There is nothing more precious than a sleeping baby – no matter the age. Go to the kid’s section of any library or bookstore and the shelves are stocked with bedtime stories - some great ones :)
The problem is, they’re all for babies and toddlers. Bedtime can be difficult for big kids too. Parents of infants rejoice when baby first sleeps through the night. When my son was a baby he was what is considered a “good sleeper”. Once he was weaned, he slept pretty soundly during the night. He’d wake up late in the mornings, stay awake for about an hour, and then he’d put himself down for a nap! I was amazed.
But every child is different and for a lucky few, sleeping through the night may arrive early. For others, it comes in the toddler years, and for some - even later. When it comes to my daughter, I’m still waiting…
My daughter struggled with sleep from infancy. She needed to be cuddled, rocked, and cajoled to sleep. During those early years when I was overwhelmed and sleep deprived, I developed what parenting experts would consider a bad habit. I would lay down with my daughter until she fell asleep. Then, I’d creep away like a ninja so she wouldn’t wake. Once she could talk, she told me some of the things she was afraid of - things like shadows and how big her dresser looked in the dark.
She’ll be 11 years old next month and she still asks me to lay down with her every night. Now she’s afraid that someone will break into our house in the middle of the night, that she's made a big mistake in her homework, or that she'll lose someone she loves. My nephew is about to turn 12 and has struggled with similar problems with falling and staying asleep all of his life.
It really isn’t true that only wee ones need comfort at bedtime. Heck, many nights I struggle with falling and staying asleep. With the pace and stimulation of modern life and the pressures that so many older kid’s feel, it’s hard for everyone to settle down.
I recently found a set of 3 simple yoga poses that calm my mind and body and have granted sound sleep most nights. One of my faves is child's pose. On a recent trip to the bookstore, I saw Miriam Gate’s beautiful book, Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story . It offers a set of calming poses and guided imagery that are great for all ages. I'm going to buy this book for my daughter and I hoping it will finally help her to relax, rest, and recharge now and for the rest of her life.
What’s your bedtime routine? Do you know any good bedtime books for big kids?
Carol Higgins-Lawrence wrote her first story at the age of five. Her father paid her a quarter for it and she's been writing ever since. She's taken a variety of courses in writing for children. Multicultural perspectives are of particular interest to her. Carol is of Jamaican descent and was born and raised in Canada. She has a BA in Communications and Sociology and she has completed coursework towards a MA in TESOL. She has worked as a literacy educator for the past 15 years. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two young children. You can visit her website at carolhl.weebly.com
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