bedtime and books.


It’s the end of a long busy day and time to settle down for bed. Traditionally, bedtime is story time. Reading can be a comforting and soothing activity to prepare your child for a good night’s sleep. It can also be challenging if you have multiple children or for a single parent doing it alone. I hope the following tips are ones that will help make your bedtime ritual a special and rewarding experience for you and your family.

Establish a consistent bedtime routine.

Children, like adults, need a quiet time to relax and unwind at the end of each day. Consistency allows everyone to anticipate and look forward to this exclusive time spent together.

Create a special cozy place devoid of distractions.

No phone, no television! Not only is this calm atmosphere valuable for your child, it is a wonderful opportunity for you to spend uninterrupted time with them. You can also use this time to simply talk with your child. Conversation is another means of exploring language and an integral part of literacy development.

Assemble a variety of books and quiet activities for your nighttime ritual.

Having choices to accommodate the ages and interests of your children will make it possible for everyone to participate. Act out stories. Tell stories. Sing songs. Play quiet games. Create a puppet show. Play soft music. The goal is to establish a quiet time as part of the bedtime ritual.

Model various ways of reading a book.

Look at and describe pictures. Read to a pet or stuffed animal. Have older children read to younger siblings.

What is your bedtime routine? Does it involve books? How do you manage story time with multiple children?

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Written by Marilyn Levin

Founder and director of READ New Orleans, a program for parents and children aged 6 months to 5 years that focuses on fostering a lifelong love of language and books.

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