Getting children to bed can often be a daunting task. They want just a little more time on the iPad, just a few more minutes of television, or perhaps one more late night snack. However, in most households, bedtime is bedtime, battle or not. Therefore, busy parents need handy ways to make bedtime fun and attractive, rather than something to be dreaded for both the parents and their little ones. One way to do this is to turn bedtime into quality time, and find some good bedtime stories that both you and your child will enjoy reading time and time again. Here's a handy guide of just a few good bedtime stories that is sure to make any child look forward to bedtime.
There's nothing like the timeless classics for good bedtime stories. This is especially true when it comes to babies and toddlers. They love something simple and sleep themed for their proverbial nightcap. One of the best classics out of all the good bedtime stories is Good Night Moon. This book, by Margaret Wise Brown, is a delicate whisper that is sure to soothe even the fussiest of babies and toddlers, and could be read every night. It is definitely one your tykes will not be getting tired of anytime soon. Since newborns, infants, and toddlers are notoriously difficult to get to sleep, you will definitely want something to fall back on until your baby is sleeping through the night, or until you find that perfect nightlight that allows your toddler to sleep soundly.
Now, once your children reach school age, they may have outgrown the likes of Good Night Moon, but that does not mean that they do not still enjoy that time with their parents at the end of the night. Perhaps it is just time for a different kind of book. Never fear, though. There are classics that make good bedtime stories for older children as well.
When it comes to classics, you can almost never go wrong with fairy tales. Most children enjoy them through elementary school, at the very least. Perhaps the best, most comprehensive book of fairy tales that is also a timeless classic is Grimm's Fairy Tales.
This book is a true classic. It is the original book of fairy tales, but with themes and storylines complex enough to hold the interest of older children looking to slip into a world of fantasy prior to falling asleep each night. Further, it is chock full of stories, so you won't be getting through it in a hurry.
Contemporary Cultural Works
Perhaps you don't just want to put your child to sleep. Maybe that precious time right before bed each night is for bonding or cultural education, or engaging your child in subjects of interest to you, or to your child or even your whole family. No worries - there are books out there for that as well.
Suppose you have a pre-teen daughter who thinks that she is too old for good bedtime stories, but is also struggling with her self-esteem, as so many girls do at that age. Never fear - she might not tell you that she still wants her mom to read to her at night, but that does not mean that she doesn't still cherish that time, even if she does not tell you. A great book for this situation is She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. Written by former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton, this is a great book that lets even the most unsure of girls know that they can do anything. It is full of stories of women who grew up to do extraordinary things. Any young girl would love it.
Of course, books like these are much better for children who are a little older, but tweens still need that special time with their parents as well. Another great book that falls into this category is The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman. This is a book that shows American families in all the many forms in which they come, and can help your children understand classmates who may be unlike themselves in any number of ways. If cultural education is something you wish to teach your child at home, bedtime is a great time to do it if they are interested and ready. The Great Big Book of Families is a great place to start.
The holidays will be here before you know it, and there's nothing like some good bedtime stories to round out that perfect day of joyous family gatherings. No matter what holidays you celebrate, there are children's books that you and your children will love. One of my personal favorites is the classic, The Night Before Christmas. We all remember it. This magical story of twinkling lights and the anticipation of Santa Clause visiting is something no parent can go wrong with while choosing good bedtime stories during the holidays.
Part of the beauty of the holiday season is how many ways there are to celebrate, and how many different holidays occur during that beautiful winter season. One of those holidays is, of course, Hanukkah. There are many beautiful children's books that celebrate the beauty of this holiday. One of my favorites is Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hannukah by Nancy Cote and Lisa Glaser. Published by beloved children's book company scholastic, this book is funny, entertaining, and education. It should be in the top ten list of holiday books for children everywhere.
The Bottom Line
Good bedtime stories can serve many purposes for children of all ages. They can soothe and calm newborns, infants, and toddlers. They can create a safe and open environment for the difficult late childhood, pre-teen, and teen years. They can even be great for simple bonding experiences, or they can be the perfect end to a long, but enjoyable day of family holiday celebrations. No matter what, reading to your child should be a cherished activity. Taking time to find good bedtime stories can turn that nightly bedtime battle into something very special that everyone will enjoy.