The Importance of Reading Bedtime Stories for Children
Beyond creating a habit, what we do when we put our children to bed and read them bedtime stories is offer them a safe and stable routine. This wonderful nighttime ritual has several benefits for little ones.
Reading bedtime stories to children is one of the routines that we, as parents, incorporate almost automatically. Our children love this special moment and it makes us feel connected to them. We create an intimate space to close a busy day.
You’ll be surprised to know that this simple gesture is one of the most important activities you can do for them, especially in the ages between 2 and 4.
At that stage, infants need to feel safe because of the number of fears they face. Reading them bedtime stories is one of the best ways to do it.
Why is reading bedtime stories a healthy habit?
Children need routines, as they give them security. They’re getting to know the world and everything changes constantly for them. Therefore, when they’re able to anticipate what follows, they relax.
After playing comes the bath, dinner, we wash our hands and teeth, a bedtime story, and then to sleep. These rituals allow them to relax and sleep better.
They feel loved
The simple fact that you reserve an exclusive time to share with them is very enriching for both of you. Therefore, it’s important that you forget your phone or all your pending tasks during the minutes you’re with them.
Listening to your voice, feeling your closeness, and observing the intonation you give to each part of the story makes your child feel embraced, loved, and important.
Without a doubt, reading bedtime stories is the best way to put the finishing touch to a day full of adventures.
It helps them process their experiences
Throughout the day, children face many situations that are new to them. Maybe they had a fight with one of their friends at school or have felt uneasy after not understanding what their teacher said, among other possible situations.
Their little world grows every second and it’s not always easy to assimilate or digest. When they hear a story, they can see themselves reflected in it, identify some of their fears and insecurities, and learn the means to face them through the protagonist.
This means that it’s also important to choose appropriate stories for their level of maturity.
Beyond age, each child develops in a very different way and you have to respect that. Pick stories that are capable of transmitting clear and positive messages in a simple way.
It isn’t necessary for you to explain to them what’s happening. Trust them, they will get the part of the story they need at every moment. This can even be therapeutic and, in this sense, you should never force what they’re assimilating from their environment.
A cognitive reinforcement
Although this moment is linked more to the emotional part and relaxation, listening to bedtime stories will help them learn new words and forms of expression. It will also help them develop their language skills.
In addition, this will improve their attention span by following the thread of a story and understanding it from start to finish, while putting their imagination to work.
“Reading bedtime stories to children is one of the routines that we incorporate almost automatically. They love this moment and it makes us feel connected and linked.”
It relaxes them
A good story is the ideal way to close the day. They associate this moment with the time to go to sleep and they start to calm down naturally.
Choose bedtime stories with a happy ending. Make your voice sound soft. Try to lower the intensity of the light, and always do it when they’re tucked in bed. You’ll see that it’s much easier to incorporate healthy sleeping habits.
Always the same story!
Don’t be surprised if your children ask you over and over again to read them the same bedtime story. As we’ve said, they feel at peace and secure when they’re able to anticipate things and know what’s going to happen.
Knowing all the words you’re going to say helps them put their heads in order and everything that has happened throughout the day.
On the other hand, the way we learn is through repetition. Children will discover something new in each of the occasions that you read that story to them.
All the while, they’ll be integrating new words, experiences, and reliving the emotion they felt the first time they heard it.
Don’t forget about limits
Our children need to feel loved and protected. Limits are the way in which they perceive that we love them and that we’re taking care of them, because they still don’t know what they need in each moment.
If you tell them that you’ll only read one story, respect that agreement. This way, you’re teaching them to keep their word and that they can trust that you’ll also keep your word.