After a long day of juggling diaper changes, feeds, and housework, you may feel too tired to read to your baby before bed – besides, it’s not like your little one can understand what you’re saying. But reading aloud to your baby is a great bonding activity as your baby feels safe and secure simply listening to your voice. Furthermore, reading to your baby provides encouragement to communicate and helps to develop your baby’s memory and listening skills. A bedtime story will also become a part of your baby’s sleep ritual which will help your child fall asleep more easily as they grow up.
We've rounded up the best books to read to your baby before putting them down for bed. We promise they'll each be worth snuggling up for with your little one even after a tiring day.
1. Goodnight Moon
Good night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is probably the most famous bedtime books ever written. The simple rhymes set the perfect soothing mood for babies as you say goodnight to the moon, stars and objects in the room. Even if your little one is too young to understand the words, simply hearing your soothing voice will help them fall asleep. Studies show that children whose parents read to them often when they are still infants are less likely to have reading problems when they get older.
2. Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book has a wide range of imaginative characters from Biffer Baum birds building their nests to the Herk-Heimer Sisters brushing their teeth before going to bed. This is a pretty long story and is perfect if your baby has problems falling asleep. The book is about how yawns are contagious so don’t be surprised if you nod off while reading this book to your baby!
3. Sleepy Kittens
Sleepy Kittens by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio is a beautiful finger puppet book that allows you to control three little kittens who are reluctant to go to bed. Infants and toddlers will be thrilled with the interactive nature of this book as well as the lilting rhymes that will keep them engaged but not overexcited.
4. If Animals Kissed Goodnight
If Animals Kissed Goodnight by Ann Paul is the perfect book for parents who want to instill a love of animals in their children as early as possible. The soft colors used for the cute illustrations coupled with fun rhymes makes this a winning bedtime read that will have your baby relaxed and sleepy within minutes. Since the book is all about goodnight kisses, you can punctuate your reading with soft soothing kisses to help lull your baby to sleep.
5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Finger Puppet Book
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle follows a caterpillar that eats various foods before turning into a butterfly. This book is a great way to introduce your child to different fruits, foods and numbers from an early age. You can continue to read this book to your child as they grow up and even use it to illustrate the importance of food as well as to help them imagine new foods that the caterpillar could try.
6. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker is an engaging book for babies and toddlers. The book goes through the various types of trucks and you can use sound effects to add to the fun. It’s a pretty long read so you can slow down the pace once you get to the middle of the book to create a winding down atmosphere that helps your child relax and fall asleep.
7. Goodnight Darth Vader
Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown is the ideal book for Star Wars fans who believe that it’s never too early to teach their kids the ways of the force! To be fair, this book is probably more enjoyable for parents than babies as it covers various Star Wars characters, movie scenes and trivia. As a harried parent, you can take solace in the fact that even Darth Vader has known the frustration of energetic and rambunctious children unwilling to go to bed.
The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Baby
According to experts at What to Expect, reading out loud to your baby can help your child’s social and emotional development as well as lower the risk of attention problems and hyperactivity later on. Before you start reading your child their bedtime story, make sure that they are comfortable and the lights are turned down low to get them ready for sleep.
We recommend putting your baby in a Dreamland Baby Weighted Sack before starting your bedtime story (if your baby is a back sleeper) as this will mimic your hug and give your baby a feeling of security to help them fall asleep and stay asleep longer. A weighted sack also promotes self-soothing after feeds which is the first of many important skills babies learn as they grow older. If you are not yet due and still preparing your baby’s nursery, make sure to invest in a weighted swaddle and blanket and all of the sweet books we suggested above as these will enhance your baby’s sleep and development.