I love a lot of things about the holidays — the decorations, the music, the celebrations. Our family's Christmas is casual and relaxing, the perfect end to a busy year. I'm a laid back mama and most of our family traditions were inspired on a whim — something that seemed like a good idea and stuck. I have four teenagers now and these are four of our favorite holiday traditions!
Written by author Sandra Magsamen.
When I was a little girl on Christmas mornings, whichever sister woke up first would wake up the other four sisters. We then lined up at our parents' bedside to wake them up so we could all see if Santa had come. My father would rub his eyes, pull his legs out of bed, and put his feet on the cold floor to begin his journey downstairs to check. My mother wrapped her robe around herself asking, "I wonder if Santa came?" My sisters and I were firm believers in Santa. When my father finally hollered from the living room, "OK, you can come down now," we all ran down the stairs, thrilled to see the lights twinkling on the tree and the mounds of brightly colored packages. We would each pause for a second to take in the magic of the moment.
Bedtime – the perfect time for kids to list every possible reason why they are not ready for bed. Sound familiar? We're here to help you create a bedtime full of cuddles and hugs instead of kicks and screams. It's never too late to start a sweet routine that you and your child can stick to.
We have compiled 5 tried and true techniques for a fuss-free bedtime. All you need is a little time and lots of love to share! Read along to develop the sweet, snuggly bedtime of your dreams.
our secret weapon: illustrations.
Pictures, art, and any sort of visual are a great way to get your kids interested in—and even excited about—reading. The art is just as important as the story, so don't forget to take the time to linger over the pages and focus on the illustrations.
From Pencil to Print. Check out this video to get an idea of how Mike Litwin, illustrator of New York Times bestselling My Name Is Not Isabella, went through his creative process to bring Isabella—the sassy little girl with the soaring imagination—to life.
How can you captivate your child with picture books?
• Choose beautiful art. It's very common that children will end up picking out books to read based on what the cover looks like. As a parent, you want to be sure to bring home books with attention-grabbing art on the cover and within the book's pages. Better yet, try bringing your child with you to the library or the bookstore and let them select a book to read with you.
• Vary your picture book collection. Don't be afraid to select daring art. Picture books with eccentric artwork or illustrations are a great way to introduce new topics and spark new discussions with your child, allowing them to be more imaginative and ask questions. Conversely, feel free to choose books that may be comforting to your child as well. Realistic plotlines with simple illustrations might move your child at different times in different ways. A more familiar story with simple artwork could be a fitting option before bedtime.
• Tour the illustrations before you read the story. This is a great way to observe how your child responds to and processes what they see on the page. As you thumb through the illustrations together, maybe your child will come up with a story of their own. And especially if your child can't read yet, it can be a fun challenge to go through and see if they can use the illustrations to tell you a story. Or, if you've read the story together before, this can also be a great exercise to see what your child can remember. (They can test your memory too!)
• Engage your child with the art. Explore. Soak it all in. Pause during the story to take time to explain the illustrations, or ask your child what they think about a certain image or artwork. Ask them what they see and how it makes them feel. Think of ways to incorporate your child into the story. See if you can connect them to the artwork or story by relating them to a character or particular instance in the plot.
We read to connect. Illustrations and pictures help form connections.
One of the main goals of reading with your children is to help them build responsive connections and establish an appreciation for language, art, expression, and communication. By sharing art and stories with your child and engaging them with what's happening on the pages, you're opening up their minds to thinking abstractly, creatively, and critically. And, on top of all that, it's fun for everyone!
It's been an incredibly exhilarating 90 days here at Put Me In The Story. A lot has happened in such a short time, and we have YOU to thank for that!
We've had so many people personalise our books. It's amazing, and profoundly touching. We made a word cloud for the office with the names of the first couple hundred children that have been put into our stories. You can see it below. (Can you find your child's name?)
We strive to create the best personalised experience for you and your family, we always welcome feedback on our website, books, and app. So please send us a note with your thoughts!
Here's some of what we've heard so far:
Personalised Kids' Books
"I was impressed with the gorgeous hardcover I received. And the personalisation, which was a piece of cake to do on the site, took it up a notch above awesomeness. This will make one little girl feel very special, when I give her the book in a few weeks."—Megan
"Cute stories for reading to my kids at bedtime. It is excellent for kids who like to read."—Davidmtr
"My children loved these books, seeing them come to life here is amazing! Thanks, Put Me In The Story, for making these available."—DeeLee3659
"The book came today, earlier than I thought, and it is perfect!! Thank you so much."—Annick
"We've been so pleased with the Put Me In The Story books that we recommend them to anyone looking for the perfect children's gift. The books are a true keepsake that will be treasured in years to come, and I can't wait to surprise Kora & Logan's cousins with books of their own one day!"—Tesa
"The book is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you!"—Melissa
"It's a wonderful gift. I love how the entire book turned out! My daughter was so excited to see her name and photo in this book. Thank you so much!"—Cassie
Kinsley loves reading this book over and over. It feels personal to her, like I am not just reading a book but saying each word to her specifically. The book was so easy to customize, and shipping was much faster than I expected. It was a huge hit with my baby girl!—Melanie