As the parent of a baby myself, the moment just after bedtime is one of my favorite parts of each day. Whether I’m feeling the sweet relief of being finally DONE or the warm afterglow of our cuddling, it’s all good.
I strongly believe that reading before bedtime is an essential part of the nighttime routine. In fact, if there were an official job description for being Parent, ability to read during evening hours without falling asleep would most certainly be on the list of requirements. Not only does the bedtime story prep a child for sleep by establishing a predictable transitional routine, but it also boosts imagination and brainpower. Plus, it can be pleasant for both of you. (I swear.)
Here are some of my tips for a sweeter bedtime.
1.Get comfy. I usually will put a small baby in my lap, but snuggling side-by-side works too. What doesn’t work is a cramped position with crappy lighting where a parent can’t relax.
2. Read something you both like. Pick a book with simple rhymes and funny pictures that you’re not sick of. (Confession: I hide the books I can’t tolerate when we’re choosing.) There are so many fun kid stories out there, why suffer? The babylit series offers a baby-fied interpretation of the classics— Romeo + Juliet is re-imagined as a counting book, while Sense + Sensibility teaches opposites.
3. Pay attention to the details. Point out illustrations to your little one as you read. Are the characters doing anything interesting? Can you yawn or lie down when they do? Does the little duck in the story have a lovey just like your child’s?
4. Land the plane. Close it down with a sleepy story to encourage yawning and going to bed once the last page is turned. That final story should have a name like Goodnight, Noodle or Nighttime Ninja rather than Good Morning, Rodeo.