As a pediatrician, I talk about sleep habits every day. And I admit to my patient families that my girls weren't the best sleepers. Despite that, we still tried to establish a routine early on: after Mini Me started solids at six months of age, Mr. Bookworm would feed her a rice cereal snack and read her books. It was usually his routine with Mini Me and Little Lion because then I would hunker down and breast feed or cluster feed them to sleep.
Early reading is great for language development, but also for bonding with your baby. And, obviously, it worked in our case as both our girls are bookworms and writers. Though I also admit that we have to take away the books at bedtime now to get them to bed! And, our biggest punishment in our house is to have books taken away for not listening or misbehaving.
I have to admit that I miss reading along with my girls. We do make sure to do a family read-aloud together but it's no longer a nightly thing. However, I just announced to the girls that we are going to start having family read-aloud time on Sunday evenings so we can get back on track and bond together over books before starting back to the weekly grind.
My sister's three-year old twins are having a hard time getting to bed. They want to stay up longer, especially Piggie, the girl. (Girls in our family are stubborn....Sorry, D.) And though my sister and brother-in-law have a great routine--well, sometimes (always) it's really the kids in charge.
One way to re-focus on bedtime is to have the last book of the night be something about bedtime. We have some all-time faves, including The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton. And now, Laurie Berkner has teamed up with Camille Garoche to translate her "Pillowland" song into the picture book market.
I've established that we're huge fans of Laurie Berkner and her music, and we were especially lucky to have met her at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. She was promoting her first foray into picture books, We are the Dinosaurs, which was illustrated by one of our other favorites, Ben Clanton. Last fall I reviewed her latest album that involved dance re-mixes of some of her popular children's songs. And, now I'm excited to discuss Pillowland with you. Unlike We Are the Dinosaurs or the upcoming Monster Boogie (Can't wait, can't wait, CAN'T WAIT!), I'm not as familiar with the tune of Pillowland. So, of course, I went to Laurie Berkner's youTube channel to check it out.
Pillowland is a sweet lullaby for toddlers and babies. And, as you can see from the sneak peeks above in Berkner's video, Camille Garoche's illustrations are charming, diverse, and engaging. I love that Pillowland invites the reader on a journey of the imagination, perhaps off in their own dreamland. It's exciting in a calm and soothing way that doesn't wind up the kids right before bedtime.
Side note: my twin sister used to love to do that to Mini Me when she was a baby/tot. She'd literally wind up one of Mini Me's legs and sing-song that she was going to to "wind her up!", to which Mini Me would erupt in peals of giggles. And I'd roll my eyes because I knew my work was cut out for me.
Pillowland is the perfect story book lullaby for little ones. Berkner starts off her lyrics with an introduction to a kingdom far away, in which everyone is wearing pajamas and almost everything is made out of pillows. Even better is that the reader will actually get to meet the King and Queen of this kingdom, with the queen full of fun twisting braids and secrets that she shares. Garoche uses 3D collage and paper cut-outs to create this magical world of Pillowland. To start sending your kids off to bedtime in Pillowland, check here. (Amazon Affiliate links, see below for more information.)
Or, if yours are all wound up anyway, you can (im)patiently wait with me for Monster Boogie to be released.
Diversity side note: As with Laurie Berkner's all-inclusive music videos, Camille Garoche's illustrations include kids of various backgrounds. In fact, I love how Garoche depicted the King and Queen especially in this picture book. It's not mentioned, it just is.
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
Do you have a bedtime routine? Do you have a favorite lullaby you sing to your little ones? I have a made-up one that Mini Me still asks me to sing to her when she can't sleep. Let me know yours in the comment section below.