Summer has come to a close and the school year has begun. This year’s hot season for parents probably didn’t include the usual “vacation road trip,” public pool foray, and more as the go-tos they used to be — most kids were already home, which means the time being spent together may be a little different. Thinking on your feet and being “nimble,” as they say, with whatever you need to do for your children has become quite the theme, hasn’t it? Yeah, I know. Let’s be real, though. We as parents always need to do that, right? Adapt, shift, change up when the situation demands it. But even as we move into autumn — the notoriously cool months, the snuggle time — things are still up in the air as to what to expect, and that flexibility of how we deal with our kids is taken to a whole new level.
I don’t know about you, but lately whenever I find myself focused on making sure my sons’ needs are covered on a grand and constant scale, I can forget to just be with them, have quality time with them. I’m so determined to make sure we’re getting things done that we’re not really bonding, you know? Oh, we may be in the same house, even in the same room, but we’re not really engaging; and I realize, I’m constantly in need of new ideas on how to do that. In talking to other parents, we all discovered we’re in the same boat in one way or another, and it made us here at Sleep Club forage for a few new ideas to do at home that we thought were not only wonderful ways to make the most of the time you also spend with your kids, but could even prompt conversation and more engagement after.
“Once upon a time…” — books to bring us together
We live in a digital age. Awesome. And right now you’re reading this article online. Fantastic and thank you. HOWEVER, it is our experience that you really can’t beat taking an actual book and reading with your kids. Even if they’re older, there’s a lot of whimsy and wonder reading aloud. It opens up the imagination (think about all the different characters you get to be) and allows for a beautiful back and forth. Remember the old days — think of every single British period drama — when reciting poetry, reading aloud from a novel or a book was a way to engage and open conversation? Here are two of the many lovely books out there we feel can bring that back for you and your little — or big — ones.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.” Everytime I think about this gorgeous novella, my eyes fill. This is a wonderful little tale about loss, love, friendship, and retaining and regaining the childlike wonder that keeps us truly alive. First published in America in 1943 at the urging to write a children’s book by his French publisher’s wife, aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry pulled from both his 1935 experience surviving a plane crash in the desert and the little curly-headed blond boy he met while staying with friends in Canada in 1942.
No matter your age or your mood at the time, reading this wondrous book shows you something new and may very well make you look at the desert in a whole new way.
“And, if you should come upon this spot, please do not hurry on. Wait for a time, exactly under the star. Then, if a little man appears who laughs, who has golden hair and who refuses to answer questions, you will know who he is. If this should happen, please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.”
Daddy Daughter Day by Isabelle Boesch-Bridges & Jeff Bridges
Sunday, the 11th of October, marks Father-Daughter Day in the U.S., which is a perfect time to enjoy this delightful adventure written by our own Dream Teamer, Isabelle Boesch-Bridges, and her daddy, Jeff. See, Isabelle went to her father with an idea — let’s write a book together that highlights the beautiful relationship between dads and daughters, like ours. And Jeff thought that was a pretty great thing to do. So they did it.
The whimsical illustrations are pure Jeff and the story is a magical, dreamy ride through a special day just for them that reflects both Isabelle and her dad in such a glorious way. No matter your relationship with your kids, this is a magical slice of life that will spur ways to create unique moments together, spark memories of things you’ve shared, and inspire conversation about what you look forward to bonding over in the future. Grab the book and check out even more about this heartfelt journey of loving wonder by visiting the website: https://daddydaughterday.com/home.
“Lights, Camera, ACTION!” — tales to open our minds and hearts
Watching something in a movie theatre doesn’t really allow for “during” conversation — unless you’re one of those people, but that’s a whole other article. These days, however, streaming services are our best friends and tons of fabulous little gems are out there to be shared with our kids in our own home. These are the storytellers we’re talking about, by the way. Not reality cooking, design, game or pop culture shows. This is a duet of “If you are a dreamer, come in” type things.
Oh, and just so you know, we’re not trying to promote one streaming service over another. We just want to make sure that if you want to find either of these little gems, you can.
Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda on Disney+
Forget the fact that you’ve possibly been listening to the CD incessantly and can rap along with Lin-Manuel Miranda and the rest of the Hamilton cast. Overlook that there are a few f-bombs dropped throughout the Broadway cast album. This kid-friendly, no profanity live version came out just in time for Independence Day and is sure to still deliver a wallop of history facts — and some fiction, let’s be honest — in a musical journey that just makes sense. Accessible for all ages, the mega-hit has cracked open a lot of conversation about and interest in how the U.S. came to be, focused an eye on where America is today, and sparked an interest in being active with shaping where it goes. Talk about a conversation starter with your progeny.
“Just you way-ait.”
Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson on Amazon Prime
A boy and his dog story taken to the next level. This quirky tale about devotion, perseverance, learning to love and accept love, comes together with such wonder and delight in this stop-motion adventure from one of the world’s most vibrant filmmakers. Wes Anderson’s penchant for eye-popping set design is on full display here along with a deadpan delivery of his cast that serves to heighten the humor as well as the melancholy and attention to detail that seems to show you something new with each viewing.
Watching the journey of the lead character, Atari, as he doggedly (pun intended) seeks to rescue his best friend — exiled dog Spots — and the other canines he encounters/befriends, is whirlwind, weird, and soulful in a way that makes us want to watch it over and over again with both our little and big kids. At the heart of this is a tale about the power of friendship — true, honest friendship — and the realization that even though you may have been hurt before, it’s worth taking a chance on the good hearts and real love out there. Not to mention the depth of the title's clever word play — Isle of Dogs? I Love Dogs?
Our children, great and small
We’re in this together. Our kids range from infants to adults with their own and no matter what, keeping in touch with them, spending quality time in some way matters to us. Quality time. It really is worth everything else. Remember back when your kids played with the box, not the gift?
Play with the box with your kids with these. Take it slow, stop and start with them, let them ask, talk, question. You’ll learn just as much as they do and share something wonderful and amazing.
And we could all use a little wonderful and amazing.