Baby doing bedtime reading

Why bedtime reading: Benefits for children in the short and long term

Bedtime reading or storytelling has been going on for ages. Remember how our mothers tell how their grandma told them stories at night gathering all children together and under the stars on the terrace or front yard? If you were lucky, you also had times during summer vacations where grandparents gathered you and your cousins on a hot night after a long family mea. Every child had at least once hastily finished their meal to get ready for these bedtime stories. Fond memories, eh? Back to 2023, where you have had a long day working from home or office staring at the computer screen for hours; your child had a day full of Peppa pig, Paw Patrol, and more edutainment. You don’t have the will or the energy to read or build a story to your little one–they’ve had enough stories in the day already. Why bother bedtime reading? In this article, we’re going to answer that specifically, explaining how storytelling is beyond the story. This age-old tradition has deep-rooted science.

Improves parent-child bonding

Most parents cannot give the quality time every child deserves–undivided attention and no hustle. We’re going fast but research shows that children who get more time from their parents in childhood are more attached to their parents and develop deep bonds that last forever. These children are also happier and resilient adults. Although you are working for them, your child needs you right now, and bedtime reading time can be that 1:1 time where your child can understand you as a soft person who has all the time in the world for them. Children are like sponges, they learn so much during the day. Bedtime reading can be that time where you learn who your child is in reality by simply observing how they respond to your narration.

Promotes language development

Bedtime reading can help improve your child’s vocabulary and language skills. Hearing new words, phrases from you can help them comprehend these words better and they get more comfortable using them in day-to-day conversations. The context in the stories can help them better understand the language and its usage better. Let them ask you what a word or a sentence means and explain it to them. Read them your native language books. You don’t want them to not know their beautiful and sweet mother tongue. An Australian article suggests that bilingual kids perform better academically and may build better cognitive intelligence

Enhances problem solving

The storylines, creativity of the author, and smart actions of the protagonists in the stories help children build better problem solving ability. Not only that, bedtime reading helps improve memory and concentration. Overall, bedtime reading helps improve logical thinking and boosts cognitive development. Afterall, children can learn about others’ life experiences through books. You can build a better understanding of cause and effect at a very early age.

Helps with emotional development

Books often mention the emotions of the characters in the story. Be it an animal, a tree, or a person, stories let kids understand that every living being has emotions. With bedtime reading children become more aware of the feelings of everyone around them and even become better at expressing their own feelings. Bedtime reading promotes empathy and compassion.

Makes them creative thinkers

Reading with your child can help them develop their imagination and creativity. Stories leave no barriers that we learn to put around ourselves as we grow up. They learn to think out of the box and find solutions that are not thought of before. Once in a while, ask them to tell you a story instead. They will either tell you the one that they know (which is great for memory) or will make one of their own (even better!). Most creative people read almost every day because books give them so many new ideas and perspectives that their own life cannot give them in the limited time they have.

Promotes independence

As your bub gets older, they get used to reading before bedtime. By plain observation, they develop the skills to read on their own. You will observe that your child will tell the story (even when they can’t actually read properly) when you read them their favourite book. They will hang around books when they get a chance to practise reading themselves. Over time, this can help them become more independent and confident readers.

Enhances sleep quality

Think of reading as hypnosis. What do psychiatrists actually do when they perform hypnosis? They dim the lights, use a radio jockey voice, and slowly tell you a story. The whole success of hypnosis is based on the relaxation of the listener. Similarly, when you dim the lights for bedtime reading, you get relaxed. Apps like Neend use this technique brilliantly. Some days are more stimulating or tougher than the others. Bedtime reading helps your child forget everything and enter the world of the story while they wind down. This cool down before sleeping can help fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”– Margaret Fuller. The most successful people are voracious readers. Bedtime reading sets your child for success not only academically, but for life. Besides all the reasons highlighted above, one must build an early habit of reading because there is so much to read and it is fun!

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