Reading at bedtime has always been an essential part of our bedtime routine. I started reading to my first child when he was a few months old. I would sit him on my lap and read touch and feel baby books to him, and he would feel the textures on each page. We fell into a routine of reading a book before his nap and before bedtime in the evening and have been doing it ever since.
That routine of reading stayed in place when my second and third children were born. We wash faces, brush teeth, then settle onto someone’s bed with a book. Each child takes turns choosing the bedtime book. They all enjoy being read to and my boys enjoy reading books themselves. We cozy up together in bed and turn on our book light. It’s a relaxing and bonding time for us.
The bedtime book has to be something positive and light. We don’t read anything remotely scary or upsetting before bed. We have accumulated a large selection of nice, peaceful bedtime stories that the kids keep in their room. We also read stories during the day and save the more grown up themes for daytime reading.
Before we start the official routine of brushing teeth & reading, we tidy up toys, clothes or anything else that’s lying around the house. Then we have time to settle down where I encourage them to rest and unwind. Then it’s upstairs for teeth & stories. All three of my kids enjoy the bedtime routine and happily head upstairs every night.
I believe that my kids accept going to bed easily because we keep the build up to bedtime calm and stick with our set routine. Reading is an essential part of that routine. Not only does it relax the kids but it promotes a wonderful habit of reading that I hope will continue into their adulthood.