Bedtime routines and reading to baby

At around 6 months (or possibly earlier) you may want to start a bedtime routine that includes reading a story to help your child settle to sleep.  This is believed to help with their communication, memory and vocal skills as well as being a “set point” in the day that you will stop the world and spend a little time together.  I have always loved to read books at story time to my children – especially as they became toddlers and you could actually see them begin to visualise the tale for themselves as they heard the words read out – either at bed time, or from memory as I drove along in the car.

Our favourites stories helped our family to bond, mum, dad, sisters and brothers,  as we repeated the mantras aloud – “We’re all going on a ……  my children quickly shout out “BEAR HUNT!!”

I decided to look up my personal favourites – from my own childhood as well as those I shared with my own children, and I was astonished at how old many of them are! I’ve included links on each so that you can enjoy them yourselves.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – 1969

I can still recall my playgroup teacher reading this one aloud.  We were all sat down cross legged on the carpet and I was invited to go to the front of the class and wiggle my finger through the holes in the board book!!

Mr Men – 1971

This was probably the first book set I ever owned – I guess someone must have given me them as a gift.  I used to diligently read one to myself every evening when I was aged about 6 or 7.  I used to feel very frustrated that I couldn’t quite decide who my favourite was..  Mr Tickle, Mr Bump or the one that looked like a blue cloud??? yes, that was probably my favourite – Mr Daydream.  Who is your favourite?

Guess How Much I Love You – 1994

This was the first book I bought for my own child – it brings a lump to my throat to look at it on our bookshelf.  “I love you right up to the moon – and back”.  I don’t need to tell you anymore if you have discovered the simple delight of this story, if you haven’t then take a glimpse here.  What makes this extra special is that the adult is male – children’s books tend to be based on Mummy / Child relationships, so here is one for the dads.

Dear Zoo – 1982

This “lift the flap” story was a favourite for my daughter 22 years ago – It still makes me smile when I see mums at coffee afternoons pull this out of their bags!  Ellie loved that she could repeat the familiar words with me long before actually being able to read them.  “I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet.  They sent me a ……” Here’s a lovely video version to watch with your child.

We’re All Going on a Bear Hunt – 1989

And finally my favourite of all time that I have enjoyed with each of my children, and with children that I looked after when I was a Nanny.  It brings back memories of being in back gardens and playing “let’s pretend” and memories of summer days in parks, and winter days in the snow – as I pushed a pram, put a toddler on my shoulders or held a little hand – taking big striding steps and saying “We’re all going on a …… (join in now)  BEAR HUNT!!  Going to catch a big one!  We’re not scared!!!. If you don’t know this book then check it out on You Tube

3 of my selection are in the top 25 books for babies in the past 100 years – I wonder what was your favourite childhood book and which is your favourite to share with your own little ones?

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