents and for your child.

For us, we get to snuggle up with our little ones and enjoy some calm together. For children it's a perfect way for them to wind-down at the end of the day and enjoy one-to-one connection time with you.

Reading together also helps children to;

  • Develop vocabulary

  • Expand imaginations

  • Learn about subjects, scenarios and values

  • Promote thought, questions and discussions

  • Relax and enjoy some quiet time

Sometimes children might appear distracted or not interested in storytime, however, there are some things you could do to help;

  • Allowing your little one to select a book from a couple of options you have chosen. It can be overwhelming if they have lots to choose from, and you might also get stuck with a lengthy book so worth checking on your timings and the selection you have on offer. A little control gives them independence, teaches them choices and helps them feel valued.

  • Make sure your little one can see the pictures to follow along and keep them interested. If you are just reading at them, it doesn't have the same effect and they are likely to feel disconnected from you and the book, que bedroom chaos!

  • Don't be afraid to put on character voices! Children love role play, so bringing a book to life with accents, expressions and different tones can really engage a child. You may find the next time you read it or they play with toys, they are copying the voice you did.

  • Use a soft and calm voice when you read at bedtime, this helps to wind them down, feel relaxed and ready for sleep.

  • Chose a subject, animal, person, object, etc that they are interested in. Again, it comes down to the child's attention span and curiosity, no matter what age! A baby will want to touch and feel, so having those types of sensory books is great, for toddlers; some books with flaps, sliding images, and different textures, can be fun for them. Children from 2 years and beyond can engage with picture stories a lot easier without the extra surprises but still love them.

  • Rhyming books are excellent tools for encouraging vocabulary and engagement. Repeating the same books night after night, especially rhyming ones, can help children so much with their speech, memory and concentration!

  • Avoid noisy, light-up books before bedtime, as they can be stimulating and perhaps engage the brain too much giving them a boost of energy. However, if it works for your child then it isn't a problem, but worth being mindful of if you see or begin to see the behaviour change.

  • Some language can feel outdated or even disrespectful in some books, so I tend to change some words or skip a paragraph if I don't feel appropriate. For example, changing the word 'fat' to 'big'. Small changes can help avoid certain words from being said in an uncomfortable scenario, but it is of course down to the individual/family.

Here are some recommended reads;

  • Usborne Touchy-Feely books for babies and toddlers.

  • Busy books by Campbell.

  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Fox Oxenbury

  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

  • The Hungry Caterpiller by Eric Carle

  • The Tiger That Came to Tea, by Judith Kerr

  • The Jolly Postman and Peebo, by Janet and Allen Ahlberg

  • All Julia Donaldson books! She has so much choice for varying ages too.

  • There's a bear in your book, by Tom Fletcher (we love the whole series of these books though)

  • The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, by Jill Tomlinson

  • The day the crayons quit, by Oliver Jeffers

  • Mr Scruff, by Simon James

  • The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep, by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

  • Tell me something happy before I go to sleep, by Joyce Dunbar

  • Putting Bungee to bed, by Sacha Carr

  • Time for bed, by Mem Fox

  • Benny goes to bed by himself, by Dr. Jonathan Kushnir

There is no age too young for books, so I encourage reading in your everyday as early as possible!

Happy World Book Day!

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