Make reading part of your child’s bedtime routine right from the start. You might think it’s not that important to start reading to babies even during the newborn stage but you’d be surprised to know that they would benefit a lot from reading.
In fact, it’s very important to start reading to babies even just after birth. Sure, they don’t have the attention span and cognitive ability yet to understand what a story is about. Additionally, their memory hasn’t been developed so they won’t remember what the book is about even if they were to understand it.
Why reading should be part of the bedtime routine
- Babies that are read to develop language skills earlier on
- It helps babies develop listening skills
- Reading helps babies become more curious which gives them an opportunity to keep learning
- It helps build their cognitive skills
And parents must continue to read out loud to their kids during toddlerhood and when they start going to school because:
- Reading helps stimulate their imagination which leads to expressing creativity
- It helps them become good problem-solvers which they will need when they enter the world of academics
- Reading helps kids become more empathetic even though they are naturally egocentric at this point of their development
- Reading helps prepare kids at this stage for understanding the written world
- It helps strengthen their memory development
Reading is one of many tools that can help provide kids with the opportunity to be successful in life and to become well-rounded people. Of course, reading to kids as part of your bedtime routine gives parents and their children special bonding time. Here is a list of our favourite books for bedtime reading:
From Ages 0 to 2:
- Llama Llama Nighty-Night by Anna Dewdney
- Nighty-Night by Leslie Patricelli
- Touch and Feel: Bedtime by DK Publishing (this book for babies helps to stimulate their senses as it is the touching kind as that is how they learn from the world around them as well)
- Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest, illustrated by Anita Jeram
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
From Ages 3 – 5
- If I Were a Kangaroo: A Bedtime Tale by Mylisa Larsen, illustrated by Anna Raff
- Brush Your Teeth, Please: A Pop-Up Book by Leslie McGuire, illustrated by Jean Pidgeon (this popup book teaches kids to brush their teeth)
- Monkey: Not Ready for Bedtime by Marc Brown
- Even Superheroes Have to Sleep by Sara Crow, illustrated by Adam Record
What other books would you recommend as part of a child’s bedtime routine?
Other important tips for a good bedtime routine:
- Create a comfortable sleep environment for your child. A Sealy cot mattress is ideal for children four and younger, giving your child the correct support. Once your child is ready to graduate from the cot mattress, invest in a good quality, bone-supporting single mattress for your child, rather than giving him or her an old hand-me-down mattress.
- Start your routine early enough that you have enough time for a calming bath, putting on pyjamas, brushing teeth, reading, snuggles and a final goodnight.
- Make your child’s bedroom a calm and inviting sleep environment. Use a night light and give your child a security object like a stuffed animal or a blanket.
- Avoid stimulating activities before bedtime. No screen time at least 30 minutes before lights out.