The bedtime story is a parenting tradition that has stood the test of time. Through the age of electronics, Disney channels, and iPads, there is still nothing that can replace the shared joy between parent and child of a bedtime story.
It’s a ritual that can encourage kids to look forward to bed (because who wouldn’t want to escape into the land of a magic tree?). Plus its numerous cognitive development benefits (intertwined with good quality sleep), can set up your child for a very bright future.
So, parents, let’s explore our top 7 reasons to put down the remote, crack open a good old-fashioned bedtime stories book and discover a more relaxed bedtime routine with our kids.
1. Helps them unwind.
Just like we as adults have busy brains before bed, it’s not any different for kids. They’re continually absorbing information as they develop which can keep them awake and make it hard to settle down. Having a parent close by, distracting them with imaginary worlds, helps soothe and relax their bodies and minds, allowing sleep to come naturally.
2. Encourages reading as a skill.
Reading to your child at night encourages them to take the leap and read themselves when they get older. They’re able to associate reading as a treasured experience and will adopt the routine. Getting them to re-read books you’ve read before can help increase their vocabulary and language skills. And because they already know what happens in the book, this helps build their confidence.
3. Develops concentration skills.
Learning to sit still and listen is a lot more complicated than watching a TV show before bed (not forgetting how the blue light of TV can stimulate your child’s brain and keep them awake). Focusing on your words helps their brain build new connections and strengthens their ability to retain information.
4. Builds a healthy imagination.
Reading inspires creative thinking. By reading about interesting characters, adopting character voices and describing fantasy lands, your child recreates these images in their mind to bring the story to life.
5. Teaches life lessons.
Children’s books have a wonderful way of melting moral lessons into simple storylines. When you read to your child, you’re letting the characters of the stories teach the meaning of right and wrong, and we’re pretty sure your child would much rather be inspired by their favorite character than a boring adult.
6. Allows for quality bonding time.
Reading builds wonderful memories that you and your child will cherish. Having the opportunity to be with your child as you both escape into a new world together can help you top-up their love bank.
7. Creates a bedtime routine.
Just like your bedtime wind-down routine is a coveted part of your day, so should it be for your kids. We know that settling them down, getting them to brush their teeth, and bribing them to bed is a skill in itself, but making an effort to add storytime to their routine will be seen as a reward. You may even find that after a while, your child will recognize this as part of their sleep preparation and start taking up storytime by themselves.
But we do get that there may be nights when you cant read. In these instances, you may want to play tag team with a family member or pull out that sleep stories app. This means you’re still keeping up that routine without breaking the cycle.
Reading before bed is the foundation on which to build your child’s healthy sleeping habits. so here’s to forging a long-standing healthy relationship with stories and sleep.