Tips for Choosing a Bedtime Story for Your Child

Posted in Family
read time
3 mins

Picture of a mother reading a bedtime story to a young child.


Tips for choosing a bedtime story for your child


Reading to your child is one of the rewarding times in a parent’s life. It is also a valuable way of helping them learn about the world around them. The challenge can be choosing the right bedtime stories from the many available. Here are our tips for choosing the perfect bedtime story for your child.


Why the old bedtime stories are the best


Some things only get better with age. By thinking back to the stories you loved as a child, you may be able to find something that your child would love. You might even still have some of your childhood books. And if you don't there is a chance they are hibernating in your parent's attic. Passing down a treasured tale from parent to child is a magical experience for both of you.


Why books with pictures are important


Picture of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Children like to be able to see images. If they’re not yet able to follow the words in the story, they should be able to see pictures of what you’re reading to them. This will help them follow the story even if they don't know the words. You can stop every so often and describe one of the pictures to your child. It's great if you can get into a conversation about the images with your child, as this helps their comprehension and speech. It's also more fun for both of you!


Practice makes perfect


Reading a story to a child is more engaging if it’s more of a dramatic performance than a simple reading exercise. If you’re new to reading bedtime stories, or it’s a story you don’t know, you can try reading it ahead of time. That way, you can practice voices for each of the characters, and know where the story is going. Familiarity with the story will also make your delivery more natural and engaging.


Should you give your child a choice of bedtime stories?


Yes! Children love being involved in decisions, so you should always ask them to choose the book that they would like you to read for them. A good tip though is to narrow the field down first and give them a choice of three or four titles, otherwise the deciding could take a while! Children sometimes like to hear the same stories repeatedly, so you might want to include their favourites in the list. Once they’re familiar with certain stories, and the characters within them, they’ll be able to get more involved in the stories you are reading.


Should you read your child a scary story?


Picture of a scary house from a bedtime story

The idea of a story is to help your child settle down before they go to bed, so you might want to make sure that the stories aren’t scary. Remember that sometimes even little things can scare children, so if there’s any kind of “monster” or “baddie” in the book, it’s probably best avoided. Their ability to handle and understand less appealing and more frightening characters and situations will increase as they get older. You should judge for yourself what is suitable for your child.

Once you have chosen your bedtime story, you can look forward to telling it to your child. In the years to come your child will hold happy memories of this quality time that you have shared together and the stories will help shape their vision of the world. It will also help them to fall asleep. And if your child sleeps better, you will too!