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Bedtime: Isobel's Baby and Toddler Wish-List!

Updated: Apr 22

Inspired by singer-songwriter Hattie Briggs and her new Lullabies collaboration, this month my blog post is all about bedtime - story books, gadgets, gizmos, accessories, apps and more! After more than 15 years of baby and toddler bedtimes, this is my own selection of personal favourites to help your bedtime go more smoothly! Got your own personal favourite? Let me know and I will add it to the list!

Forget bathtime or CBeebies, the most important part of bedtime for me is the story books. Bedtime stories not only ensure a bit of close, cosy 1:1 time is included in your child's evening routine every single day, but reading with your child has also been shown to have numerous benefits to their learning and development, as well as to their mental-health and wellbeing in the long run. In terms of investments you can make in your child for their future happiness and success, reading two books with them every night has got to be one of the best (not to mention probably the cheapest and the easiest)!

Here is a selection of my own personal favourites...

Beginner bedtime books for very little ones:

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle - the perfect board book in every way! Not only is it tactile and perfectly designed for little fingers, it will teach your baby about life cycles, days of the week, numbers, food, and of course the dangers of eating too much!

  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown - hypnotise your child to sleep with this classic bedtime book! Practicing the art of mindfulness since 1947!

  • Winnie the Pooh: 10 Busy Bees a 123 Book - a very peaceful and lovely introduction to numbers and counting.

  • I Am Sam-I-Am by Dr. Seuss - a strange and fascinating tale, about never giving up (especially when it comes to trying food you think you don't like!)!

  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (flap book) - the classic flap book about finding the perfect pet, thinking about size, shape, and personality! Great for encouraging your child to make animal noises!

  • Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose by Julia Donaldson - the perfect rhythm and rhyme story book which will also introdude your child to table manners!

Problem-solving books for bigger little ones:

  • Mr Wolf's Pancakes by Jan Fearnley - this is one of my favourite books for preschoolers, because not only does it include so many recognisable fairytale characters, it also teaches the art of overcoming obstacles and challenges in life, and practicing resilience. It also has a naughty ending, which kids will love!

  • I am not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child - a brilliant and abstract story perfect for preschoolers, about all about the relationship between siblings and how to deal with bedtime procrastination.

  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson - there are so many great Julia Donaldson kids books, but this is my true favourite. It is a joy to read aloud and captivating to listen to. It is also a story about helping others and teamwork.

  • The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty by Abie Longstaff - I absolutely love Abie Longstaff and her Kittie Lacey series! Abie retells the all fairytale classics with a stylish and modern approach (and reminds us that a nice cup of tea can help in almost any stressful situation!).

  • Elmer by David McKee - a true classic with wonderful artwork that is all about being true to yourself, and why being different is very special.

  • Stuck by Oliver Jeffers - Oliver Jeffers has written several wonderful kids books, but this is my favourite. It's funny, it's thought provoking, and it is beautifully illustrated.

Bedtime is a process that involves the transition from the "awake" part of your child's day to the "asleep" part of your child's day. This often tricky transition can be made easier with a familiar pathway of signs, scents and sounds that indicate that the journey towards sleep has begun. Here are a few of my favourite bits of bedtime kit that can help smooth the way forward...

My fave bits of bedtime kit!

Of course, bedtime doesn't have to be all about the pricey gadgets and gizmos (although they do make a lovely gift!), and there are plenty of other ways to refresh your routine, and add a little bit of bedtime magic dust to your child's journey to sleep. I also love the following additions to a bedtime routine:

Some fab bedtime routine extras:

  • The Baby Sleep Time Lullabies album by The Lullababies (a brand new collaboration by singer-songwriter Hattie Briggs and a couple of other musicians and artist friends) - something really special, created with love and using real instruments and vocal harmonies. Buy the limited edition CD or digital download now!

  • Guided sleep mediation for kids - there are lots of these available for free on YouTube, Happy Minds have a variety including mediation stories and the five minute Body Scan Meditation for Kids.

  • Unpack your child's "emotional backpack" - bedtime is a good time to talk through the events of the day, and what lingering thoughts, feelings or questions might still be weighing your child down. Try asking simple questions, leaving space for your child to answer, and then giving them the chance to think of what might be a solution to the problem.

  • Have a go at massaging your baby or toddler's pressure points to calm them down before sleep! Reflexology is an ancient art of healing, and was part of Chinese, Egyptian, and Native American cultures for centuries.

  • Why not let your child choose their own bedtime story books! Find a fantastic selection of weird and wonderful books, old and new at your local library - get your child their own library card and make a weekly trip to gather books for free!

  • Worried about the "witching hour"? Do your kids go bonkers before bedtime, and start wrestling, jumping, laughing and screeching like monkey in the zoo? Don't worry, rough and tumble play before bedtime is a natural release of pent-up energy and an excellent stress-reliever, so provide a safe environment and let them work it out! They will be much more ready for sleep afterwards.

I hope these suggestions will inspire you to refresh and reimagine your evening routine for more effective, more positive bedtimes. Want to talk more about bedtimes, or feel that yours just aren't working? Get in touch today, and book your FREE 30 minute introductory call. Better bedtimes are not that far from reach!

While you are here why not read some more great tips from some of my other favourite specialists: more from Midwife and Lactation Consultant Shelley Wilson, Pre- and Post-Natal Fitness and Nutrition expert, Emma West, and many more tips on common parenting issues!

Check out my other posts for more info and advice on screen time, dinner times, fussy eaters, planning a babymoon, why your child needs a pet, and more!

Visit the rest of my website to find out more about my parenting coaching services, child development, child behaviour, and positive parenting!

Get in touch for more information on any of the topics mentioned here or elsewhere on my site, I would love to hear from you!



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