A couple of months ago we decided to change Freya’s bedtime routine because the old one clearly no longer worked.
In the past you could guarantee that, however bad the rest of the night was, she would always drop almost instantly off to sleep following bottle, bath then bed but it had got to the point where we’d put her down and she’d sometimes spend more than an hour playing up. In fact, I was going to sleep earlier than she was some nights (Mark takes first watch)!
She is generally what I like to describe as a “spirited” child but she just seemed unable to shut her brain off and I wondered if the bath was winding her up rather than calming her down.
By this point we figured it was worth a shot so bath time was moved to the morning and instead we went with bottle, books then bed – and it worked a treat from the very first night.
We’ve read to Freya from when she was a tiny baby and if you ask her “where would you like to go today?” nine out of 10 times she will say “the library” so I was always a little disappointed that she would never sit still enough for a bedtime story.
Now though she will snuggle up on the sofa in her PJs and Mark, who now misses out on bath time because he has to go to work, will read the books she picks out.
In April I wrote about the four books that had shaped my parenting experience (so far) so I thought I’d carry that on now she is capable of voicing her opinion with her current five favourites. She has a large selection of books but these are the ones she requests each night.
1. The Tiger Who Came To Tea, written and illustrated by Judith Kerr – I’m sure you already know the story but it’s about a little girl called Sophie and her mum and a tiger who comes for tea who eats (and drinks) them out of house and home. This was first published in 1968 and remains hugely popular. I know I’m not the only one to get to the end of this book and think “what is this actually about?” because I Googled it and there are various threads about it and it’s mentioned in the Wiki entry. I’m still none the wiser but I find the answer “sometimes a tiger just comes for tea” frustrating.
2. Room on the Broom written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler – It tells the story of a nice witch (and her cat) who invites a number of very polite animals to join her on her broom and is paid back at the end when they save her. I love rhyming books and I think this one is especially good. Freya likes to shout “yes” at the end of each section and also gasps delightedly when the dragon appears.
3. Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr – Another classic children’s book which follows Mog as she gets into trouble and then saves the day. Mark bought this for Freya because he remembers it from his own childhood. He also recently got her the Christmas one. Freya likes to name the characters and also seems to think that I am Mrs Thomas. “Look mummy, there’s you.” She will say. I recently made her a boiled egg and soldiers for the first time and tried to sell it to her as “this is Mog’s favourite food” but she wasn’t having any of it (I enjoyed it).
4. Peep Inside Dinosaurs by Anna Milbourne and Simona Dimitri – we have four of these peep inside books and Freya really enjoys lifting the flaps to discover what is beneath. I’d say the dino one (or at least the roaring that goes along with which is clearly not ideal at bed time) is tied in first position as her favourite with Peep Inside The Garden which she calls Grandad’s Shed. It’s also fun (for us) to hear her try and pronounce some of the dinosaur names.
5. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram. Another really popular book where Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare talk about their love for one another. This is a fairly new book for us and I can’t believe we didn’t have this from the start. The first time I read it in Waterstones I got teary. We always have this book last so that she knows once it’s finished it’s time for bed. She gathers up her loveys and I carry her through to her cot and she’s out for the count in minutes (rather than hours). Job done.
These are all board book versions but I think we are almost ready for paper pages (at least when we read with her). Any tips for which books she might like for the next stage?
14 thoughts on “Freya’s favourite books (edition 1).”
Ahh! Glad it’s going well now. Mine were always excellent at bedtime when little but now they are older it’s such a battle. Eurgh! We now have troubles stopping then reading and actually sleeping. Secretly I’m thrilled by this, but when you just want them to sleep and switch off for the day – nightmare!
Oh yes, I think I would find that secretly thrilling too 🙂 I dread to think what Freya will be like when she’s older. Hopefully we won’t still be co-sleeping by then!
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Aww lovely books, Boo loves Room on the Broom (or Room on the Stick as she calls it! hehe) It’s amazing how some books become their favourites. Boo will ask for certain ones over and over – another two she loves are Peepo and Each Peach Pear Plum
Freya has now become frightened of dragons as a result of the broom one (and we now have a model dragon at the school next-door so it makes walking by each day…interesting :)) I’ll look up those other two books, thank you 🙂
I am not sure whether you have similar books in England, but it was at this stage that my kids starting showing their preferences. One like puzzle and mazes and machines and why they work, another loved Thomas the Tank engine and anything that was ‘in,’ still another liked the Mr Men series, Spot lift the flaps and Dr Suess’ series. We also had some books by the very excellent authors like Mem Fox and Rod Campbell. Their books have selected critical target vocabulary for developing minds, gorgeous illustrations and repetition and rhyme. It does not matter too much what the book is, as long as they like it and are engaged.
Owl Babies was very popular here
I will look the up. Thank you 🙂
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Also Peace at Last
I always loved the Judith Kerr books, I just bought a fair few for my cousins kids and so will let you know which are the favourites. Two of them are about Freya’s age and the others are a tad older so they should prove useful for feedback! xx
Brilliant, thank you. I know this is not the done thing but I don’t like Mog or Tiger books (oops).
Mog I don’t know to be honest. The Judith Kerr ones I liked were actually the ones for older kids about her war experiences – but those are for sure too old for Freya now!
That makes me feel a bit better. Hehe. I told one of my friend I didn’t like the tiger and I thought she wasn’t going to talk to me again. Hehe.
It’s funny how attached to characters people can get! There are a few books I saw that just looked dreadful…my London based cousins are getting penguin themed books and the Belgian bunch are getting London themed books…indoctrination starting young!
We have always loved books too, you have two of our favourites there, the Tiger who came to tea and Mog, cannot be beaten. Both of our girls still love to read, they youngest is quite passionate and has a really eclectic collection of books. Oh I’m glad it’s working, there is nothing worse than when the usual routine doesn’t seem to be working anymore xxx