Author: Little People's Bedroom Date Posted:10 April 2016
The bedtime story should be a real moment of complicity between the parent and the child.
"I work a lot, so I want to make sure that the little time I can share with my little boy is fully lived, says a mom. The bedtime story is very important for us: I forget all daily my worries and I totally escape with my son in extraordinary stories!" - Maree A.
The bedtime story, should bring parents and children together, espacially when they lived their day apart. It's a moment of exchange and it's very comforting and reassuring for the child. It shows him that your are available for him.
This ritual also provides a smooth transition between the busy day and sleep time.
Benefits of the bedtime story
The Bedtime story can help put into words emotions like fear, anxiety or frustration that a child may experience. By identifying himself to the hero of the story, the child will be able to put distance with his inner conflicts.
For example, fairy tales are ideal: they depict situations and very explicit characters, which children can easily relate to. And they often have a happy ending!
You can begin to read to a child at a young age. At one year old, take a very simple book that describes objects, colors. The bedtime story and early contact with books introduces children to the fun of reading.
To enliven the reading, it's a good idea to interpret the characters in the stories: change your voice or grimace to speak the witch ... and observe the reactions of your child!
Make this ritual a warm moment: make yourself comfortable with your child in his bedroom, with dimmed lights.
Bedtime story facts
- A new study of 2,000 parents and their children has shown that the ideal story should last just 8.6 minutes long.
- Create some interaction with the child. Ask him questions and let him ask some. This way the story doesn't become passive listening but rather stimulate their attention and imagination.
- Studies show that dads tell stories better! When dad reads a story, he tends to add more to it with sometimes some of his own memories, experiences with some more complexe language. These more imaged discussions, more abstract issues and use more complex language also participate in language development of children, especially when they are younger than two years.
Tips on how to read the "best" bedtime story
For the first 30 seconds, create sounds to set the scene - like a door banging (Bang!) or an owl tooting (tweet-to-wooo. Add narration in between these sounds to draw your child in and capture their interest immediately.
Ask your child if they can guess where the story is set and what might happen in this story. Predicting the events help children with understanding more about the story.
Now you can begin the story with an opening line such as ‘A long, long time ago’, ‘In a far off land…’ Say these slowly and smoothly and in your natural voice as you are narrating. Describe the characters by using words such as ‘She had luscious, long locks’ or ‘His voice was as gruff as a bear’s’.
As the story progresses, add noisy sounds to make the story more animated. Whoosh! Clang! Weeeeee! AHHHHHH!!!! The more involved you are, the more fun you and your child will have.
You are now about half way through and building up to the most exciting part of the story. Say some parts louder, quieter or even sing parts. Using your eyes and facial expression will enable your voice to sound more expressive. You could pick up the pace by speaking faster whic
h should keep your child on the edge of their bed!
Remember to change your voice for different characters e.g, go high for the fairy or low for the menacing dragon. You could ask your child to join in on parts that are repeated, e.g.” I’ll huff and I’ll puff…”
Now heading towards the last minute of the story, you should slow the pace of your storytelling and use a quieter voice so that your child knows it is coming to an end. Your voice needs to be smooth, gentle and breathy; this will relax your child and promote sleepiness.
When the story ends, ask your child what their favourite part was. They may have questions themselves. Make sure you answer them as they may not be able to sleep if they have unanswered questions!
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