Why You Should Add Reading to Your Child’s Bedtime Routine
As a mother of two young children, I know firsthand just how difficult bedtime can be. Between the whining, clinging, begging and everything in between, there are some nights when enforcing a consistent bedtime routine feels like an uphill battle. But the benefits of a consistent routine far outweigh the frustration. Research from University College London found that 3-year-olds who had regular bedtime routines perform better on cognitive exams administered at age 7 than children with unstructured bedtimes. Although the exact bedtime was determined to be insignificant, consistency had a large impact on later cognitive success. The study concludes that a consistent bedtime routine helps streamline cognitive development in young children.
Taking a bath, donning comfy pajamas and brushing teeth are at the top of every bedtime agenda, but the most important component of a bedtime routine is reading.
Reading with your little one before bedtime is one of the most important things you can do for your child in the first three years to set a foundation for literacy and language skills later on. It takes no more than 20 minutes each night (unless you have a master-staller on your hands who always convinces you to read one more) and I can personally confirm that it has been an incredible bonding opportunity for me and my children. Studies have shown that reading to your child stimulates intellectual curiosity and expands the imagination, while accelerating your child’s interest in reading for pleasure. Even if your child isn’t old enough to speak or comprehend books, handling board books and listening to you read aloud helps them develop a positive relationship with books and reading. Once your child is old enough to start reading to you, those reading skills will skyrocket, along with your little one’s confidence!
Below is a list of my favorite bedtime books for children, recommended to me by other moms and organized by age level according to Scholastic:
0 - 18 Months:
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle
- Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
- Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
18 Months - 3 Years:
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Curious George by H.A. Rey
- First 100 Words by Bright Baby
3 - 5 Years:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Goodnight Houston by Jennifer Solak, Kyle Solak, and Paul Dolan
- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
- A is for Apple by Georgie Birkett
5 - 6 Years:
- The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
- Silly Suzy Goose by Petr Horacek
- Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues by Kimberly and James Dean
I would love to hear your bedtime reading suggestions. Please share them in the comments below!