The Importance of Stories at Bedtime

Parents and teachers intuitively know that children benefit from being read to, but is regular storytime really that important?

Studies have proven that reading to children benefits them immediately and in the future! Children who are read to have:

  • Better language skills – Quality literature improves language understanding, grammar, and sentence structure
  • Increased vocabulary – Quality literature exposes children to a wide vocabulary and better understanding of words
  • Improved literacy – Research shows a strong connection between reading aloud to children and advanced literacy skills. 
  • Emotional bonding with parents – positive connections are made between a parent and the child during read-aloud

Here’s how to find time throughout the day to include reading with your child. Be sure to read to the end to learn the best time of day to read to your child!

Reading in the Early Morning

Every child is different. Some children are sleepy and want to cuddle first thing in the morning. If your child is an early-morning cuddler, then this is an excellent time to read with your child! Cozy up with a blanket, some books, and something to drink or eat. This will quickly become one of your favorite parts of the day and cherished memories.

Even if your child is jumping off the couch in the early morning, you can still have early morning reading. It can even be an excellent way to teach your child self-regulation. Children want to engage with you and may be willing to snuggle up with you and a good book. 

Reading in the Mid-Morning 

By mid-morning, babies are ready for their first nap of the day. Taking just a few minutes to read to them before naptime is a signal to them that it’s time to sleep. 

Young children may have burned through their breakfast energy and are poking around for something to do or eat. Children need to engage with their parents frequently and often turn to their parents to help them regulate their emotions. If children begin to whine or get mischievous,  it can be easy to turn to technology or snacks to get through the morning.

However, remember that children want to engage with you, not technology. Reading will give them the emotional regulation their bodies are craving and may become less needy for technology or snacks. Often after reading, children are regulated and ready to choose their next activity with cheerfulness and independence. 

Reading Before Nap Time

Babies, toddlers, and young children will often take a nap in the early afternoon. This is another perfect time to sneak in some reading!

As your child starts to slow down, choose quieter activities, or zone out, initiate some reading time. Take the child to a cozy spot such as their bed or a rocking chair, and read one to three books. This further relaxes your child, gives them a visual timeline of when it’s time to nap (“This is our last book!”), and helps them fall asleep faster. 

Reading After Nap Time

Some kids struggle to wake up from a nap. They can be grouchy, sleepy, or whiney. But cuddling and reading a book while eating a snack is sure to chase away the nap-time blues! 

Similar to early morning reading, cuddling with your child and reading a book helps ease them into wakefulness again. A healthy snack or drink also helps gently raise blood sugar and mood so they are cheerful after reading together. 

Reading Before Bed 

If you’re looking for the best time to read to your time, science has concluded that reading before bed is the best time to read with your child. In one study, reading at bedtime significantly lengthened total nighttime sleep duration. If there’s one thing parents want, it’s for their kids to sleep deeper and longer!

With sleepiness to keep them relaxed and fighting sleepiness to keep them alert and engaged, reading at bedtime gives you the best bang for your buck. Reading with your child before bed helps establish a stable routine, promotes bonding, and gets them into a sleepy state of mind to fall asleep–and stay asleep!

Crestwood Preschool Academy is proud to offer an outstanding educational and fun curriculum that prepares your child for kindergarten per state academic standards.

Contact Crestwood Preschool Academy today if you’re looking to give your child a head start in school!

What’s Next

Quality Literature for Kids: What It Is, and How to Find It