You can have the best bedtime routine in the world, but as babies get older and more aware of the interesting world around them, getting them to settle down can get harder and harder. This is one of the reasons why we love baby and toddler massage so much. It creates a calm and loving atmosphere so that little ones can switch off and settle down. And it’s why we believe in the beauty of the bedtime story too.
When babies are very young, there is no reason what so ever why they can’t sit with you and enjoy a book. The act of sitting and helping to turn pages is one of the earliest reading skills we have to learn, so why put it off? And as babies get older, they will start to show an active interest in books too. Choose chunky, colourful books that they can hold easily, and let them take charge. Talk about the words and pictures, but keep it simple. Older babies will be able to sit and concentrate a little better but still bear in mind that they might not make it to the end of every book. That’s ok. Just let your baby lead you, and let her enjoy the process of story time at her own pace and in her own way.
Toddlers from around the age of two years should be able to sit still a little longer and listen to stories. Although, of course, we are all different so if your toddler is not up for it right now that’s absolutely fine. And normal. For some children, the act of turning pages, pointing at pictures and moving on to the next book is just as good! For older children, the bedtime story can be a wonderful way to end the bedtime routine. You may find that your little one wants to listen to the same story over and over. And this is fine! It might get repetitive for you, but each time you read the same story you are helping to consolidate and re-enforce lots of new concepts, words and ideas for your little one. Soon, she will be able to help you to tell the story, and she will start to enjoy reciting the book with you. Again, this is an early reading skill we need to master in order to become confident readers, so it’s worth encouraging.
As so many children who are read to will start to foster a love for reading, and listening to stories. It really can be a wonderful way to end the day, and with this in mind, we wanted to share our top three reasons why we believe in the beauty of the bedtime story…
It helps to strengthen the bond between parent and child. At the end of the day, many parents look forward to spending some quality time with the children. With the stresses and strains of work and other commitments, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the things that need doing, that we can overlook the things that are truly important. But if you make time for a bedtime story each and every night, you know that you will end the day just right. What better way than to snuggle with your little ones and share in the wonder of a good book? It helps build language and communication skills. Children who are regularly read to may develop language and communication skills ahead of those who are not.
Research has proven that reading to children opens them up to a whole new world of fantasy, imagination, creativity and rhythm. It helps to build new words, new concepts and new ideas. It helps to develop communication skills through exploring emotions and it opens up many a door on the journey towards independent reading. Being read to is incredibly soothing, and it can help children to extend their vocabulary and critical thinking skills too. What a wonderful gift to bestow upon your child- the gift of reading, and of loving to read.
It helps children to settle down for a good night’s sleep. Babies, children and even adults are creatures of habit. We thrive on routine and order, which is why a good bedtime routine is so essential in the quest for a good night’s sleep. The bedtime story creates the perfect ending to any routine, because it is relaxing and calming. And because it is a time where your child is naturally quiet, listening, and snuggling up to you. What better way to prepare for sleep? Make sure the bedroom is dim, calm and relaxing. No TV or other screens- just you, your child, and a book. Perfect!