Here’s how naptime and bedtime work for us:
- Parent(s) realize(s) that Shlomo is tired.
- One of us checks his diaper (and changes it if it needs changing).
- If both parents are present, the parent not checking Shlomo’s diaper finds his pacifier and duck. If only one parent is present, this step is performed after the diaper check (and change, if necessary).
- One of us (the Parent in Charge, or PIC) heads off, with duck, pacifier, and Shlomo, to the bedroom.
- PIC holds Shlomo on their lap for a few minutes, singing the dorky songs that I made up when he was born, softly. If it is bedtime, PIC gives Shlomo to the other parent* for a hug.
- PIC then puts Shlomo into his crib, covers him up, and gives him two (usually) of his stuffed snuggle items (one is usually a duck, sometimes both) and a book. If there is no book already in his crib, PIC asks if he wants one. The answer is usually yes. In fact, I can’t remember the last time it wasn’t. We hand the book to him, give him a kiss, and walk out of the room. Usually, Shlomo goes to sleep without issue, and even when he doesn’t fall asleep right away, he stays quietly in his crib until he’s tired enough. Thank G-d.
Sometimes, though, I wonder if
I we am are doing the right thing by giving Shlomo a book in bed. It started out innocently – he didn’t want to be going to bed, and kept asking for another story. So, we told Shlomo that he could read to himself, and we gave him a book . . . and he was happy. Then we turned out the lights (it was nighttime), walked out, and closed the door. We thought he wouldn’t be able to read in the dark, and whether or not he can remains to be seen. What’s certain, though, is that reading a book in his bed (and yes, we read a story before bed, and often before naps, as well) has become part of the going-to-sleep routine.
I read under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep, for many years. So did Yitzchak. Even when I started college, I often had a book under my pillow. (At some point after we got married, this habit faded. I don’t remember when or why, but I do remember Yitzchak finding books under my pillow and laughing about it.) We both freely admit to reading after lights out, and know that our children probably will do the same. It bothers us somewhat, because kids really do need to sleep, as do adults. On the other hand, in a world where books are not read enough, falling asleep while reading seems like a pretty good deal. It ensures that the child in question enjoys reading, immensely. It ensures that they look forward to reading. And, as long as you are getting a decent amount of sleep, who cares? But maybe we should care? And if so, then we should not be encouraging the habit, especially from such a young age. Right?
What do you think about reading in bed: Yay or nay?
*For the record: PIC for naptime is almost always me, just because of logistics. Sometimes, if naptime got pushed off, or a second nap is needed, Yitzchak is PIC. PIC for bedtime is split, pretty much evenly, between us. Just for the record.