Bedtime Story – By Michelle Arscott
Bedtime Story- Its Importance & How To Make The Most Of It! – Written By Michelle Arscott
Where can you hop to the future, skip to the past, stand in the shoes of legends, face giants, be an astronaut or laugh and cry? Where can you enjoy an adventure with your child, without even leaving your child’s bedroom? Why through the magical world of books!
One of the best daily experiences you can give your child is sharing a book with them at bedtime. The benefits far exceed the more obvious academic ones. This article will explore some of the merits of shared bedtime reading for you and your child and also examine ways of making it a positive experience.
o BENEFITS OF THE BEDTIME STORY
When you hear the words ‘bedtime story’, what thoughts come to mind? Maybe memories of being snuggled up on your own parent’s lap, sharing feelings of cosiness, security and sleepiness as you listen to the soothing sound of your parent’s voice, or maybe being swept away into the world of books?
Whatever your thoughts and feelings, they will most likely be of a positive nature. Bedtime stories are a great way to create a positive association around books and can help children to become book lovers – an invaluable lifelong gift!
Reading with your child is a great way to deepen the connection between you both, a lovely way to end the day on a positive note, especially after a potentially stressful bedtime routine of battling and negotiating to get them to put on their pyjamas and clean their teeth, with your eye on the clock. Reading a story is also an opportunity for you to unwind and let go of the day, to lose yourself in the book and be in the moment with your child.
Through carefully selecting stories, you can also discuss important issues that are occurring in your child’s life, such as friendship concerns, feeling different and bullying. Stories are a very gentle and effective learning tool and a great way to start discussions. They can provide a safe space in a supportive and loving environment, where a child can discuss what a character is going through and by identifying a character’s feelings and emotions, it can lead to them open up about their own experiences.
Books are also a great way to prepare children for potentially stressful life events. There are many children’s books covering topics such as going to the dentist, starting school, moving home and the arrival of a new sibling. Being able to read to your child about the event before it happens, is like a rehearsal for your child. It helps to minimise the potential stress of the actual situation, as, through their imagination and discussion, they have already experienced it and started to understand and process their feelings.
o FINDING THE RIGHT BOOKS
It is important to find books that capture your child’s imagination and that correlate to their current experiences and passions. In many houses, there are probably quite a few books on dinosaurs, bugs, fairies and princesses… There are some great online sites that can support you in your search for interesting and relevant books. LoveReading4Kids.co.uk is an invaluable resource with monthly, age-specific, book recommendations covering the latest released books. It’s also a great idea to check out children’s classics such as ‘The Spot’ books, by Eric Hill or any Roald Dahl book. Look for lists on the internet of the top books that children should read for inspiration. For example, Commonsensemedia.org provides a culturally diverse list of ‘50 Books all kids should read before 12.’
Another fun way to select books is by simply browsing and seeing what book appeals to your child. In Nairobi, there is the beautiful hidden gem of Oshwal library, with a well-stocked collection of both kids and adult books. You can join for a small fee and together with your child get lost in their book collection, a pleasant way to pass the time together.
o CREATE AN APPEALING ENVIRONMENT
Have a set place where you can read together at night and make it cosy. Perhaps a bright cushion, a special reading blanket and a slightly dimmed light for bedtime reading to create a perfect reading ambience, adding further to the appeal and magic of books and parent bonding time.
Remember bedtime storytime is about creating a positive atmosphere. It is not about focusing upon the mechanics of your child’s reading abilities. This time can be you reading to your child, or you both taking turns to read the book or it can be your child reading to you. It is whatever is a pleasurable experience for you both, the main purpose is to enjoy, connect and open up your children’s world to the magic of the books!
What book are you going to read tonight with your kids?
Michelle Arscott – The International Adult & Kids Life Coach
BSc (Econ) Psychology & Sociology
ILM certified Coach
Kids Life Studio Certified Coach
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