We’ve all heard about the amazing benefits of reading to and with your children. Not only does reading allow for quality bonding time between children and their caregivers (oh, give me all the snuggles!), but research has shown that it also boosts their brain development. And the best thing is that it’s never to early too start!
Reading has always been a huge part of our daily bedtime routine with our children. Not only have our children grown to expect it, but some of our very favorite memories have been made while flipping through the pages of our favorite books together. I have very fond memories of when I was a little girl, and my mom would lay in bed with me and read my favorite books. I love that I can create those experiences with my children as well.
Although it was hard to narrow it down, here are some of our very favorite bedtime (or anytime!) books.
- I Love You, Stinky Face, by Lisa McCourt. If you were to take a microscope into my heart, you would find a little corner of it saved exclusively for this book. It was given to us as a gift for our oldest when she was a baby. And this book was quite literally loved to pieces. We read it so often that it came completely apart. In this story, a little boy asks his mother question after question as he himself is trying to go to sleep. He asks things like, “Mama, what if I were a big scary ape? Would you still love me then?” She always assures him that no matter what, she will always love him.
- The Little Bear Series, by Else Holmelund Minarek. Right next to the spot where you can find the I Love You, Stinky Face, in my heart is an entire section for all things Little Bear. I love Little Bear. That’s probably an understatement. We started reading the stories in this series to our children when they were around two years old. There aren’t many pictures in the different stories, but our kids haven’t minded. Little Bear is an adorable little bear who finds himself on different adventures that stem from his very active imagination. The stories are incredibly sweet and also soothing, and I hope to one day read these to my grandchildren as well because they are absolutely timeless.
- Frog and Toad Series, by Arnold Lobel. The first time I was introduced to these was by my fifth grade teacher. I vividly remember sitting as a class together on a rug, listening to her make up different voices for the different characters. I can still almost hear them in my head if I try. That’s why I was super excited to share these with my older kids these last couple of years. Like the books in the Little Bear series, the stories are very simple and sweet. The kids love to read about how Frog and Toad spend their days, and their almost unexpected relationship. Toad can sometimes be a little grumpy, which is the opposite of Frog, but you can’t help but love him.
- Good Night Yoga, by Miriam Gates. We purchased this book for our daughter, who, thanks to preschool, has developed a love for doing yoga. (Which, she has now passed on to her little brother. They like getting up early on the weekends and do yoga together. I’m learning all sort of poses from them!) As you read the book, you’re instructed to try out different yoga poses that are meant to relax your child’s body and mind, which will hopefully help them get a more restful sleep. It’s a great way to wind down after a busy day.
- The Book with No Pictures, by B.J Novak. I have to admit it. I was a little unsure of how open my kids would be to a book with not a single picture in it. Turns out that this book is fun and silly enough where they are not even needed! This is a book that basically talks about itself and how there aren't any pictures. It makes the reader say silly things and make absurd sounds, and it always has us laughing together. I have found that on mornings where my kids talk about having bad dreams the night before, I try to have us read books that are silly or especially lighthearted the following night so they go to bed with good and happy thoughts in their head.
What are some of your favorite books to read before bed with your children?-Karim Jones