It’s long been known that children benefit from bedtime stories. They are a great tool for bonding with your little one and helping them feel calm, safe and ready for sleep. While these alone are enough reasons to get some bedtime reading in, the benefits of bedtime stories go a lot deeper.
Table of Contents
Benefits of reading bedtime stories to children
Improves language skills
Speech, reading, and listening are all important skills that can be developed very early in a little one’s life. Literacy and language are taught in schools from a young age, so reading with your child helps them to continue this development at home. Even as they begin to read independently, you can continue to read together before bedtime. As long as reading together is fun and educational, there is no reason to stop!
Encourages imaginative and creative thinking
Reading aloud to young children helps stimulate the part of their brain responsible for mental imagery and narrative comprehension. As you read the story to them, their imagination creates and comprehends it. Not only does this help develop creativity, but it also increases their understanding of how stories are structured.
Helps them develop a sense of empathy and other core values
When we read stories as adults, we often compare the character’s experiences with our own. We relate to their struggles and triumphs, and it's the same for little ones. Stories give children an outlet for exploring feelings, both their own and those of the characters in the book. This exploration of emotions gives them the tools to understand and control their own feelings as they get older.
Builds the bond between parent and child
Reading a story to your little one at bedtime allows you to spend quality time together. You can take your time to make the story fun, whether it's silly voices or even a bit of acting! Parenting can be a tough gig, and storytime might be the only calm period you get with your child on some days, so it's always best to savour it.
Bedtime stories: not just for kids!
We spend around a third of our lives asleep, yet sleep seems to elude many people. The day-to-day stresses of modern life mean that 4 in 10 Brits report struggling to sleep.
Blue light has a lot to answer for. The light emitted from the screens of laptops, phones and televisions affects the natural melatonin we produce. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleeping patterns. Melatonin production is triggered by darkness, making us sleepy, and light slows melatonin production, which helps keep us awake.
You’re setting yourself up for a much better night’s sleep by ditching the screen time for an hour of bedtime reading.
In fact, bedtime stories are a great source of comfort for people of all ages. There are now whole websites, apps, podcasts and playlists dedicated to providing “grown-up bedtime stories” that can be listened to as you fall asleep.
The top 5 bedtime stories
At Noa & Nani, we’ve taken to Google to analyse the search habits of UK residents to determine the most popular bedtime stories. Here’s what we found:
|Bedtime Story||Internet Searches Per Capita|
|We're Going on a Bear Hunt||30,820|
|The Very Hungry Caterpillar||26,100|
|Where the Wild Things Are||13,970|
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This children's classic tells the story of Max, who dreams of the world of wild things after being sent to his room. The wild things respect Max's fearlessness and make him their king. Max's time with the wild things sees him learn some important lessons and helps young readers understand more about emotions, freedom and responsibility.
Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
The Rainbow Fish is about a beautiful, colourful fish with shiny metallic scales. Rainbow Fish is proud of his scales, but when his friends ask if they could have one, Rainbow Fish refuses. Eventually, this causes Rainbow Fish to become lonely, and he goes on a journey to learn how to share. The story helps little ones understand the importance of sharing and the joy it can bring us and those around us.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
This family favourite tells the story of a little mouse walking through the woods. On his journey, he encounters various animals, using the tale of the frightening Gruffalo to fend them off. When the mouse comes across the Gruffalo himself, he has to invent a new story to escape danger. The endearing illustrations and rhyming text make this a fantastic book for young readers.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This charming tale tells the story of a young caterpillar who has just hatched from his egg. As he gnaws through the pages, chomping on all the food he can find, the caterpillar grows and grows until it's time for him to transform into a beautiful butterfly. This classic story is perfect for young children thanks to its easy-to-follow sequence.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
When a family set off on an adventure to find a bear, they encounter many terrains and obstacles. They must navigate a grassy slope, a deep river, thick mud and more. Eventually, the family reaches a gloomy cave where they encounter the bear, who chases them all the way home. The simple story, repetitive pattern and charming illustrations make We're Going on a Bear Hunt a classic family favourite.