Heading to bed at a decent time and getting a good night’s sleep is important for our children. A well-rested child will display better cognitive ability, a more pleasant mood and temperament, and a stronger immune system. While an important component of proper sleep hygiene is to follow a consistent and soothing bedtime routine, it can also be a time to tie in some reading and comprehension.
No matter your child’s age, reading together before bedtime not only fosters the love of reading but it also allows you and your child to slow down and connect before bedtime. Some days can prove to be so hectic that filling your family’s attachment tank can be tough and it’s because of this that the #BringBackBedtime initiative was created as a long-term movement to re-establishing the bedtime routine between parent and child to better connect and build attachment with our loved ones, while at the same time promoting proper sleep hygiene for the entire family.
Create the Perfect Bedtime Reading Nook
The first step in reading together at bedtime is creating the perfect literary environment, but does it have to be in your child’s bed? What if you carved out a special bedtime nook in their room where together you can curl up and get caught up about your day, or even practice some schoolwork?
I created this fun magnetic board for my daughter’s room. She and I have a blast with it and it was super easy and affordable to make. Head over to the dollar store and buy a large size cookie sheet. Personalize it with duct tape and now your child has their own magnetic board for reading flash cards and creating your own stories.
You can also buy a plain canvas and collect different felt story boards available at most dollar and craft stores. Using foam letters start off the story yourself and then let your child’s imagination run wild. Every night they can create their own story or add on different chapters. This is a great idea for some imaginative play and a great form of “output” right before bed.
Family Book Club Fun
And lastly why not start your own family book club with some of your favourite books. The age of your child would dictate how you conduct your book club discussions and questions.
For toddlers and preschoolers mom or dad can pick out a few favourite stories to read before bedtime each week. You can even choose a story that helps your child understand the importance of sleep, creating a healthy relationship between sleep and your child. Even at this age a book club can be created with certain age appropriate questions.
- Why do you want to read this book?
- What do you think this book is about?
- How does this story make you feel?
When they enter elementary school First Readers are a great choice to start practicing the skill of reading with your child and slowly your book club discussions can begin to grow.
- Is this story real or make believe?
- Who’s the main character?
- What will happen next in the story?
Once they are old enough to read themselves why not choose a book that both of you can read together and start a true book club complete with weekly discussions and questions?
- How do you feel about the main character?
- What other characters do you like?
- How do you think the story will end?
- How would you like the story to end?
- How did the story make you feel?
- What didn’t you like about the book?
- What did you learn from the story?
Reading together at any age provides the perfect backdrop for a calming and relaxing activity right before bedtime. Create your family book club in order to bring back bedtime and connect, and create the love of reading with your child.