Bedtime stories play an important role in your child’s development. Not only do bedtime stories create an opportunity for parents to bond with their kids, but reading to a little one at the same time night after night can help them establish a healthy sleep routine. Child psychologists also point to the cognitive benefits for young people who are raised with bedtime stories, including higher-than-average literacy rates and an emotional connection to reading.
Many parents are in the habit of reading or sharing bedtime stories with their children. They usually take it as a fun activity. The only thing that most parents need to realize that sharing or narrating bedtime stories can be instrumental in building your child’s personality as well.
Spending time during bedtime story sessions also have some other benefits that are mentioned below:
• Quality time – Reading or narrating stories help parents spend some quality time with children before they end their day. A lot of sharing happens during that time.
• Strengthens the family bond – After a long hectic day where children are busy with school, play, television, and parents are busy attending to household chores and professional commitments, bedtime story session gives parents and children a chance to strengthen their relations and bond with each other.
• Relaxes the mind – Bedtime stories are a great way of relaxing a child’s mind. The mood is set for a comfortable and sound sleep as children cuddle up in bed and unwind after a long day.
• Enhances imagination – Many of the story books have fairy tales, stories of superheroes, some ancient characters, animals, forests and adventures that triggers the imagination of young ones because such scenes are not common in their day-to-day lives.
• Creative thinking and problem-solving skills – Bedtime story sessions can become a great tool in developing creative thinking for children as well. Parents can always read or narrate stories with interesting twists. Pause before the end and ask the child to suggest an end to the story or you may narrate a few lines and then ask the child to continue. It will be fun and will help the child to think creatively as well as look out solutions for the possible problem situations.
• Improves communication skills – During these story sessions, parents and children get a chance to interact and discuss the characters and the story line. Many new words are read and discussed. This results in improved communication skills and enhanced vocabulary.
• Increases attention span – Most children enjoy listening to stories as they find them interesting. It can also be made interesting by narrating it with the help of facial expressions and hand movements. Listening and reading bedtime stories in a routine can improve the attention span and listening skills of children.
• Source of inspiration – Most of these stories for children have a good moral at the end, they can be helpful in inculcating life skills like honesty, courage, respect, generosity, etc. Such stories also have inspiring life stories or situations that can motivate the child to be a successful and good human being.
Tips for Parents:
No child is too young for a bedtime story. Many experts encourage parents to begin reading to their children while they are newborns, and continue throughout their childhood; the 2016 Time to Read Survey noted that bedtime reading can benefit children as old as 11 years of age. Regardless of how old your child is, age-appropriate reading material is crucial. Readings for toddlers and preschoolers should utilize a fairly straightforward vocabulary, and also include pictures or illustrations. As your child advances into elementary school and begins learning to read, chapter books may be more effective.
Here are a few more tips for parents who plan to read bedtime stories to their kids:
• Read slowly. This is especially important for young listeners and children who have not yet learned to read. If the story contains words the child doesn’t know, take a minute during the initial readings and explain the definitions.
• Involve your child in the reading. Swap out character names for your children’s names and allow them to be part of the story. Draw parallels between your child’s life and the world of the story in order to drive home important messages.
• Be dramatic. Emphasize emotional moments by reading them in an appropriate tone, and use distinct voices for different characters. This will enhance your child’s personal involvement in the story, and enhance their imagination.
• Clearly define the characters’ roles. To help your child develop a sense of right and wrong, you should make sure they understand the difference(s) between the heroes and the villains of each story.
• Read each story more than once. Your child probably won’t grasp everything about a story during the first bedtime session, so read it more than once — if possible, on consecutive nights.
• Don’t read the same story too often. Your child will most likely favor certain stories to others, but avoid reading the same volume night after night for long periods of time. After a few readings, their imaginative connection to the story will begin to diminish. If your child insists on hearing an old favorite for the twentieth time, then suggest reading something new that night and then switching back to the preferred story the next night.
• Don’t be afraid to improvise. Rather than reading from a book, you can make up a story that allows your child to be more involved — and even dictate the narrative a bit.