There are many excuses your youngster can come up with for not going to bed. Thirsty, too dark, worried about monsters, too many wiggles, the wrong pajamas, or just not tired (or so your child may think!). No wonder so many children’s books end with a good night scene. Winding down and finally sleeping is something all parents are trying to encourage, for a well-rested child the next day and for parents to have some quiet time of their own.
Consistent routines help make bedtime easier. An hour before “lights out,” intentionally do quieter activities with your child. Then go through the same steps each night to help your child prepare for sleep. Maybe brush teeth, change into PJs, pick out a stuffed animal friend to bring to bed, and definitely read books!
Reading a few books at bedtime can ease the transition from play to sleep and give you and your child some “snuggle time” together. Try some books of these books about bedtime and send me the titles of your family’s bedtime favorites at: Katrina@familyreading.org.
“Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney covers all the possible reasons that your own little llama won’t go to bed. When it becomes a loud “llama-drama,” mama steps in and reassures her child that it’s going to be all right. Young children will love the real-life concerns about going to bed and the comforting resolution by the mom.
“Shadow Night” by Kay Charao. A boy is frightened of the shadows in his room until his parents show him how to make hand shadows. His dad tells a story using all the animals his hands can make like spiders, snail, birds, and finally a boy shadow monster!
“The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed” by Helen Cooper. A boy is trying to go to sleep during the summer, but it’s still light outside when it’s bedtime. It’s hard to sleep! He goes on an imaginary journey in his toy car, past all the toys in his room, which have become large and interactive. His toy train, stuffed lion, and model castle are all life-sized and as fun as an amusement park. Finally, after his toyland adventure, he falls off to sleep.
“The Squeaky Door” retold by Margaret Read MacDonald, pictures by Mary Newell DePalma. This is a very funny story about a boy staying overnight at his grandma’s house. Grandma has a surprise for her grandson. On this visit he gets to sleep in the big brass bed all by himself! But, it is a little scary in the big bed, in the dark, with a squeaky door. Grandma tries to comfort him with the cat, the dog, and more animals–until the bed breaks!