According to research, reading to your children at bedtime is important for their literacy, happiness and health. However, with hectic lives and draining working days, this can often seem like a chore and is something we put off, thinking it’s not that important. But by putting aside a little bit of time and knowing what and how to read to your child, you can help your child to develop in more ways than one.
Reading bedtime stories to your child boasts many benefits, including a stronger parent-child bond, improved preparation for sleep and boosted brain development. Those children who have bedtime stories read to them will often learn to write, read and speak earlier than those who don’t. This therefore indicates that more developed brains are found in children who have regular bedtime stories.
However, even though science indicates this improvement, it doesn’t help parents when it comes to when and how they should read to their children. So, here are some helpful tips to get you along the way:
Making Time for Bedtime Stories
You’ll no doubt have a routine already, which includes tea, homework, bath and bedtime, but it’s important that story time is slotted into this, especially before bed. Not only will this help your child but it’s also a chance for you to switch off from your stressful day, enjoying one-to-one time with your child. Without interruptions and distractions, this is quality time that you can enjoy together, and once you’ve got into the routine of this, it’ll become something that neither you nor your child want to miss.
Once your child starts learning to read at school, you can then give them the chance to read words from the books you’re reading together. This helps to continue the education they’re learning at school whilst also developing their imagination and giving them the confidence to talk about their own ideas. You may find that your child starts to ask more questions about the books you’re reading, trying to understand them in more depth, which is great for their development.
Improving Story Time
Sometimes, parents avoid bedtime stories because they’re worried that they won’t be able to do it properly! One in ten parents feel as though they’re not good enough at bedtime stories whilst over 50 percent of children prefer stories when their parent(s) does different voices. 25 percent also expect parents to act out a story – so they’re not expecting much then!
However, there are some simple ways that you can make story time an engaging and fun time for everyone involved:
- Give Them the Choice: As soon as they’re old enough, let your little one choose the story you read. This helps to make them feel important and will help to develop their decision-making skills. Try not to get too frustrated when they pick their favorite story for the tenth night in a row!
- Don’t Allow Any Interruptions: When you’ve gone to the effort of having story time, don’t let anything interrupt it. Put your phone in a different room or turn it on silent.
- Get Into Character: To make things more fun, try to do different voices for each of the characters in the story. This will make it much easier for your child to follow.
- Have Question Time: To make sure the story is as interactive as possible and your child understands it, ask them questions as you read.
- Don’t Ignore the Pictures: The illustrations you find in a child’s book are there for a reason and can help to make story time even more interactive. So, when you come across a picture in the book, ask your child what they think is happening in it.
- Be Sure to Enjoy It: Regardless of the benefits of having bedtime stories, if you or your child aren’t enjoying it, then you’re both missing out. Make sure you both enjoy this time you’re spending together because you’ll treasure these days in years to come.
Other key factors in making bedtime a happy and healthy one include getting the right mattress for your child (find more at Mattress-Guides.net), pulling all the curtains to (preferably black-out ones) and creating a calm, relaxing environment. This will help to make sure your child falls asleep straight after story time is over – or even during it!
And, don’t stress if your routine runs over slightly, flexibility is key to creating the calming influence story time has on your child. If you’re pushed for time and still want to read a story, don’t rush it and make sure you both enjoy it still.
This is a partnered post to share tips from Naomi Hancock a keen writer, currently only with enough time to write articles which appear around the web on a range of lifestyle and parenting topics.