Bedtime stories are a great way to bond with your children and send them off to sleep with a head full of images and adventures. But according to research by Leapfrog, only 24% of parents read to their children just once a week, or in some cases, even less than that.
On average only 16 minutes of bedtime stories are read to children, but there are some tips from educational experts designed to help both you and your child to get more out of story time.
Of course with busy lives and hectic schedules, bedtime stories can fall off the to do list when all you really want is an easy life. Janette Wallis, educational expert for Leapfrog said: “It’s such a key part of every child’s development, and an ideal opportunity for family bonding time.”
Reading Bedtime stories not only activates their imagination, it also helps them drift off to sleep, and feel closer to you as their parent.
These top tips should remind you why bedtime stories are something you should find time for.
The benefits of bedtime stories
Jannette Wallis shares her top tips for creating quality time when reading bedtime stories.
1. Family reading time should be about quality rather than quantity. Just 10 minutes of time spent interacting with books with your child will inspire a love and appreciation of reading.
2. Children like routine so try to find a regular daily time for reading that you can both look forward to. It doesn’t have to be bedtime – bath time, breakfast or after supper can be good times to share a book
3. Make reading exciting: brush up your dramatic skills, use different voices, or insert your child’s name in place of one of the characters. Be lavish with your praise! Try books with colourful illustrations and other interactive elements that help keep them engaged
4. Give your child an active role in reading time – let them choose which book you read and ask them to tell parts of the story. A reluctant reader can often be encouraged to read by taking turns with a parent, page by page.
5. Ask your child questions about the book. Look at the cover and illustrations together and see if your child can guess the story line. What was their favourite bit of the story? Talking it over afterwards will give you an idea of how much they have understood.
6. Set an example. You are your child’s most important role model so make sure he or she sees you reading – whether it’s a newspaper, a recipe, e-mails or a book. When you’re away from home remember to take along books, story CDs and other material for your child to read and listen to.