Ahh the bedtime story. Usually enjoyable, sometimes a chore, but always important. We explore the benefits of reading to your child, provide tips on how to get the most out of bedtime reading and source suggestions for good bedtime stories.
Why are bedtime stories good for children?
The benefits of reading to your child are plentiful.
- It promotes bonding between you and your child.
- Interacting verbally with your child – including reading to them – lowers their stress levels and allows better learning.
- It fires up the imagination by taking you and your child on fantastic journeys together, all without needing to step out the front door!
- It enhances a child’s verbal and communication skills and is fundamental to future reading success. There is evidence to suggest that bedtime stories can rewire the brain to accelerate their mastery of language.
- It helps your child recognise logical patterns and predict outcomes, which will be beneficial when later acquiring skills in maths, science and music.
- It significantly improves their attention span. This means that they can concentrate for longer in school, resulting in better education outcomes overall.
- It allows your child to express their individuality and discover interests not traditionally covered in the school curriculum.
- The medium of fiction allows your child a safe place to explore their emotions and bring up difficult topics for discussion.
- Seeing the world through the eyes of another person promotes their capacity for empathy.
It’s never too early. Reading to your unborn child can help strengthen bonds and lower both their stress and yours.
Bedtime reading tips
Here are some tips and tricks to maximise the benefits of bedtime reading.
- Ask questions about the book. This will help keep them engaged in the story and also enhance communication and critical thinking skills. Make sure you ask questions in a fun way (e.g. who is your favourite character? What do you think will happen next? How would you react differently if you were this character?) so they don’t feel like they’re being tested.
- Take turns reading with your child (e.g. alternate pages, different characters) as this provides a comfortable place for them to practice their reading skills.
- Read their school books with them – that way they can not only consolidate their required learning from school, they’ll also learn to associate that school text with a positive experience.
- A longer story that has to be continued each night is a great way to boost their attention span, leading to better learning outcomes overall. Why not make it a story you’ve also never read, so that you too will be hooked to keep on reading? Which brings us to..
- Keep things interesting for you too. Your child will sense and respond to your level of interest and engagement. If possible, choose a book that you also would like. However, even if they want you to read their favourite book for what feels like (or actually is!) the hundredth time, you can still have a bit of fun with it. Have a go at accents or sing your words.
- Every now and then, just lie back and make up a story together. This is great for their imaginations and it means that yours can run wild too. For that special touch, add magical details and funny family in-jokes.
Our favourite bedtime story books
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite bedtime stories. Note that these are mostly aimed at younger children (babies and toddlers). Once they are older, children can guide you on their reading preferences according to experience and personality.
This 1947 classic has remained popular, and for good reason. In a beautiful lulling pace, this rhyming book is about saying goodnight to everything around you.
A fun, modern take on Goodnight Moon, Goodnight iPad is about saying goodnight to all the electronic devices in the house – Androids, apps and remotes.
The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep
This book has been hailed as a bedtime miracle. Its author, a Swedish behavioural scientist, uses a hypnotic lulling pace that is purportedly effective in getting kids to sleep. Regardless of the science behind it, it’s still a great read!
I love you, Stinky Face
The story is about a little boy who tries to delay sleep by asking his mother whether she would still love him if he were a range of scary and horrid creatures.
Fairytales Gone Wrong: Get Some Rest, Sleeping Beauty!
A book in the Fairytales Gone Wrong series, Get Some Rest Sleeping Beauty tells the tale of Aurora, a girl who tries to stay up as late as she can and as a result wakes up very grumpy. When a spell sends her to sleep for 100 years, she wakes up energetic and happy. A fun lesson on the importance of sleep.
Stuck On You’s Personalised Story Books
Books that are personalised with your child’s name are a terrific way to get your child to connect with a story in a more empathetic and meaningful way. Being the hero of the story can also boost your child’s self-esteem and hold their attention longer, leading to more positive learning outcomes.
Stuck On You has a gorgeous range of story books which have been written and illustrated by children. Personalised with your child’s name throughout, there are three storybooks to choose from (with a boy and girl version for each).
Mitten the Kitten storybook (Written by Jayde Rumoro, illustrated by Abby Johnstone)
Mitten the Kitten is feisty and fabulous and knows her own mind. When she gets a little distracted, however, she finds herself entering a world she had never imagined existed…
Rufus the Best Dressed Rooster in Town storybook (Written and illustrated by Grace Leggatt)
Rufus is looking forward to attending the Annual County Chickie Dance. Join Rufus in his search around the farm for items to wear to help him win the Best Dressed Rooster Trophy. Will Rufus Win?
Plenty of Fish in the Sea storybook (Written and illustrated by Sofie Halfpenny)
A little goldfish named Goldy is very lonely and sad because she can’t find a friend at the bottom of the ocean. So off she goes in search of a friend – but will she find one?
Check out all our beautiful stories here.
“THE ORGANISED FAMILY” PODCAST SERIES, EPISODE 3 – TINY TO TEEN: THE IMPORTANCE OF LITERACY FOR ALL AGES
Listen to our podcast (click on the picture below) which hosts Tracey and Sarah from Booktopia, Australia’s leading online bookseller. Tracey and Sarah speak about the importance of sparking an interest in reading from a very young age (including while in the womb!), and provide tips and tricks on how to get kids of all ages (especially boys) interested in books.