The perfect time to get cosy and cuddle up with your kids is during a bedtime reading session. Books hold the key to fascinating stories that expand their imagination. Furthermore, reading to your child also provides cognitive development opportunities. Additionally, reading will further linguistic development. Books also broaden their understanding of emotions. Daily reading is an excellent ritual at any age. Choosing a new story every night can be an exciting activity in itself. Get cosy, curious and share your old favourites with your child. Here are 10 tips to get the most out of this beautiful experience.
1. Read to your little one at every age.
It is never too early to start reading to your baby. Even new-born babies will enjoy being read to. Even if they are still too little to understand what you are saying. However, cuddling up and hearing your voice relaxes them. Snuggling up like this is a great bonding experience for both of you.
You don’t have to stop reading to them when they start reading on by themselves either! Keep bedtime reading going. Providing this support can help nurture a love for reading that will be with them forever.
2. Establish a reading a routine.
Firstly, be as rigid or free with your routine as you like. Having a recognisable nightly ritual that indicates that it is time to slow down and relax is enough. Additionaly, a habit reassures children because they always know what to expect. Reading a story together is reassuring and comforting.
Staying consistent with your bedtime reading will also provide maximum support for your child’s developing linguistic skills. Children who read often are often shown to be happier, more creative, empathetic and healthier.
3. Get ready for bed before reading..
Get your child washed and into their pyjamas before you get out the book of the day. Doing this will make sure that they are ready to nod off once the story is over. (Ps. if you struggle to fall asleep, go ahead and do some bedtime reading of your own).
Talk to them about what book you should read while they are getting ready for bed. Ask your child what they believe the book will be about. Looking forward to a story will make getting ready easier. Finishing up quickly so that they can get to their book will become a priority for them.
4. Let them choose their bedtime story.
If you read a story to your child, that they chose, it will be more fun for everyone. You will enjoy reading to them when you can see how much fun they are having. Whether it is a picture book, a classic novel or a nature magazine, all that matters is that they enjoy it.
Go for bright, colourful books that are interactive if you are reading to a baby. Play with the book as you read. Rhyme and repetition are also great features that are fun and brilliant for development. Speak a bit slower than you usually would so that they can hear all the sounds that you make.
Give toddlers a chance to decide by giving them a choice of two books. Let them hold the books and drop the one they do not want. Even young children have opinions. Often they do not have many opportunities to make decisions for themselves.
Take older children to a bookstore to pick something out. Try out a variety of books together, and you will find the best combination for you and your child’s bedtime reading sessions.
5. Reading-time is cuddling time.
Get your cuddle on once they have chosen a book! Snuggle up together and if they are old enough, let your little one hold the book and turn the pages.
Bedtime reading is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together and strengthen your bond. Distractions are nowhere to be seen, and you can get your child to open up about their feelings. Being close to you will relax babies, and older children will appreciate having your full attention. Children of all ages will love cuddling and unwinding with you.
6. Get your child a library card.
Every week they will be able to bring home ten new books. After that, you can go back for ten more! Furthermore, going to the library is a great outing. Children will have so many book choices. From time to time your child might choose bizarre books. Football, history and astronomy books are never off the table. As long as they have fun and learning, anything goes!
You can even slip in one or two books that you would like to read. Think of all those great books you wish you had read when you were young. Now is your chance to read them! Try out the Wind In The Willows and The Magic Faraway Tree.
7. Unfamiliar words do not frighten children.
If a child takes an interest in a novel, there will be some words that even you do not know. Fancy scientific terms and sailing terms lingo only add to the fun. Your children are not likely to understand every single word. However, they will like hearing them all the same.
8. Ask questions about the book.
Children are naturally inquisitive. Bedtime stories present an excellent opportunity to encourage their curiosity. Ask them questions such as “Which character is the funniest?” and “Which picture is your favourite?” while you read to them. While you are at it, encourage them to ask you questions too. Reading books with pictures gives them something to point at when they answer your questions. Doing this connects what is in the book to the real world.
9. Follow with your finger.
Follow along in the book with your finger as you read. Point to the word you are saying and pronounce it. Doing this will expand your child’s vocabulary and improve their spelling. Following along as you read will show your children how different words are spelt. Not only will children who read often have a more extensive vocabulary, but they will also have better-developed spelling skills.
10. Read a quieter book for the finale.
Books that are exciting are great at building a love for reading. However, you also want your child to go to sleep. Choosing a gentle, peaceful book to read before it is lights out will encourage your little one to wind down.
A few good examples of gentle books are ‘Day is Done’ by Peter Yarrow, ”Baby Love’ by Angela DiTerlizzi and ‘Goodnight Moon’ by Margaret Wise Brown.
Bedtime Reading Stories
Day is Done
Day is Done by Peter Yarrow is the sweet story of all kinds of parents tucking their children into bed for the night. Every child from a little boy, to a rabbit, racoon and field mouse wonders if they will be safe. They all want to know if their parents will be there for them. Each mommy and daddy reassures them with the words “I am here.” Along with the touching story is Melissa Sweet’s delightful illustrations. Together these portray the love that is always present between parent and child perfectly.
Baby Love by Angela DiTerlizzi is a delightful picture book that is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. Rosy cheeks, tiny toes and things soft, cuddly and sweet are celebrated. It must be baby love! Parents are all familiar with the spark of joy that ignites when a baby giggles and smiles, kicking their tiny legs in the air. Baby Love is the perfect book to let your little one know how much you love them.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is an excellent bedtime reading book for putting children to sleep. Encourage them to follow the little bunnies example and say goodnight to their room and the moon. Quiet poetry is combined perfectly with soothing illustrations, making it an excellent book to end the day on.
If you follow these simple steps, bedtime stories will quickly become a fan favourite. Books have so much to offer you and your child. Providing opportunities to learn, have fun and get in some vital bonding time all at once.
Bedtime Reading A Gift Of Love
Reading to your child is a gift you can give every day, leaving them with a lifelong love for books. A passion for reading will benefit them in all areas of life. From social situations to school and university, having a vast vocabulary and superb spelling will always be an advantage. Give your children a head start. Help them grow into the emotionally intelligent, eloquent and creative people that they have the potential to be. Make reading a nightly ritual, and you will be amazed at the fantastic worlds of imagination that you uncover.