Why Bedtime Books Are Better than Bedtime Routine Charts

We’ve been reading (note: reading) about the trend toward bedtime routine charts and wanted to pen this opinion piece about why bedtime routine books are simply, well, better, in our humble opinion!  Don’t get us wrong, charts can play a very important role in tracking progress of household chores, but books are a much more gentle way of teaching toddlers this new nightly routine as they gain independence. 

Here are a few of the most salient points we found that remind us to open up and explore the magical world of books when teaching a bedtime routine...

Books help kids slow down and focus, while listening to their parents speak to them in a calming, clear and connected voice.  Similarly, books help adults slow down and connect with children on a softer level when they are in a sharing rather than a directing mode of communication.

In their very format, books naturally bring a sense of sharing between people.  Even the very act of opening up a book across both adult and child, while they enjoy the story and imagery together is a form of shared time and space that bedtime routine charts do not provide.

mom reading bedtime book to toddler

Books engage kids in a natural, uninterrupted one-on-one time with their parents, when the focus is on the story that each can enjoy together, ask questions about, giggle about and understand together in a calm and connected environment, which prepares kids for sleep.

Books help parents find an outlet to be “silly” with their kids, with different voices of characters, sounds and fun connecting points that lessen the emphasis on the parent child relationship and showcase more of a sharing environment.

Book reading encourages kids to learn to read on their own by introducing letters and letter sounds.  Plus, it exhibits the magic of being drawn into a story and using one’s imagination and appreciation for story, connecting with a character and learning new things.

Books show the bedtime routine activity in a much bigger picture than a small graphic on a chart on the wall making it easier for the child to relate to the activity and picture themselves doing it.

bedtime routine book for toddlers

Bedtime routine charts make bedtime feel like a dreaded chore and only adds pressure that may take away from the element of calm which is important to be established. When books showcase a bedtime routine, they can be presented to kids as a natural element of life, like eating. In addition, books can literally walk children through the activity in a story format instead of making it feel like a long list. 

Bedtime books subtly teach the bedtime schedule in a softer, more engaging manor, whereas charts present activities as progress to be made by actively placing a star in a graph.  

Our case for books is based on how they enable us to connect to each other and a larger story first and foremost.  When that story is an outline that helps establish a routine like bedtime, it is nice to feel relaxed and as if we are moving through that story while learning the steps one by one.  In addition, reading brings exponential benefits including building vocabulary, empathy and connection that a chart cannot engage in its very essence.

Truthfully, bedtime routine books and bedtime routine charts could be used very well together, but only after the initial routine has been taught using the amazing power of books. 

You can buy our bedtime routine book: My Ready for Bed Routine for $12.99

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bedtime books are more effective than bedtime routine charts for toddlers

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