Reading to our kids at bedtime is the stuff memories are made of.
We love it. They love it. And the benefits are bar none.
Why is this beloved bedtime tradition so meaningful?
Because it creates a bond between you and your child that no one can replace.
It builds communication skills. It opens up the door to conversations about life, love, and everything in between. It teaches kids about the world around them. It encourages kindness, empathy, and inclusivity.
And those are just the relational benefits.
What about the educational benefits?
Well, there are plenty of those too.
It improves vocabulary and language. It improves concentration. It improves reading comprehension. And it helps to develop a child’s imagination.
Bottom line, don’t skip the books at bedtime.
Reading to your kids helps them learn to communicate in a way that’s natural and low-pressure. With an engaging story, you can ease into difficult conversations about current events or challenges your child may be facing. It’s important to begin early and keep the lines of communication open so that kids know they can come to you when they need a listening ear.
Yes, this statement is a bit cliche, but bear with us. We live in a time where it’s so important to encourage kids to celebrate their differences – those traits that make them unique. Reading books about different cultures or written from different perspectives is one way to raise kids who are loving and compassionate citizens of the world.
Do you have a child who is a budding artist? It’s terrific to provide them with the space and supplies they need to create a masterpiece. But did you know that reading can help encourage creativity as well? By sharing stories of mystery, romance, and adventure, you are setting the stage for artistic exploration during childhood and beyond.
Kids can often understand books read aloud at a higher level than they can read themselves. Because of this, when you read challenging books, you are exposing them to big words and complex storylines. Those things lead to a larger vocabulary, better comprehension, and improved concentration.
It’s important to spend quality time with your kids. Especially with work and school and busy schedules. Carving out 15 minutes at the end of the day to share a good story is a wonderful way to wind down and spend some time together before bed.
Reading won’t be everyone’s favorite hobby. But, when you make reading a part of your daily life and show kids that it’s an enjoyable pastime, they are more likely to grow up loving it as well. Reading is an important skill and when kids are strong readers, they can learn anything they set their minds to. Set them up for success by creating positive memories around books and shared stories.
Often we turn to screens to help ourselves and our kids wind down for bed. Unfortunately, this tends to have the opposite effect. The blue light from our devices can wreak havoc on our sleep cycle. Books are a much better way to end the day.
So, we’ve covered WHY it’s important to read to our kids.
What about the how?
When starting a new habit (or improving an old one), it seems like there are always logistical hurdles to cross. While we don’t have all the answers, we do have a few tips to help add reading to your nighttime routine.
Multitask – read stories while kids are in the tub. This works especially well for little ones. While they are splashing around in the tub, grab a chair and read a few stories. They are contained and happy and reaping the rewards of read-alouds.
Book time = snack time. Why is it that kids always decide they are starving right when it’s time to tuck them in? Pair bedtime books with a snack and make it part of your nightly routine. Problem solved.
Audiobooks will do just fine. So many parents feel guilt over choosing audiobooks instead of reading to their kids. Don’t. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to experience the art of good storytelling. And it’s sometimes nice to take the pressure off yourself and just enjoy the story too.
Pick from a curated list. Often, one of the hardest parts about reading to kids is actually choosing a story. We’ve got you covered. We found this fantastic list on a site all about sleep (how fitting!) of 50+ books that promote compassion, diversity, and cultural awareness. Check it out here.
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