Monthly Parenting Magazine

The Importance of Bedtime Stories

Bed Time Stories

Research conducted by bed and sleep specialist Time 4 Sleep, has revealed the top 10 children’s books that are most likely to help your kids drift off to sleep.

In an independent survey of 1,000 parents with children under the age of 11,  The Very Hungry Caterpillar came in first. The classic children’s book was revealed to be the most effective in lulling children off to a blissful night of sleep. The book, which was first published in 1969 has maintained its popularity for more than 40 years, and is accompanied in the top three by Harry Potter (first published 1997) and other classic favourites such as The BFG (1982) and Goodnight Moon (1947).

According to one in three parents, the most important benefit of reading to children at bedtime is to spend quality time together. Over a fifth of parents feel it helps to settle their child down before bed and a further 14% feel that the main benefit is to educate their child. More than half of parents also believe that reading to their children before bed is the most important part of their child’s nightly routine and 43% said that they read to their child most nights.

Jonathan Warren, director at Time 4 Sleep, added: “Reading to your child at bedtime is such a lovely tradition. It’s great to see that so many parents are choosing classic children’s stories that they likely enjoyed when they were children too.”

However, a survey conducted by YouGov for the children’s publisher Scholastic revealed that many parents stop reading to their children when they become independent readers, even if the child isn’t ready to move on from this nightly routine.

High percentages of children surveyed stressed the importance they placed in having a bedtime story read to them each night. The study found that 83% of children enjoyed being read aloud to, with 68% describing it as a special time with their parents.

“Children respond well to routine and familiarity,” says Hypnotherapist and author Dipti Tait. “Bedtime doesn’t have to be regimented and orderly, but if a child senses consistency, then the routine can be a reassuring concept and keep them feeling comfortable, calm and happy.”

“Storytelling is very important for the brain too. The brain, regardless of age, enjoys a good story as it activates our imagination. When we begin reading tales of adventure, fantasy and mystery to our children, this creates a positive pathway for the brain to follow. Once we drop into sleep, the brain naturally falls into REM, the dream state, so quite often the storytelling helps the child begin the REM process and often encourages sleepiness. A simple 10-15 minutes of this down time can have powerful and beneficial calming effects on our mental wellbeing.”

Bedtime Stories

Top 10 books to read to your child at bedtime:

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
  2. Harry Potter (1997)
  3. The BFG (1982)
  4. Goodnight Moon (1947)
  5. The Gruffalo (1999)
  6. Winnie the Pooh (1926)
  7. Llama Llama Red Pyjama (2005)
  8. Where the Wild Things are (1963)
  9. Guess How Much I Love You (1994)
  10. The Cat in the Hat (1957)

For more information about the importance of a bedtime routine, please visit the Time 4 Sleep website


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