Being the mother of an almost 3-year-old and a nearly 5-month-old is crazy, exhausting, wonderful, and often chaotic. My toddler expects me to have some form of entertainment for her AT ALL TIMES. No pressure.
When I became pregnant the first time, I would often sit and think about what motherhood would be like. When we found out our first was a little girl, I immediately daydreamed about giving her bubble baths, brushing her hair, and reading to her before bed each night. That was the way I wanted our days to end. Fast forward a few years and through a lot of trials and tribulations (hello non-sleeping toddler), we FINALLY nailed it when it comes to bedtime. A huge contributing factor to our bedtime success is the time when myself and her dad read to her. I have a little area set up in her room that includes a cute tent, a pink chair, and a container full of books. Every single night she gets very excited to pick a book (or 2,3,4 etc depending on the day), climb into her bed, and read. Half the time she wants us to read and the other half of the time she wants to read to us. Granted, she’s not quite 3 years old, so she’s not nailing the story 100% but she gets close in the funny toddler sort of way (mainly because she has favorite books and wants to read the same ones often.) I love that she has a love for books. I love that she gets excited to read her books. It is exactly what I envisioned years ago.
We are lucky enough that a friend shared some information with us 2 years ago about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Dolly Parton started this program where you sign you kid up and they receive one FREE book every single month! Every month! No charge! Not even shipping! The program is for children from birth through 5 years old. That is 60 free books for each child in your house. When you sign your child up they get one free book a month and the book always coincides with their age. For instance, my 4 month old son just got a black and white cardboard book with high contrasting pages and 1 or 2 words per page but my toddler recently received a book teaching her about emotions, feelings, what they mean, what color is associated with each feeling, etc, because that’s where she is developmentally. She LOVES when new books come in the mail, especially the ones addressed to her. In the back of each book are tips for parents on how to get the most out of each book like what questions to ask, to act out certain pages, and how to guide your child through the book. It is very helpful and makes a huge difference.
Like I said, the program is 100% free, but your area does have to have a sponsor. Since we live in a large city (Charlotte NC) we have ample sponsors here so both of my kids are eligible for the program. Unfortunately, if you live in a more rural area there may not be a sponsor for your area yet. If there isn’t, the website will tell you how to go about making that happen. Click the link here -> https://imaginationlibrary.com to see if your area is eligible and if so, SIGN YOUR KID(S) UP! You won’t regret it. It has given me the bedtime routine of my dreams!