The Bedtime Con That’s Working Like a Charm

Oh the Many Joys of Bedtime!

I have young kids who need to practice reading. They also need to go to bed at a reasonable time and are somewhat independent in this process. Sometimes, all of this is a chore to make happen. Mostly with Charlie, who is every bit of seven.

So, here’s what I have started doing:

I go to the used bookstore and get a few books I think he will like.


When I get home, I hide them.

At bedtime, I give him instructions (one time only) with a deadline. For example, get a shower, put on pjs and brush teeth. If you are in bed ready to go at X time, then you get a surprise. If not, well then you can try again tomorrow night. So far, the suspense has been enough to motivate him to cooperate. I need to refresh their bookshelves anyway. This makes me do something I need to do anyway, and I am totally leveraging it for all it’s worth. For now…this con is working like a charm!

Reading Recommendations

I got a subscription to Nat GEO Kids. It’s full of fun fact information and both kids seem to really enjoy it. I got mine through Amazon and paid $15. They love getting something (anything!) in the mail, so it’s fun when one arrives. OR you could intercept it and use it as a bedtime reward. There is also a little kids version of the Nat GEO Kids for slightly younger kids, but I’ve never seen that version in person so I am not sure about it.

Here’s a spread from inside the current issue of the magazine.


The other thing I have found – and this was sort of inspired by the above-mentioned magazine because it is full of factoids – are encyclopedia type kid’s books.

The first one I got was…mmm, not a winner. It was a book with facts about skyscrapers. After that whole Burj Kalifa thing, when I found this at the used bookstore, I was all winner winner chicken dinner!  But Charlie was all “Um…gee, thanks, Mom. That’s really someth’n” He later told me that he would prefer “a non-fiction book with REAL photos.” kids_book-about_skyscrapers (Sometimes he’s a little kid and sometimes, he’s 40.  It’s like I gave a 40-year old man a book with cartoons about skyscrapers.)

Well, too late, I had already bought another such book and decided to give it to him anyway. This one was Charlie Brown ‘Cyclopedia 2 and he LOVED it.


BONUS: It was all of 95 cents! You could do this for free with library books, but we are irresponsible people who lose them, so I prefer the used bookstore.


Why do Jellyfish sting? How do snails walk? How fast can a fish swim? – that kind of stuff.

Charlie even liked it enough to take it to school the next day. I don’t think any of his friends were as excited about it as he was, but he digs information. So, of course the trick is finding books on things your child is interested in for this to work.

Nighty Nighty, Rabbits

So, getting them books for bedtime is an all around winning plan. So far. Until I run out of books. Then I will be all, here you go, Charlie, read Divergent. (Just kidding! That’s what I’m reading.)

How old are your kids and what do they like to read? I am on the hunt for new reading materials for my kids, especially Molly who (I cant believe it!) just turned 10.

2 Responses to The Bedtime Con That’s Working Like a Charm

  1. Lisa September 24, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    Hi Heather. My kids range in age between 35 and 22. My 6 year old grandson is currently reading Treasure Island, so that isn’t going to help. If your Molly is like mine (and I suspect she is) finding something that will challenge her reading skills and still be appropriate for her age will be a problem. Fortunately for me, Harry Potter was around for Mollie. I would suggest looking at books by Elizabeth Winthrop. Two titles that all of my kids enjoyed were The Castle in the Attic and The Indian in the Cupboard. Then there is always the Heidi books and The Secret Garden and The Little Princess if she hasn’t already read them.

    • Heather September 24, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for the ideas. Those sound great! Hope you are doing well.

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