Your Own Bedtime Book

Teaching little ones to sleep is an art.  I wish I could say I had mastered it, but truth be told my children have never slept well.  In the process of trying to teach them to sleep I have read what feels like every book on the subject.  Sadly, no book solved our sleep issues, but I have learned some beautiful bedtime rituals that I treasure sharing with the boys.  So, now I share with you one beautiful suggestion I have read in several places:  creating your own bedtime book for your baby, toddler, or big kid.

For babies and young toddlers

Gather pictures of familiar nighttime scenes and things such as:  bath time and bath toys, blanket, nightlight, pjs, toothbrush, Mom, Dad, Child, siblings, rocking chair, bedroom, crib or bed, or anything else you think might fit.  You could draw pictures, take photos, cut pictures from magazines, or even make a book using photos from the web.  Glue pictures to cardboard pages or laminate them for babies that mouth things.   Punch holes in the pages and tie them together or link them with one-inch silver rings.  You can even buy “make your own” board books at craft stores.

Read your book together at bedtime labeling the pictures and talking to Baby about her bedtime routine.  This helps your child visualize and internalize the sequence more easily, helping provide a predictable pattern, something that will give her comfort and aid in relaxation as she settles down to bed.

Adaptations for older toddlers, preschoolers and big kids

Let older kiddos help you make the book.  You can even add words, whether it’s just labels for the photos or actual sentences telling your child’s “Bedtime Story.”  Let them help you pick a title like “Mary’s Bedtime Story” or “Night-Night, Mary”.  At my house it would probably be “I Love You All the Way to Pluto” or “See You in the A.M.” Since those are words we tend to say regularly just before we tuck our kiddos into bed.  Again, you will probably find that reading through this book together will ease transitions at bedtime.  You could even “consult” the book for what’s next in your routine.  “What’s next to do at bedtime?  Let’s look in the book and find out.”

These sweet little books may not be a magic bullet to help your child drift off, but they might make the process a tad easier for everyone.  Plus, they will certainly help you make a record of nights snuggling together, moments that will fade all too soon.

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