Monday, 8 September 2014

A bedtime story......vital!!!



            There is so much more to be gained from reading a bedtime story then you may think!


I was disturbed to hear this morning during a piece on getting children reading on the television, that only 1 in 5 children have a bedtime story! This has totally stunned me, as from the word go, I have instilled this nightly ritual into our home. The only time our little one does not get a story at bedtime is if she has misbehaved or fallen asleep and needed carrying to bed! I even put a story book in her bag when she goes to stay with her grandparents so she has a story for her bedtime routine!
The loveliest thing for me at this time of day is that there are no interruptions or distractions. It is just me and my daughter, tucked up in her bed enjoying a book together! In the past, I have read longer stories which have gently lulled her to sleep, but now these stories keep her interested until the last word, when we cuddle and kiss and say Goodnight. It is also a lovely time for Daddy to get involved too, when he is home early enough from work or on weekends. It becomes quite a disappointment when one of us doesn't get chosen to read the story at bedtime!!

But reading at bedtime has more benefits than you may think. Yes, it helps on a literacy and language side of things, but there are other benefits which can help boost your child's development in other areas too.

1. A bedtime story can help soothe a child before sleep, allowing them to feel calm and relaxed after a busy day. ( I find it relaxes me too!!)

2. It is a great bonding activity. By spending this quality time together for the length of a story or two, it allows you to share intimate moments which your child will treasure. A great talking point for the following morning too!!

3. It has been said that reading to your child at bedtime can boost your child's brain development too! Check out this fantastic piece on this subject : http://www.parents.com/fun/entertainment/books/the-brainy-benefits-of-bedtime-stories/

4. Reading at bedtime helps to boost motor skills, as children learn to turn the pages and hold the book steady with their carer.

5. Reading at bedtime allows children to start a love for books, as they associate the time spent sharing a story with their carer as a positive, fun and interesting moment. This is why starting early with bedtime stories make such a difference (we started from birth with a bedtime story, and had been reading to her when she was in the womb too!!)

6. Bedtime stories help to boost a child's knowledge. By reading stories about different scenarios and discovering how characters react to these situations, a child begin to piece together an understanding of the world around them. This helps when these situations then happen to them in the real world!
7. It develops imagination! I have found since our daughter has reached 4 years old, she tends to have a dream about a story we have shared. We have had lovely discussions about how she dreamt she was flying with Peter Pan after having a story one bedtime about the character!

8. You can still have bedtime stories with older children too! Even though some may prefer to read a book to themselves as part of the bedtime routine, it is still lovely to be read to! I intend to read chapter books to our daughter until she asks us to stop! It helps older children to wind down as much as younger children, without making their eyes carry on working when tired!!

9. Bedtime stories help children to become storytellers themselves. You may notice from their play during the day that words, phrases or situations may be played out as they have heard in a book. I had an example of this today with our daughter, who had been read The Gruffalo at school and was reciting the rhymes from the story to her toys!

10. Bedtime stories teach children that to read effectively, it is best done in a quiet, warm environment, where they feel safe and comfortable. This will allow them to understand how satisfying it is to get completely lost in a book without the distractions of everyday life around them.

I wonder what story we will share with our daughter tomorrow?? And I cannot wait to share a story with our newest addition to the family come the end of the year too!!!

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