Top Bedtime Books for Little Ones

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We've had quite the trying week over here, so for I think the first time since we started it, we took an unscheduled Latticed Learning break.

I'll be back next week with the latest lesson, but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you something I get asked about quite often.

Do you have any great bedtime books that you love and would recommend?

I can't help but laugh, because we do have a bunch that we love and that I get the joy of reading practically every. single. night.

Yes, all of them - one after another - and let me tell you, they really work their magic because not only does Gv conk out after listening to them all, but I do, too.

Right after Gv was born, I put together a little grouping of all the books we had that focused on going to sleep.  I've kept it in the master bathroom, which is where she and I spend approximately 1.75 hours during the course of our going-to-bed routine.  

We actually read these back there, usually on the floor (or sometimes while making one final potty attempt), and then we head off to bed.

There's all kinds of evidence that beds should only be for sleeping and that even reading can disrupt sleep, so that's why we keep the books out of the bed.  (Well, for her at least, because G and I certainly don't set any kind of good example with that!)

Here are the books in our bedtime stash, in no particular order, because they're all just that great:

Good Night Teddy is one of those fun fabric books with the attached animal that you can insert on all the pages.  This one has been particularly helpful in getting Gv to brush her teeth - "like Teddy" and then to make the transition, mentally, to get tucked into bed just like him.

Good Night, Gorilla - I also have the paperback version from my classroom, but we prefer the board book for before bed.  There's just something about holding something more substantial in your hands that changes the mood and helps us get down to the business of falling asleep.

Five Wishing Stars is quick, rhyming, tactile, and has an extra coolness factor, since the little raised stars actually glow in the dark (which totally freaked me out the first time I walked back into the dark bathroom and saw five "eyes" glowing at me!)

(Good Night, Mr. Moon) Little Bunny is an extremely short book that follows Little Bunny (there are books for other animals, too) as he prepares for a good night's sleep.

 The Going to Bed Book has everything we love in a great children's book: cute illustrations, rhyming text, and plenty of silliness.

Goodnight Moon is one that everyone knows and probably has at home.  I never really "got" this book or saw what the big deal with it was, but when Gv was just getting to that stage where her awareness seemed to be flickering forth like a light bulb, I began to appreciate all the little details that can be found on each page.  So much to talk about and have your little one point out to you, besides just reading the words.

The Usborne Book of Lullabies -  We got this book as a hand-me-down (thank you, friend!) and apparently it originally came with a CD, but we haven't missed it one bit.  This is a large board book, with tabs to help turn each page and plenty of neat, metallic highlights on all of the whimsical illustrations for the traditional, familiar lullaby rhymes it includes.

Wish Upon a Star is another large board book that not only peeks in on an adorable bear as he gazes up into the sky at night, but has shimmery, metallic cut-out stars on each page for your little one to count down with.

The Napping House is one of my favorites to read (or even recite in the car, while sitting at an extremely loooong red light as your toddler yells, "Go, Mommy, Go!")  It's one of those repetitive rhymes that your little one will quickly learn so that you can both "read" it together while he or she is still very small.

Lull-a-bye, Little One is another of my favorites to read to Gv.  It has wonderfully rhyming text, adorable illustrations, and really gets everyone in the mood to fall asleep (make sure to read slower and quieter as you turn the pages, finishing at the end with a whisper!)

Going to Sleep on the Farm is repetitive, in a good way.  A little boy is playing with his farm animals with his father, then begins to ask how each animal goes to sleep as they put them all away.  The process puts the little boy to sleep, and will most likely send your little one off to dreamland, too.

Goodnight Little One is easily my favorite Margaret Wise Brown book.  Its sing-songy, rhyming text highlights several different animals (each gorgeously illustrated) as they close their eyes for the night.

Bedtime Peekaboo! has lots of flaps and fun things to feel, which makes it a great choice for babies - but Gv continues to enjoy reading it even now and usually flips through it on her own at the beginning of our book binge every night.

The Baby's Bedtime Book - I'm warning you, this book is long and you probably won't like every one of the twenty-seven lullabies and rhymes it includes, but it encompasses such a wide variety of them, you're sure to find a handful that you really love.  That's my tip to reading this book - just find a few that you really enjoy and then pretend those are the only ones that exist.  Its illustrations are a little too frou-frou for my taste, but I can see how they'd be beautiful, if you like that sort of thing.

So there you have it, our favorite books that are guaranteed to hasten the arrival of Mr. Sandman.  Be sure to check them out for yourself!

Do you have special books that you only read at bedtime, or do you pick different things each night?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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