Reading is my favorite part of our bedtime routine. Not only is it fun, but educational. And it’s never too early to start. I have been reading to my girls since they were born. Heck, even before that! My husband use to read to my belly!
Reading is a fun way to spice up the bedtime routine, and it gives your baby something to look forward too. Also, if you are stuck and don’t have much of a routine, a couple books are all you need.
And Voila! You’ve got yourself a fun and easy bedtime routine.
Not sure which books to read or which ones are age appropriate? I have come up with my list of top baby and toddler books based on age and development.
At this age your baby is fascinated by your voice and enjoys rhythmic sounds. Lullabies and nursery rhymes work best to calm a baby at this age. She may not understand the words, but she loves listening to you.
Your baby’s eyesight is not that great during the first few months. Your baby will only be able to focus and see objects clearly that are more than 8-10 inches away. Which just so happens to be the distance of your face.
Your baby will also only see black and white and some shades of grey. By 3 months of age, your baby should see her first color, red. Here are some great books to start at this age:
Look, Look! By Peter Linenthal. This is a sturdy board book, full of black and white pages, with some red wording. Perfect for your baby’s developing vision. Your baby will be fascinated by this book’s colors and patterns. Babies often look hypnotized when they look at this book because it is exactly what their vision is drawn to at this young age.
Baby’s My First ABC Cloth Book This is another great black and white book. It’s soft and washable if your baby starts to play and chew on on it. It also squeaks and rattles to help stimulate your baby’s hearing development.
At this age your baby should be able to follow objects with her eyesight. Her color vision is also similar to that of an adult, so she can see all colors of the rainbow. Her hand eye coordination is developed, so she will start to grab the books and bring them to her mouth. Thick or vinyl books that withstand chewing will work best at this age. Many parents think that a baby is not interested in books because all baby wants to do is chew on them. The very opposite is true. Chewing on books, just like chewing on everything else is your baby’s way of showing interest and exploring her world through taste. Through the first year, your baby will explore through her senses. Chewing on everything including books during bedtime routine, is just one of her ways of exploring.
Cloth and vinyl books like the ones found here, are great for this age since your baby will be putting everything in her mouth.
By 6 months your baby should be less interested in chewing her books and will become more interested in looking at them and following along.
Around 8-9 months, your baby should be able to help turn the pages. It’s a great time to start some of the favorite classics like Goodnight Moon, and Brown Bear that will stick with your little one until she is much older.
By 12-18 months your child will love following along, pointing to objects, repeating some words. Singing songs, and lullabies is also fun at this age as your child starts to participate. Ask your baby “what’s that?” Or “where is the bunny?” You will start to see how engaged a baby this age can be in books. It’s quite fascinating.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. This is a perfect book for the end of the day. The little bunny says good night to everything in his room and to the moon. This has been a beloved book by many generations.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? This book is amazing, from the colors to the rhythmic storyline, children of all ages adore this book. This one is a must!
I Love You Through and Through. I absolutely LOVE this book and the love I get to show my little ones when I read this to them. “I love your sad side, your mad side, your silly side” and so much more! This book is so incredibly sweet and your little one will feel so loved before bed.
Where’s Baby’s Books by Karen Katz, are by far the best books to engage your child in a game of “where’s that/peek a boo?”. Karen Katz makes a variety of these books. Your child can open the flap and find a belly button, toes, nose, and so much more. This one comes in box set for only $10, and they are all amazing. Definitely one of my favorites.
First 100 Words by Roger Priddy. This is a great educational book. It helps your baby with associating words and meaning. You can also ask your baby to point to things, and help her learn her first words.
This is a really fun age for books, and you can use it as a learning tool. You can practice ABC’s 123’s, Animals, Colors, and Sounds.
At this age your child may also exhibit some fears. Many children this age also start preschool, so there are some great books that help with the anxiety of school. At some point between 2-3yrs old you will be switching your baby from a crib to a toddler bed. Getting some new books to ease the fears and to get your child ready for this big change will help.
Bright Baby Colors, ABC, and Numbers. This is an amazing book for learning colors, numbers, shapes, opposites and the alphabet. You and your child will really enjoy this one.
Llama Llama Red Pajama By Anna Dewdney is a great book for children that are afraid of going to bed without mommy. It’s rhythmic, fun, and helps with those nighttime fears because it explains that mommy is always near by.
The Monster at the End of This Book. This is a hilarious book about “Monsters” that will surely ease your child’s fears. I would say it’s appropriate starting at age 2yrs all the way up to 8yrs old.
Llama Llama Misses Mama is by far my favorite book for separation anxiety such as during the first few weeks of school. This book is sweet, simple, and easy for a young child to understand.
The Kissing Hand by Ruth E. Harper is another great book for children missing mommy at school. Chester the raccoon doesn’t want to go to school and is afraid. So mommy raccoon comes up with a neat way to make chester feel better by kissing his hand.
Big Enough for a Bed (Sesame Street) is great book for toddler bed transition. Elmo is too big for his crib, but is uneasy about sleeping in a big bed. With a little help from his lovey, he starts loving his new bed.
A bed of Your Own by Mij Kelley. Suzy Sue has trouble falling asleep in her bed because the animals are crowding her. This funny and rhyming book will give your child a good laugh and will ease her tension about going to bed.
So there you go! My favorite bedtime books for babies and toddlers. What are some of your favorites? I would love to hear about some others, please comment below.