5 Important Ways Bedtime Stories Help Child Development
It’s no secret that reading to your little ones is beneficial. From cognitive and emotional development to simply spending that all-important quality time together.
Reading bedtime stories not only helps youngsters off to the land of nod, there’s plenty of evidence to show it can also play a large role in their academic and general development.
A research study found that when parents and caregivers interact verbally with children, they “learn a great deal more than we ever thought possible.” So, on that note, here are 5 ways bedtime stories help child development.
1. Language development
Hearing regular stories on a whole host of different topics, helps youngsters to build an ‘inner dictionary.’ Different characters, scenes and settings all come with their own new words, developing a child’s vocabulary and understanding of a language.
Reading with expression enhances this ability as they are able to pair emotions and expressions with words they may never have heard before. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a classic example of this, when read aloud with expression, children are able to grasp new descriptive words as shown in this passage:
It's wide & windy & wet Is that a river?
"Yes, that's a river!"
Can't go over it
Can't go under it,
What should we do?
"Let's go through!"
Splish splash …”
2. They develop a sense of empathy
Characters in books have thoughts, feelings and challenges to deal with. These emotions and situations can be a great way for children to reflect on their own emotions and actions, helping to develop a sense of empathy.
Children’s books often have a clear moral that can easily be related to. They are taken on a journey through a range of emotions which can help their overall understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings.
3. Conversational skills are enhanced
When you’re reading a bedtime story, it may become apparent that your child is constantly interrupting, getting distracted and asking questions. Yes, this may be an infamous delaying tactic to put off sleep but it is also their way of engaging in a conversation about the book.
This inquisitiveness is a great way of developing their conversational skills as they ask you questions which in turn you answer. A way to further enhance this is to relate it to everyday situations that they have been in: “Yes that’s right, she saw a spider, remember the spider we saw in the garden last week?”
From the world of Beatrix Potter to Roald Dahl’s flurry of mystical settings, creatures and characters, books really can ignite a youngster’s imagination. Stepping into another world helps children to expand their knowledge, enabling them to build an understanding of different topics and create new ideas in their minds.
Their cognitive abilities are enhanced by reading stories they are interested in, helping them to immerse themselves with the characters and develop concentration.
New stories and settings help children to expand their vocabulary by being able to picture words and sentences in different contexts. Imagination also sparks creativity in youngsters, a life-long skill which leads to innovation and new ideas.
5. Stronger bonds
As a parent or carer, you’ll know that the time you spend reading with your little ones can be absolutely priceless. Making them laugh with funny voices, seeing the wonder in their eyes as they learn new things and just being at one with each other.
Children benefit hugely from this one-to-one time where they can be entertained, ask questions and enjoy the company of their loved ones. Bedtime stories become a routine event in a child’s life. Those precious moments help to nurture their wellbeing, love and general emotional development. It’s also precious time spent away from technology like phones and ipads, meaning your attention is fully devoted to them.
If you need to add to your bedtime reading collection, we have plenty of books to choose from. Whether you fancy reading a classic from your own childhood like Enid Blyton's Famous Five or you’d like something new, find our library of books here.