Bedtime Stories: You Snooze You Lose

“I love you as much as a mother can love.”  After reading her favorite story, she fell peacefully into a deep slumber.

I’ve noticed that when I curl up in my big rocker, snuggle my baby close, and begin reading her favorite story, she calms right down. Even when my tween daughters ask for a story at bedtime; a sense of serenity comes over them as I read even the first page. What is it about a story at bedtime that casts a magical spell, even over the most rambunctious of children?

Children want their parents’ time and attention. What better way to meet that wish than to end the day curled up together with a favorite story. Frequently, both parents work, leaving little time for family interaction and requiring time together to be scheduled.

Make tuck in and bedtime more special and bonding with good books. Picture books make great books for bedtime snuggles. Parents will have to draw the child close if the child is to see the pictures; makes a good excuse for a child to be held, cuddled, and snuggled to sleep. Some good choices are Sleep Like a Tiger or The Kissing Hand.

The bedtime story is a ritual that is a part of every culture on earth.  Although a story at the end of the day can seem routine to adults, reading together has profound effects on how a child acquires language, builds vocabulary, learns about the worls and build a relationship with a parent.

Bedtime stories also set the stage for learning. When a story is read more than once, the child then begins to recognize patterns and sequences, developing logical thinking. Logical thinking is important for reading, math, and problem solving. When reading a book for the first time, invite the child to make a prediction, encouraging critical thought. If you read a familiar book, ask the child what they would do differently or how they would end the story. Consider classic fairytales as an option for older children. These stories provide the opportunity to develop critical thought as well as allow children to rewrite the ending. These stories also appeal to both boys and girls.

Who said bedtime stories are just for children who can’t read? Did you know, that reading with a fluent reader will not only improve their vocabulary when a book above their reading level is read, but will also improve communication? Choose books by writers who use big words, it will encourage a more broad vocabulary. Even reading with your teenage child at bedtime is beneficial, maybe in ways you as the parent will never know.

For example, when you choose books dealing with teen issues, you may get them to open up and talk with you about their struggles or concerns. As an added bonus, you will get to see your teen every night; what parent wouldn’t want that connection with their teen? If reading to your children is habitual from the time they are small, then continuing the practice of reading at bedtime, to teenaged children, will not be such a shock. Having this sort of time with your teen will require determination on everyone’s part, turning off electronics, and sacrifice. The results will be well worth it though, you will be glad you continued the bedtime ritual. Consider thought provoking stories such as The Boy in Striped Pajamas or dystopian society novels, such as The Hunger Games; profound conversation is bound to follow.

Stories using soft calm words in place of more energetic words, create a more mellow tone. When stories are read with a soft voice, a gentle mood is set for peaceful rest. Sometimes children go to bed with troubles and worries weighing heavily upon their young minds. A good story may help to calm them, offer solutions to a problem, or just cheer them up. Consider, Pomelo Begins to Grow. Young children often worry about growing up and take those worries to bed. The story about Pomelo has all the qualities of a good bedtime story and will give parents the opportunity to resolve any concerns the child might have.

If you don’t make the time for bedtime stories and snooze through each precious evening, you will lose essential bonding time with your kids. So, whether you are reading to a newborn baby girl or along with your teenage son, bedtime stories are the perfect solution for bonding, learning, and winding down to sleep.