When my boys were young, they were rambunctious.  I had a difficult time managing their high energy levels as well as my expectations of them.  I had never been tackled-hugged in all my life before having them.  Once they entered my world, tackle-hugs were the norm.

Whenever we were home for extended periods, negotiating their extreme need for activity was even more challenging. Wrestling became a natural part of our day.  To counteract their spontaneous wrestling, I would try to engage them in quieter activities that they enjoyed.  I would occasionally play cars with them on the floor, do puzzles with my youngest and have them do art projects with varying degrees of success. Through it all, the only consistent sanity saving activity I had with them was reading.  Reading was a way that I could get them to actually slow down for a minute or two.  It was a way we could snuggle up together no matter what had transpired beforehand.  It helped me let go of the bad stuff and connect to the present moment.  In this moment, if the book was good which was often the case, we would lose ourselves in the story and become friends once again.

The great thing about reading is there are so many awesome choices.  You can pick books that interest you or your kids and if you’re really lucky, something you all love.  In our house, the sillier the better.  If I could get my boys laughing, the world was bright again.  To this day, we still have our favorites.

Hands down, anything by Mo Willems is a classic in our house.  Elephant and Piggie is a series for kids ages 3-8.  This series is the one that we would revisit again and again.  It made us laugh.  A lot.  It also is great way for very small kids to be introduced to reading.  All of Mo Willems series and stand alone books are great.  Click the link below to learn more:

Mo Willems Books

Even though this next series is geared for younger kids (ages 5-8), my boys to this day still enjoy them (they are 10 and 12).  As a preschooler, my oldest was obsessed with dinosaurs.  Of course being so energetic, he loved sports, too. This series combines both in an entertaining set of Dino-Sports books. Our favorite is Dino-Football.  Check out the whole series here:

Lisa Wheeler Books

Being the lone female in my house, I tend to be more heart-minded than my male counterparts. Therefore, I like books that are more whimsical.  I like anything that reminds us of the love shared between a parent and child.  Below are three of my absolute favorite bedtime books.  These are a great way to send your kiddos off to slumber:

I LOVE YOU AS BIG AS THE WORLD

by David Van Buren

I LOVE YOU STINKY FACE

by Lisa McCourt

I AM A BUNNY

by Ole Risom illustrated by Richard Scarry

This last title is especially near and dear to my heart.  My mom used to read it to me when I was a little girl.  The pictures are gorgeous and that helps keep even active children engaged in this sweet, simple story.

I hope that these suggestions help spark you and your children’s imaginations to find books that you love.  Going to your local library and simply browsing the kids’ section is a great starting point.  Be sure to ask the children’s librarian for suggestions.  They are incredibly knowledgeable and are passionate about books.  They will give you ideas when you get stuck.

On our last visit to the library, which was a week ago, I had parked myself in the kids’ section per our usual protocol.  It took me a while to realize that my boys weren’t even in there with me.  While I’ve known my older son to have moved on to the older reading section, it hit me like a ton of bricks that my youngest has moved on, too!  In my next post, I will list series and reading ideas for kids as they get older.  Apparently, it’s my only option at this point!

Happy Reading!

Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent

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