We all know that reading brings a multitude of mental benefits to children. But there is something about reading bedtime stories to your children that holds a lot of positive attributes.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons that will push you to become reading bedtime stories a priority every night.
Reading bedtime stories in today’s world
Reading bedtime stories to children is one of the many parenting traditions that have aged well. In fact, many of us have fun memories of reading a bedtime story with our parents. Now that you’re a happy parent yourself, it is about time to do the same with your children.
However, in our increasingly fast-paced lifestyle, reading bedtime stories is often left at the back burner mainly due to our busy schedules and long working hours.
Kate Rumsby from Coram Beanstalk through The School Run, a charity that teaches volunteers to help children read, says that Reading to our children is not just a bedtime event; it’s an activity that can be encouraged in every area of life. That said, there’s something very special about a bedtime story being read out loud. A bedtime story doesn’t require children to focus on the mechanics of learning to read, but on the enjoyment of the story and the idea of being transported to other worlds before drifting into dreams about them.”
Here are some of the many reasons as to why we believe reading bedtime stories should be prioritized every night:
It serves as a bonding time
Whatever your kid’s age, reading him or her a bedtime story gives them time and opportunity to talk to you, which is something that doesn’t happen at any time of the day because you are busy with work.
Emily Drabble of BookTrust, the United Kingdom’s leading reading charity, says that “a night-time book shared with a child when they’re ready for bed provides the perfect time for cuddles, bonding time, and creating cozy memories that will last a lifetime.”
It enhances your child’s reading skills
Sure, most of the time you are doing the reading, but it does not mean your child’s reading skills stay stagnant. You will be surprised by how your child grasp the story when you’re reading a bedtime story, following the words and phrases and starting to follow them on pages.
Alternatively, a bedtime story can be a great time for shared reading. For instance, you and your child can take turns in reading pages or a paragraph just so you can help enhance your child’s reading ability.
It gives them an avenue for empathy
Sometimes, it’s a lot easier to reflect our actions through the perspective of fictional characters in a bedtime story. When the protagonist is having a challenge in life, your child will learn how to ponder about life’s common challenges and think about how to deal with them. Dr. Alan Mendelsoh, associate professor of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine, told:
“Children have an opportunity to think about the characters and their feelings. They learn to utilize words to describe feelings that are too difficult and this gives them better idea about controlling their behavior when faced with anger or sadness.”
It encourages conversations
When reading a bedtime story, there are times that your child distracts you with questions and insights. It may seem off-putting at first, but you have to realize that it is actually a great way to help ignite a conversation with them. Explain and answer your child’s inquiries to increase better understanding. And if you have a chance to relate a part of the story to a recent event, do so. For instance, if the bedtime story involves puppies, then you can talk about the puppies you saw a week ago.
It helps build their vocabulary
Reading a bedtime story to your child enhances your child’s language skills even more. If you didn’t know about it yet, children need to hear a new word up to 12 times before they can use it in conversations. Therefore, reading a bedtime story is a great way to expose your child to new words, as well as increase better word retention.
It sparks their imagination
Fairies, wizards, unicorns, and princesses—they are fictional characters that offer new worlds and perspectives to your children. Reading a bedtime story will help your child think and dream of imaginative places, hence improving their imaginative skills. This may come in handy in the future since imagination is crucial to creativity.
It improves emotional intelligence
Children’s stories help little kids confront and deal with their feelings and help them realize that they’re not alone. It helps them become aware that they are not the only ones who are going through the feelings fictional characters experience in the books.
Reading books is a good way to discuss rather taboo subjects, like illnesses and sadness.