Reading aloud to your child establishes a wonderful bedtime routine. It has the benefit of improving language (both understanding of language and use of language), encouraging attention, providing a calm, quiet way to wind down before bed, and encourages a lifelong love of reading. Try having your child choose a book to read before bedtime. You can offer a choice of two and allow him or her to make a choice by pointing, reaching, or verbally telling you.
If your child isn’t ready to listen to all the words, you can just name the pictures, have your child name the pictures, point to familiar things, and talk about what you see. It’s a great time to emphasize vocabulary, including nouns and action words. Make reading interactive by including your child in the activity, even if it’s just turning the pages.
Also, as things get busier and busier around this time, don’t forget that not all attempts to communicate are made verbally. If your child hands you a toy, points to an object, or leads you to something that he or she wants, that is communication! These non-verbal communications can be reinforced with a verbal description of what your child is really trying to say (e.g., “Oh, you want me to play,” “Yes, I see the plane,” and “You want juice”). Give your child the opportunity to hear the words associated with these communicative efforts.
Activities to try at home:
- Put teddy bears to bed
- Establish a bedtime routine with imitation of gestures (e.g., yawning, blowing kisses, putting your finger to your lips and saying “shhh”)
- Talk about your morning routine of waking up, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, going to school, etc.
- Give dolls/favorite toys a bath before putting them to bed and then wake them up
- Look at the sky and talk about the sun, moon and stars. Label that daytime is light and nighttime is dark.
Snowman’s Nose Poem
A little, white snowman
Had a [carrot] nose
Along came a [bunny],
And what do you suppose?
The hungry little [bunny],
Looking for it’s lunch,
Ate the snowman’s [carrot] nose –
Nibble, nibble, crunch!!
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
The Napping House by Lois Ehlert Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na by Sherri Duskey Rinker