Sean loves books. And brushing his teeth. And gorillas.
So when you ask me: “How do I get my toddler into his pajamas every night and into bed with minimal fuss?”
My answer is this: You say, “Do you want to brush your teeth? Do you want to read ‘Goodnight Gorilla’? Yes? Well then! You need your jammies first!”
Works every time.
He sprints into his room, holds up his arms so I’ll put him on the changing table, and jibbers all the things we’re going to do after we’re done changing: “Buff teef. Goo-wight Go-wi-wah. Geen eggs an am! Goo-wight Moon. Mon-eees.” (translation for those of you who don’t speak Sean: Brush teeth, Goodnight Gorilla, Green Eggs and Ham, Goodnight Moon, and Five Monkeys Jumping On the Bed.)
As soon as his pajama-clad feet hit the carpet, he scampers into the master bathroom and onto his step stool to pick out a toothbrush (he has three), and waits for me to fill his cup with a smidgen of water and put toothpaste on it for him. Then he tells me to brush my teeth. We brush together, with him mimicking me. When I’m done, I sit him on the counter and do one final brushing for him. He rinses, I set him on the ground, and he’s off again — back to his room to the stack of books on the shelf. When I arrive, he laughs and climbs into bed and lays down. By the time I’ve sat on the edge of the bed, he’s sitting up again, sifting through the books, picking out what he wants to read first.
And then we start — he turns the pages himself, and knows the books by heart. For my part, I have everything except “Green Eggs and Ham” memorized. After we finally finish all the books, and have repeated “Goodnight Gorilla” at least four times, I deem it bed time. He protests and cries and calls for “daddy” to eek things out.
Sometimes he gets out of bed upwards of 8 times. Other times, he’ll only get up once. Usually because he wants to be tucked in again.
Its one of my favorite parts of the day. (Except when he asks for Green Eggs And Ham 4x in a row. Then I just want to strangle Dr. Seuss.)
Here are a list of some of our favorite bedtime books:
- Goodnight Gorilla
- Goodnight Moon
- The Napping House
- Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed
- Green Eggs And Ham
- Where The Wild Things Are
- The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, And The Big Hungry Bear
- Time For Bed
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Some of the books I’m adding to the mix:
I have to say, for my kids, the best books have a rhythm to them. It engages them. Allie bobs around to it, like a song. For Sean, as long as there are animal pictures, he’ll give the book a chance. Allie is still at the “I want to eat all the books” stage. Which annoys her brother to no end. I tend to read with her after she wakes up from a nap. But soon, very soon, it’ll be part of her bedtime routine too.
I can’t wait.