The age old tradition of reading bedtime stories to children does more than just encourage a closer parent-child relationship and put the little ones to sleep. Bedtime reading also offers numerous other benefits to a child’s overall health and development.
“Neural research shows that when parents and caregivers interact verbally with children–which includes reading to them–kids learn a great deal more than we ever thought possible,” says Dr. Reid Lyon, chief of the child development and behavior branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda.
“There is a clear indication of a neurological difference between kids who have been regularly read to and kids who have not,” Dr. Lyon adds.
The Benefits of Bedtime Reading
So, if reading Bedtime stories isn’t a regular practice in your home, here are some of its many benefits that may convince you to practice it:
- It helps build the child’s inner dictionary.
Books with rich stories and colorful language are able to introduce children to different ideas and objects that are not usually included in their daily conversations, thus increase and build their inner dictionary. Using story time is a great stepping stone for children’s conversations while modeling proper speech and language.
The more you read for your baby, the more she’ll be exposed to words. With age, your child will start to communicate with you through body language, verbal methods, and words just as you modelled during your bedtime reading nights.
- It develops the child’s cognitive and logic skills.
According to Virginia Walter, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California in LA, children don’t catch everything in the book read to them the first time they hear it. However, as they hear it again and again, they start to notice patterns and sequences.
After realizing what one page says, they’ll learn to predict outcomes or what may happen on the next pages. Bedtime Stories teach little ones to read from left to right. It also helps develop their comprehension and problem-solving skills with age.
- It helps nurture a child’s imagination.
Bedtime stories give children a feeling of escapism while bringing out their imagination. When accompanied by interactive play, voice acting, actions, props, costumes, etc., bedtime reading can stimulate a child’s imagination even better. These things can also capture their attention while enhancing their creative skills.
As your child reaches the age of three or four, encourage your kid’s participation during bedtime reading. Ask. Get their responses and reactions from the story you’ve read together. More than that, allow them to read the story with you.
- It can relax and soothe the child before bedtime.
Reading is more effective in relaxing, soothing, and destressing kids than watching TV and playing with gadgets, making it easier for parents to put their children to a goodnight’s sleep. Reading stories to kids can involve them in an entirely different world and relieve them from all their anxieties by relaxing their mind and body.
Snuggling close to your child in a comfortable place while reading a bedtime story can effectively comfort your child and lower her stress levels. More than that, your child will even be able to associate reading with emotional warmth and fun.
Great Storybooks to Read to Kids
“Children are made readers on the lap of their parents,” says Emilie Buchwald, an award-winning children’s author. To instill the love of reading in your kids while getting started in building a storybook collection for bedtime reading, see below storybook suggestions (from birth to age 12):
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
- Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
- Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
- I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
- Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker
- The Everything Book by Denise Fleming
- “More, More, More,” Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
- Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
- Good Night, Good Knight by Shelley Moore
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
- Pass the Celery, Ellery! by Jeffrey Fisher Gaga
- Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
- More Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron
- A Poke in the I by Paul Janeczko
Gift your children these numerous benefits by reading great bedtime storybooks to them. Starting tonight, read them a story, tuck them in, say a sweet prayer, and kiss them goodnight! ♥
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