Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Easy No Cry Bedtime and Nap Routine with Talk. Read. Sing. It Changes Everything

We all know how crazy things can get when you have kids but I hope everyone is reading to their kiddos before they go to bed at night. Not only do our kids love reading, but they actually look forward to cuddling up and opening a favorite book and it has helped us so much with bedtime. Also, according to First 5 California, kids whose parents read to them often have a greater vocabulary at age to 2 than children who didn't read regularly. We may have been onto something when we settled into our easy no-cry routine ...

HOW do we SLEEP let alone have a routine?!

New moms may be wondering how they will ever get their babies or toddlers to sleep at night because we hear that "cry it out" doesn't work and cry it in doesn't seem to be working either.

The best thing I can recommend after two children is a healthy talk, read, sing routine. This is not just a bath and bed routine, where crying and battling through pajamas and hygiene wreck everyone, but a much more relaxing routine where you talk, read, and sing.

Our nightly routine of reading and singing to our son was such an important part of our evening and nap routine from very early on and to our amazement, he spoke well over 100 words by his first birthday. He rarely used the incorrect pronoun or verb tense after he started forming sentences. He was not enrolled in any sort of preschool program besides almost daily local activities but we always talked, read, and sang to him every single night.

Before we get to the details of this awesome bedtime routine we stumbled upon, here in our wonderful State of California, they realized that 90% of the brain is formed by the age of 5, and other research reveals that upwards of 80% of a child’s is formed at age 3 and are encouraging us all to check out all FREE and informative activities and videos from the First 5 California site.

You don't even have to live in California to benefit from cute baby activity ideas to engage in play!

You can get a FREE kit for New Parents which includes the latest information from prenatal care to finding a preschool. 

The kit includes a Puppy and Friends touch-and-feel board book, a DVD, Advice for New Parents reference book and more. Kits are available in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. 

For the FREE Board book and New Parents Kit:

Talk. Read. Sing. NO Cry Bedtime and Nap Routine:

Here's how we incorporated reading, talking, and singing into our lives, bedtimes, and nap routines in a way that anyone can do.

Talk them off the cliff.

We talked to our babies starting long before they could can talk back and have meaningful conversations. Serious or playful talk provides a distraction from what you are actually doing - trying to get the child to sleep. Talk through bath time, teeth brushing, even flossing accomplishes bonding time and lets the tough things like changing clothes become what they need to be... routine instead of a mega-meltown screamfest.

Choose the appropriate bedtime. Don't let a book or a blogger choose this key time for you and start that dialogue as you make your way to bed.

MORE talk, talk, talk...

I was in the unique situation where my husband was working overseas for the majority of the first year of my son's life. He was my first baby and since I didn't have anyone to talk to, I would talk to him. Even if we were in Target or at the library, I'd talk to him and before he was a year old we were having the makings of a useful dialogue.

Chat away about whatever you're thinking, pointing at things, asking them questions, they're listening!

Now that my son is older we talk about more serious topics like the solar system, being kind to our friends, where the cat went when he died. My husband and I (try) to watch what we talk about and we try to talk about meaningful things when the kids are listening.

Reading and relaxation

We read at least on book every day at bedtime to each child. Somewhere I read how important it was to read to babies, so I began a routine of reading right from the start with my son. We had several cute board books and read these books over and over and over.

I went to the library and slowly scored stacks of yard sale books, freebies, and deals for our bookshelves and devices so we could read every single night. 

Now we try to include the baby in on reading and read as a family or my husband and I split up and each read to a child at bedtime. Our son is almost 4 and learning to read himself!

Sing them to sleep. 

After reading (ok sometimes we read two) we sing. If you can't bear to hear yourself sing, keep trying, you'll improve!

I remember a friend of mine was recounting her nap routine for myself and another mom whose boys were fighting the nap. She said her nap routine was the same as her bedtime routine of reading and singing songs. I read a book to my son that afternoon after swim class, then sang "'Old McDonald' had a farm" with every single animal I knew and it worked.

Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O. 
And on that farm he had a COW, EE-I-EE-I-O. 
With a MOO MOO here and a MOO MOO there 
Here a MOO, there a MOO, 
everywhere a MOO MOO 
Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O.

Pig, Chicken, Sheep, Monkey, Orangutan, Centipede, and so on...

Soon my singing went through the entire Beatles catalog with a cheat sheet site on my phone. Not only has my husband and my singing improved, we don't care what anybody but one little boy or girl think and they are so comforted to fall asleep by it. Sing to your baby to strengthen that bond and soothe their soul. They will be asleep in a few songs and you will have better pitch because of it.

Rocking in a glider or rocking chair can help you keep a rhythm when you sing. Want to get some exercise? Do some bouncing squats and lunges with the baby while singing.


Forming a routine for talking, reading, and singing not only helps us put the children to bed at night, it helps with language development, brain development, and helps establish a love of reading and learning. I was blown away when my son spoke well over 100 words at his first birthday and slept better too!

Check out the  First 5 California site and Activity Center for ideas on how to work these and other healthy activities into your routine with your little ones. “Talk. Read. Sing. ® It changes everything”

Do you have a reading routine with your little ones? 
What are you guys reading? 
Any early talkers, readers, or budding singers out there? 

Let me know how Reading, Talking, and Singing has enriched your child's mind in the comments!


  1. Do you think this would work on my 10 year old?! LOL

    1. Yes! But it may be because he/she wants you to stop lol!

  2. I really agree with everything you say here. We read to our grandchildren every night. We also sing some and then each pray before lying down. It usually works very well. My grandchildren have a great vocabulary. Thank you for sharing this

  3. I learned that they are also useful for children with special needs.

  4. bedtime is SO hard, thank you so much for the tips!

  5. Gorgeous little kids! I do have a reading routine for my kid also every evening.

  6. We've always read to our children before naps and bed and it helps so much!

  7. I've heard it's important to have a bedtime routine, but I've never thought to incorporate singing! I will definitely be trying this when my LO arrives next month!

  8. thanks for sharing! we could definitely use a better routine

  9. We have 8, 6, and 2 year old children. They always seem to transition to bedtime easier if we read right before bed instead of after supper...

  10. We have 8, 6, and 2 year old children. They always seem to transition to bedtime easier if we read right before bed instead of after supper...

  11. I fondly remember my parents reading to me at night, definitely doing this with ours :)

  12. Not sure this would work with my 5 month old, but I'll definitely be trying this when she's older!

  13. I love reading and always have, so I really enjoy reading to my kids. Reading a book before bed really helps us as well.

  14. Such a relavent blog post and great ideas!

  15. Such a relavent blog post and great ideas!

  16. My son was a late talker despite all the reading we did to him as a child!! But now at 2 1/2 he is talking so well that it blows everyone away!! We do lots of reading but never at set times really!! He goes to bed so well at night that he voluntarily does his night routine and crawls in with no complaints! I haven't thought about trying it for naps tho!! We struggle in that dept.

  17. Bedtime can be a trying time, especially with three kiddos. We do bath time (which does NOT Calm my boys at all) and then pjs and so on. We also read a book after all of that, this is usually our final relaxing time before bed. However my youngest will not go to sleep until dad gets home at 11:30 PM. So I fight to keep him out of my 5 yo's room and fight to keep 5 yo in bed... oye.

  18. Great ideas!I love reading to my son before bed. I should really incorporate the other tips as well. Thank you!

  19. We ALWAYS read and sing before bed! I find that letting my son choose the books and songs works best (even if that means I'm singing Scooby Doo theme song 10 times a night! 😂)

  20. a nice reminder. I used to read to my son all the time, but once he started rolling over, all he wanted to do was eat books. I need to make more of an effort!

  21. A great read. I read to my little one every day and at night too:)

  22. Love this. I talk to my son a lot. At first I felt a little crazy but I can tell he understands most of what I say now at 15 months even though he doesn't talk much.

  23. I babysat kids all through my teens and early twenties and early learned the value of singing. Nothing like singing to a little kid to get them to calm down and fall asleep.

  24. This is a interesting perspective. My son will only relax and fall asleep if I am holding him. I talk to him a lot and seems like he needs my scent or warmth to sleep peacefully.

  25. This is so great. We really need this in our house hold.

  26. That's awesome he knew so many worlds by his first birthday! I'm impressed! We currently read to our LO in the morning when he wakes up, and at night. I also try to read a book in the afternoon, but I do talk a lot to him.


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