I started reading to my twins at about 16 weeks gestation! The way I saw it, it’s never too soon to create good habits for lifelong reading. You might think that newborns are too young for stories, but it’s a perfect age to read to your baby! For one thing, they’re not going anywhere, and all they want is to hear the sound of your voice. Making stories part of a new baby’s bedtime ritual sets the foundation for lifelong reading! As your baby snuggles with you to listen they are learning to connect books with that warm cozy feeling. Bedtime stories also help wind down from the day and create a nice, sleepy atmosphere. Babies can’t tell time so these little routines help them to know what’s coming next and that predictability makes them feel calm and safe. These books have been part of our bedtime routine since we brought the twins home from the hospital and sharing them together has been the best part of my day!
- Welcome by Mo Willems; I’m a huge Mo Willems fan so when I saw this one I had to pick it up! It’s basically written as a user’s guide to life. It tells your new baby what to expect from the big wide world. Be warned: it’s definitely written for adults and newborns, not necessarily little kids. He uses a lot of big words and fairly sophisticated humor. But the drawings are perfect for newborns, all bold black silhouettes and bright colors, and although the text doesn’t rhyme, it has a great rhythm and lots of repetition. I genuinely enjoyed reading it and the boys found the pictures interesting and the words relaxing. Get “Welcome”
- Hush, a Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho; I’ve been reading this to classes of students for years when I need them to chill out for a bit! The repetitive text is incredibly soothing and the pictures are a very calming neutral palette. It’s our favorite bedtime story. Get “Hush! A Thai Lullaby”
- On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman; One of our NICU nurses gave copies of this book to each of the boys, and it soon became another bedtime favorite. The rhymes are great, and the message is loving without being over the top. The boys especially loved it when I chanted their names. Bonus: the pictures are beautiful. Here it is
- I Just Want to Say Goodnight By Rachel Isadora; Lala lives in an African village, and before she’ll agree to go to bed, she has to go around and say goodnight to all the different animals. This one doesn’t rhyme either but it is repetitive and has great rhythm, and once again, super beautiful illustrations. I also like how she ends with “I just want to say goodnight to my book” Check it out!
- All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee; This is another one that’s better for newborns than older kids. The concepts behind the text are pretty abstract, but it rhymes and the rhythm just mellows everyone (including me!) right out! The pictures are just classy and awesome. This is now the last book I read every night (Except for “Goodnight Moon”, of course!) and it sets the tone for peaceful sleep. Find it here
- Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers; this book has the same illustrator as “All the World” so you know the pictures are great. The book talks about how babies everywhere are the same; they’re fed, they’re dressed, etc (and, of course, they’re loved!). It does rhyme and the message is lovely. Get Everywhere Babies
- The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton; this one is a bedtime gem. Great rhymes, funny illustrations, not too long and the last page is wonderful: “The moon is high, the sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep.” Don’t miss this one
Do you have any favorite bedtime stories that I’ve missed?
For more ideas about ways to read with your baby check out This page
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