The Power of a Bedtime Story

Reading to your kids

I LOVE reading to my kids. Do you? Sure, there are all kinds of educational benefits. Reading with your kids increases their vocabulary, helps them recognized words, and creates an interest in reading. But, I love reading with my kids because it’s FUN. I think it also helps us build better relationships. At the end of a very bad day when you and your kids are arguing and feelings are hurt, snuggling and reading together heals all wounds. (Chocolate does too, but that’s another post.) It helps us to not go to bed mad. When you find a good book, it’s fun to share the experience and have something to talk about at the dinner table.

My kids love to read with their grandparents, too. It brings them closer together to share a good story and spend quiet time together.

I wrote an article on the Power of a Bedtime Story for this week. You’ll find great storytelling tips from Mo Willems, the author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Nili Yelin, the very entertaining Storybook Mom, that make reading together even more fun. There’s also a list of my family’s favorite Toddler Bedtime Stories. I’m sure you’re dying to know what made our list, so check it out.

Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine just published their list of the 100 Greatest Books for Kids. Did your favorite make the list?

What books do you like to read with your kids?

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Tags: Reading with the Kids

6 Fun Ways to Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Can you believe that 107 years ago, Theodore Geisel changed the world by teaching children to read, and enjoy it, when he introduced “The Cat in the Hat.” We want to honor his memory and thank him for entertaining and educating us and our children. He has stimulated our imaginations and engaged us with fun, humor and a whole lot of goofiness. To keep his memory alive, here are 6 ways to help celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with some family fun activities. (more…)

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Family Fun Ideas · Ideas for family projects · Kids Birthday Party Ideas · Our Favorite Bedtime Stories · Reading with the Kids

Celebrate Literacy Day and Read with Your Kids Tonight

Grandpa and Cal reading

Beside being National Chocolate Cake Day it’s also Family Literacy Day. Double bonus! So, I guess we should celebrate by eating chocolate cake while we read our favorite bedtime story … as long as there are no crumbs on the bed.

So what is Family Literacy Day? It’s a day to celebrate reading together. Today families are encouraged to read together, play together, and plan to continue to learn as a family all year long. Wow! We should do that every day.

Reading with the kids is my idea of a perfect Family Fun activity. For a list of my family’s favorite Toddler Bedtime Stories, check out my literacy day post over at the Parent Tested Parent Approved Blog.

How often do you read with your kids?

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Our Favorite Bedtime Stories

Best Halloween Books for Kids

We love to read before bedtime. It’s my favorite time of the day – snuggling with the kids on the bed and reading a story that makes us smile or giggle. Here are the Kirchner Kids’ favorite books to read in anticipation of Halloween:

halloween jerry seinfeld

1. Halloween, Jerry Seinfeld. Hands down, my kids favorite book. Whether I read it or we listen to Jerry read it on the CD, they laugh and laugh.

just a minute book

2. Just a Minute, A Trickster Tale by Yuyi Morales. Technically this is more of a Day of the Dead book, but the graphics and theme fit right in with Halloween fun. If you want to learn more about this cool book, read my full review.

winnie the witch

3. Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul. The stories aren’t about Halloween per se but my kids love reading about Winnie and her cat and the illustrations are too funny. You need to really scan the pages to see all of the little creatures and details.

When my kids were toddlers, they liked these:

mouse's first halloween

4. Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson and Buket Erdogan. It is a nicely illustrated and not spooky tale to get toddler used to seeing Halloween imagery.

Inside a House that is haunted

5. Inside a House That Is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. This is a very funny story that uses Rebuses so the kids get to help “read” the story by saying the right work when they see each picture. The illustrations by Tedd Arnold are so cute. I think we read it every night for two weeks straight.

What are your favorite Halloween books? I’d love to discover some new favorites.

By the way, unless you buy the Just a Minute book from us, we don’t make any money on these recommendations. We give you the links to buy the books to make life easier for you.

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Tags: Halloween Family Fun Ideas · Our Favorite Bedtime Stories

5 Ideas for a Date Night with your Child

mother son date night

Looking for something fun to do this weekend with your kids? Consider splitting up and spending some precious one-on-one time with your kids by going on a date. My kids just GLOW when they get Mommy or Daddy all to themselves. It doesn’t even matter what you do, it’s the time together that creates the gooey “Chocolate Cake Moment.”

Bonus for parents: If your kids are going through a patch where they are just fighting all the time and it’s driving you nuts, cut the fighting off at the pass by separating them. Trust me, the peace and quiet is soooo worth it.

Make sure you choose an activity that your child wants to do. If it’s not, then it’s just like running another errand to your child and the magic of the evening is lost. When you are together, make sure you spend some time communicating. This is the perfect time to ask your child about their day, their school work, what classes they love taking, and who’s their best friend. Get to know them and learn a little more about their personality and what they love. Discuss ideas for your next date night or what the family is going to get Mommy for Mother’s Day. (OK, that was just wishful thinking.)

Date night doesn’t have to be at “night” either. If you can’t schedule something in the evening, go out for breakfast together or do something in the afternoon.

Here are some ideas for Parent/Child Dates:

1. Dinner and a movie. Let your kids choose their favorite place to dine and then go see a flick together. Bonus tip: Dads, bring your daughter a flower for your date. Transform into a superhero because there is Power in a Flower.

2. Cooking class. If one of your kids likes to cook, check out some of your local cooking class locations to see if they have parent/child classes. You get to talk, eat and laugh together. Mangia!

3. Museum Trip. If one of your kids is really into history while the other is into astronomy, splitting up and hitting different museums in town can be a great way to indulge your child’s hobbies without the other child whining “Can we go, yet?”

4. Book Store Excursion. My kids love to read so they are thrilled when we go to the library or especially the book store, because they can sit and eat. Head on over to your local book store and spend time finding a book your child would love to read. It’s a perfect way to find out what interests them. Then go sit in the coffee bar section and share a hot chocolate or dessert while reading your own books together or reading your child’s book out loud. Bonus tip: Go to brunch before the bookstore trip. Make it a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning outing.

daddy daughter bike date
5. You’ve Got to Move it, Move it. Head on over to the gym and teach your child to play basketball. Go for a run together or train for a local 1 Mile or 5K race in your area. Ride your bikes and stop to have a picnic. Walk to a local park and play catch. Figure out what motivates your child to get up and move it, move it and get active with them.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to get a Date Night on the calendar with your child. What do you like to do on Kids Date Night?

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Family Fun Ideas · Family Movie Night · Friday Night Fun · Parenting Tips · Reading with the Kids

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