Reading to your children has long been known to have huge benefits for their development. From developing the bond between child and parent to boosting children’s brain developments, I could talk all day about why it is so vital (and have in my posts ‘Can you be too young to enjoy reading?’ and ‘Time to read’). So it goes without saying that reading at bedtime is one of the best things you could do with your children.
Reading on the decline?
Sadly, recent research by Fly Research found that just 49% of parents aimed to read a story every night to their children with only 28% managing to do so! As well as this, we’re seeing technology suffocating more and more of our lives. In the above study, 26% of parents swapped their children’s books for technology and 65% admitted that they have opted to put their child in front of the tv or Youtube instead of enjoying a bedtime story. This saddens me!
Booktrust’s Pyjamarama Campaign 7th June
At Booktrust, they understand the importance of reading at bedtime and have teamed up with Horrid Henry author, Francesca Simon to urge parents to ditch the technology and rediscover the joys of reading at bedtime. Their Pyjamarama campaign , which starts on 7th June, encourages children (and adults!) to wear their pyjamas and donate £1 to the campaign. As well as receiving the support of Francesca, it has also been given the thumbs up by others such as Tony Ross and Jacqueline Wilson, plus Ben and Holly from Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom :). The money raised will help Booktrust to ensure that every child has access to reading and books. Just £25 would supply 15 pre-school children in Women’s Refugees with book packs! Find out more about the Pyjamarama campaign and how you can get involved. Fundraising packs are also available to help you on your way!
Five Top Tips for Reading at Bedtime
- Have a routine – The consistency will help your child to realise that it is time to wind down for sleep. Our routine is bath, book, bed but do what works for you.
- Allow your child to choose the book – They’ll enjoy it more if it’s something they want to read. Even if it means you read the same one over and over and over (my life at the moment!).
- Never remove bedtime stories for behaviour – If you remove the story then not only have you removed an important calming tool but you’re also denying them of the benefits reading provides. Instead, I read a short story if my little one has not behaved and use longer stories for good behaviour. I make a point of explaining that if he had behaved then there would have been more time for the longer story, therefore still getting him to realise the consequences of his actions.
- Get comfy – Whether it’s a special reading chair or snuggling up in bed, there’s no better way to bond with your child. We’re often joined by a teddy or two!
- Avoid the excitable – It’s probably not the wisest idea to read the likes of ‘Tanka Tanka’ or ‘The Dinosaur that Pooped Daddy’ right before bed. Excitable children means less sleep. It’s equally not the best idea to read “scary” books before bed if your child has an overactive imagination, like mine. For us, that means The Gruffalo and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt are out of the question!
Six Recommended Books for Reading to Your Toddler at Bedtime
There are so many books I could have listed but here are six (sorry I couldn’t narrow it down any further than this!) that are perfect for reading at bedtime with your toddler:
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Little Chick and the Secret of Sleep by Malachy Doyle
- Goes to Sleep by George Berkowski
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam Bratney
- Peace at Last by Jill Murphy
- On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
To celebrate the Pyjamarama campaign, we have a Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom prize pack to giveaway. The pack includes:
– 35 Piece Puzzle
To enter, complete one or more of the gleam options below. The more options completed, the more chances of winning.