Most kids instinctively love books, especially those that are repetitive and colourful, but while kids see bedtime stories as a cheeky bit of extra fun before going to sleep, they’re actually much, much more than that. Spending some one-on-one quiet time with your children before bed can shape their imagination and it’s also an excellent parent-child bonding experience. It can even boost literacy skills and health, too!
Of course, if you’re keen for your kids to learn about their culture and religion as well as have fun, there are always plenty of, for example, Hindi stories for children to choose from. Here is some helpful information about the importance of bedtime stories for kids, and some suggestions for good bedtime stories to share with your little ones.
Bedtime Stories Help Establish Routine
Have you ever noticed how your kids seem reluctant to go to bed, even when they’re so tired they can barely keep their eyes open? Think about yourself. Could you go directly from high-energy activities straight to a calm and relaxed slumber? No, that’s why many adults read books – or watch TV – before bed. Bedtime reading can help children establish a routine, with stories indicating the end of social encounters and the beginning of alone time.
Doctors from The Mayo Clinic in the USA have written about how bedtime reading can really help a child who doesn't want to go to bed – stories can help with the transition from day to night. A bedtime story can act as a cue to your kids to let them know that this change from day to night is taking place.
You’ll already know just how quickly kids learn things, so they’ll soon start to understand that sleep comes after the bedtime story, and they’ll start to form an association between the two – hopefully making bedtime much less stressful for you both.
Small Stories for Kids Can Aid Health
Reading to your kids at bedtime really can aid both mental and physical health. In terms of emotional health, we’ve already mentioned how research has found a link between bedtime and anxiety.
Even just a short bedtime story can help the brain adjust, making for a more adaptable child who can enter a range of different situations without experiencing too much stress. In terms of physical health – well, do you have a thumb-sucker? Thumb-sucking is a very common childhood trait that mimics a baby’s suckling motion when they’re feeding from the breast or bottle. Thumb-sucking provides a sort of comfort, especially when children are tired or drifting off to sleep.
The problem, however, is that once children start to cut their first teeth, thumb sucking can affect the way those teeth can grow and can lead to problems with oral health. So if you’ve got a thumb-sucker, read on! One study has found that getting into a bedtime reading routine is very effective in discouraging thumb-sucking before bed, as it gives your child something else to focus on. In fact, the study in question found a 100 percent success rate!
Home Reading Boosts Literacy and Academic Performance
Despite the fact that the figures are better than ever, literacy is still a very real concern throughout much of India. Learning should be as much a part of the home as it is of the school. Research has consistently found that parents play a vital role in developing literacy skills, and that reading at home is an excellent base for your child’s education.
Choose Moral Stories for Kids
If you’re new to bedtime reading, you may be wondering what sort of books you should read to your children. Simple, funny books are fine, but stories with a moral are great choices as they incorporate learning into the process. Moral stories can teach your kids about everyday challenges, about how to treat others, and about life in general – things that are often skimmed over in schools in favour of facts and figures.
When it comes to choosing a story, just remember to steer clear of anything scary, as studies – and experience – show that frightening stories before bed can cause nightmares! Consider reading your child some of Aesop's fables – these famous tales can be found online or in illustrated books for kids.
Indian Moral Stories You Can Read
Moral stories with Indian origins are well worth looking into as bedtime reading material for your kids. The Panchatantra stories for kids, focusing on traditional enemies and unlikely friendships, have an excellent moral basis and also incorporate aspects of ancient Indian culture and fables that will help your children understand more about their country’s history.
You could also try reading them some of the witty yet thoughtful stories of Tenali Raman or Akbar & Birbal. How do you get your kids to go to sleep? Do you incorporate reading into their daily bedtime routine? Why not share your thoughts with other parents below, and give them some suggestions for reading material in case they're just starting out with home reading.