Bedtime routine: reading a BOOK
A good way to wind down and the last step before going to bed!
When I prepare a coaching for a family, I always detail the step for a nurturing, calming bedtime routine. If not already in place, I introduce or I highlight the importance of reading a book. Parents often think that before 12-18 months baby/toddlers don't really understand or are not able to handle and listen to a story. It is not true!
We can introduce a book during the bedtime routine starting from 6 months of age.
At the beginning they will find it an amazing toy and will try to manipulate it (even gracelessly!) all the time, so that you will have the impression that they don't like it. Please, do not worry about that, just continue and follow my instruction on how to chose the right book for each age range.
Around the 6th month of age:
I would propose to your little one a short book, with simple and positive images. At this age I absolutely love the musical ones. We have a large choice on the market, from Gallimard-Jeunesse or Hachette, for example. Here a sample:
These are very short books, with simple images and something that a little baby is already familiar with (as at this age we generally propose soft books with images of animals, etc).
Around the 9th month of age:
As your baby will became older, you can go for a longer lecture. These are my favourite ones:
always musical, but with longer songs
or a regular one. The book talks about the fact that T'Choupi has lost his lovey and looks for it in every room of the house, until he finds it in his bed and then he can go to bed. The text for each pages are short and very easy to understand.
Around the 12th month of age (and after)
Around the year your child will become more interested in regular stories. I would recommend this book:
I received it as a gift for my daughter's 1st birthday from Laure Lewis, one of the most beautiful person I met in the last years. So you can imagine how I can be attached to this book :-) and I cannot avoid to advice it all the time. This book is just perfect: short, with positive images, both color and black&white.
As you child grows, you can then choose the book you want, based also on a specific mood (for example, if she/he going through a separation anxiety period you would go for "Guess how much I love you", from Sam McBratney).
The most important thing you should consider while building and implementing a good, solid routine is to propose to your baby/toddler the same book for a pretty long period of time (at least 2 months). In this way you want to give her the possibility to create a stable, positive association that will last long.
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Valeria De Grandis
Valeria is a certified Gentle Sleep Coach, a Doula and a Baby Massage Instructor. She helps families and friends in Geneva canton and France voisine (visiting families in their own places or in her cabinet) or abroad (by video and phone calls). She is the founder of Rising Little Stars and practices in three languages (Italian, English and French).