Books are a wonderful part of the bedtime routine but do you ever find yourself wondering what would be the best choices for the relaxing, thought-provoking, winding down of little people? Lynn Jackon, teacher and mother shares her recommendations for us all…
If evenings at your house are anything like mine, the hustle-and-bustle of homework, dinner and bath time can get quite frenetic! The battles over vegetables, hair washing and teeth brushing can become pretty boisterous. As a result, bedtime reading is important to settle down, quieten the kids’ energy in preparation for sleep and also to end each evening on a positive note. We try not to remove it from the routine, even when the kids drive us crazy, because, as all the research says, it’s so beneficial for their communication and speech skills and because it’s a fantastic way to reconnect and build relationships in the early years of childhood. Here are our family’s favourite reads for kids aged 2-5…
1. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
No bedtime book list is complete without this 1963 classic! While it’s older than almost every pre-schooler-parent on the planet, the story still captivates modern children and the muted illustrations suit the calming-for-bedtime tone.
2. Brian The Smelly Bear by Mark Chambers
The simple illustrations, the calming rhymes and the silly storyline of this book have made it a firm favourite. Brian has to be talked into the bathtub by the other animals – but not to worry, there is a happy ending!
3. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
This is set to be one of those books that our children will one day read to our grandchildren. Especially for the digger-obsessed child, the gentle rhymes contrast beautifully with the rumbling subject matter and the blues and other dark tones in the illustrations are calming.
4. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
ABC4Kids has started showing the series but this adorable book is where the Big Nutbrown Hare first said those magic words. Dads will appreciate that the parental role is filled by a male – a rarity in children’s books.
5. My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes by Eve Sutton
The silly subjects and the bouncing rhythm of this classic have made it a firm favourite since the late 1970s. Kids giggle every time at that cat from Norway who gets stuck in the doorway!
6. Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
From the writer and illustrator of The Gruffalo, this lesser-known title about a lost monkey and his search to find his mum in the jungle is presented with the same charming design and rhyme structure. Ending with a mummy-cuddle for the monkey (and not a mommy-cuddle either!), it’s a great way to end bedtime reading with a huge hug with your little one.
A love of reading is a gift you can give your child – all it takes is a little time each day. These are the times that memories are made and your child may always equate reading with the feeling of warmth and love created by this routine. This list is by no means exhaustive and I’m always looking for new titles to add to the bookshelf too – what’s your favourite bedtime read?
About the Author: Lynn Jackson is a mother of three, a wife of one and a teacher of many. Living in her hometown of Adelaide after many years travelling and teaching abroad, she attempts to find time for her passions of photography, reading, writing and skinny lattes with friends.