It’s a truth universally acknowledged that reading to children at any time of day is fundamental for development. Books are simply fantastic tools, and they should feature heavily in any parent’s arsenal. But, when it comes to the right time to read, bedtime stories pique all others to the post. Even as adults, nothing quite beats curling up under the covers with a good read and getting lost before bed.
But, if you’ve struggled to implement this habit until now, the benefits of bedtime reading might not be quite as evident for you as others. You may even believe that reading to your kids at night will stimulate rather than send them to sleep. But, we’re here to tell you that a bookish bedtime routine is a benefit that you shouldn’t be without any longer.
On the surface and irrelevant of timings, reading with your kids holds a host of educational benefits, including speech development and more. Reading aloud specifically works wonders for reading fluency, and there’s a range of reasons why reading fluency is important, including confidence and comprehension. But, as we’ll discuss, adding books to your bedtime to-do list also brings further benefits that are well worth noting. Here, we’re going to look at what they are so that your kids can start enjoying them sooner rather than later.
A guaranteed time to read
As mentioned, reading is a learning fundamental for any child, and it’s something that all parents should aim to fit into the day. The trouble is that family life can get busy, and activities like reading are often the first to go. This is especially the case in households where parents aren’t avid readers themselves. Before you know it, a week will have gone by and your child won’t have so much as sniffed a book!
That’s terrible news, especially considering that consistency is the best way to ensure children learn/develop good habits. With that in mind, you really do need to make time to read with them at least once a day. And, what better way to do that than to make this a part of your bedtime routine? Bedtime happens every day, after all and, once in place, a routine becomes a non-negotiable part of the way you get your youngsters to sleep.
In other words, making an effort to read at bedtime means never again making excuses or forgetting to get to this all-important activity.
A no-tech way to wind down
The cons of too much tech are evident for every parent to see, yet this often feels like a constant battle that many struggle to win. After all, our youngsters are around tech from an increasingly young age nowadays, and it’s a habit that can be incredibly hard to break. That’s bad news for as many reasons as reading is good, with screen time overloads leading to reduced communication capabilities, shortened attention spans, and more. Even worse, the blue light used in every modern technology can wreak havoc with sleeping patterns, a downside that especially impacts young, developing minds. Yet, we’re only human, and many parents are so desperate for easy bedtimes that they turn to television and worse to get their kids’ heads on those pillows.
But, what if we were to tell you that it doesn’t need to be this way? By replacing those screens with a book, you can guarantee engagement with tech-free evenings from now on. It might not be easy at first, but you can bet that your kids will soon adjust to this shift in their evening focus. And, they’re guaranteed to sleep easier as a result.
Quality time without compromise
According to psychologist Collet Smart, kids predominantly value reading for the chance to spend quality time with a parent. This is hardly surprising seeing as, despite our best efforts, many of us don’t sit down one-on-one with our kids as much as we’d like.
As soon as we resolve to read to them regularly, however, all of that changes. As Smart proves, reading benefits including physical proximity and hearing their parents voice all help children to feel calmer and more engaged. This is fantastic news on a learning front, but it can also ensure that familial relationships improve quite literally overnight. What’s more, the relaxation that this quality time can bring could well solve any sleep issues your kids have been experiencing. All it takes is a good book, some unshaken focus on your part, and the right bed reading set up to get everyone comfortable.
Routine = better sleep
While we’re on the subject of better sleep, it’s also worth noting that a routine of any kind can help to incite the best sleep out of your kids. After all, nighttime activities like bath time and reading send signals to young minds that it’s time to unwind and get ready to sleep. This, paired with the soothing sound of your voice, could see them dozing off before you even say ‘the end’.
By comparison, kids who are left to run riot or do something different every night of the week will find it increasingly difficult to settle. These are the children who are liable to wake up through the night or refuse to sleep in the first place. And, as any parent on the receiving end will know, that’s never a pleasant situation for anyone.
A final word
The idea of fitting a book session at the end of a busy family day can seem overwhelming, but as you can see, doing so is well worth your time. As well as helping your kids to learn, reading can often be the key to unlock better sleep for everyone. Not to mention that this is one of the best ways to bond as a family unit.
Remember, you don’t even need to read War and Peace if you’re pushed for time in the evenings. Simply pick something simple, or take it a chapter at a time. Then, sit back, and enjoy seeing how the story ends.