Friday, April 6, 2012
Bedtime Rituals And The Books We Love
As some of you already know, I have a seven year old daughter; and similar to children everywhere, she rarely wants to go to bed at her designated bedtime. When she was very small our bedtime ritual included rocking in her very own bedroom rocking chair until she fell asleep. I would hold her small body across me and it would stretch from one side of the rocker to the other. This of course, at her insistence, was accompanied by my singing. Although a cherished part of our evenings for several years, she eventually grew too large for me to hold with her long legs dangling over the edge. She also grew much too heavy for me to easily carry her and slip her into bed. So alas, we had to come up with a new nighttime ritual.
We graduated to her getting into bed and listening to an instrumental cd in her boombox. We would set it to play continuously and this seemed to help her sleep the night through. Of course before starting the music it was imperative to read a bedtime story. One of her favorites has always been Geraldine's Blanket which I read with a Southern accent that still seems to delight her to this day.
Another favorite for both of us is Snuggle Up Sleepy Ones. There is one part of this beautiful rhyming lullaby that talks of monkeys begging for "five more minutes please". That always make both of us giggle because she constantly tries to get an additional five minutes before bed.
This year, as she entered first grade and was required to read extensively and do homework, she has opted to skip bedtime stories so she can stay up until the very last minute. Weekends are a bit different; however, and she has recently started asking to read a book by flashlight once she has said her prayers and I have turned out the light. The first time she read a relatively short book and fell asleep soon afterwards. The next night she became a little more cunning about extending her reading time and she informed me that she was going to pick a much longer book. She ended up picking out Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess.
And last night, she picked the longest book she owns Beatrix Potter's Nursery Rhyme Book which was a gift from a family friend. As I listened to her over the bedroom monitor, I smiled with joy because she loves reading so much; and I imagine that years from now reading will be a part of her own children's bedtime rituals.
The rituals have changed as she has grown, but one thing remains the same. We always try to make bedtime fun and something to be looked forward to instead of dreaded. But even more important then that, we are making memories that will last a lifetime. What rituals and bedtime fun have become a part of your children's evenings?
Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!