Most every parent knows the request for “I want bedtime stories, please.” issued by their little ones. So here are three tips about bedtime stories that are fun for you and them.
1. Learn to tell stories and not just read them.
You are not limited to the books on your shelf from the bookstore or library. Stories existed and were passed on well before cheap printing was available. So put down the book and give your kids the gift of looking them in the eye while you talk with them. Learn to tell, not just read stories, to your children. Explore guides like the “DaddyTeller” ™ book that teaches Dads (and Moms, too) how to be heroes to their children while passing on family values through a straightforward story at a time.
2. Storytelling improves literacy and math skills.
You might be thinking, “Bedtime stories improve literacy? Telling stories for children can make math scores improve?” These are the surprise benefits of bedtime stories! All this time, you thought you were trying to get your little monkeys to sleep. Your bedtime story also helps your child grow intellectually! Children who hear and tell stories subtly learn skills such as sequencing, categorizing, imaginative play, prediction, characterization, etc. Your kid’s brain subconsciously practices and applies these skills even if you do not know what those terms mean.
3. Bedtime stories benefit you, the parent, too.
Let us not forget the benefits to parents of storytelling with their children. Whether you read books or tell stories, you take the time to slow down and bond with this little one you love. For many parents, our days are filled with much rushing around. Take the time in the evening to snuggle with your child. You are creating memories for both you and them. You’ll need these memories for when your preschooler turns teen one day and has learned to push all your panic buttons. Sit down to share a story with your child and lower your blood pressure. Sit down and tell a story while you pay special attention to how you, not the TV or the Internet, have these moments to educate your child and pass on your values through your chosen stories.
Choose a bedtime story tonight and grow the good things in your and your child’s lives.
Sean Buvala is the executive director of the internationally recognized Storyteller.net. This article first appeared in 2010 and has been updated for 2023. He is also the author of the book “DaddyTeller™: Be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them What’s Really Important by Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time.” You can order them at daddyteller.com.