Benefits of a Bedtime Book
Reading your child a bedtime book is a beautiful way to bring the day to a close and signal that it’s nearly time for sleep. This family tradition has stood the test of time and is something we might even have special memories from our own childhoods. Don’t let this lovely ritual fall prey to busy working schedules as there are many benefits, comforts and joys it can bring to your little one. Learn how this cozy ritual does more than just prepare your child for sleep.
1. Creates a beautiful bond
Whatever your little ones age, this is a sacred time for just you two where they get to have you all to themselves. By the evening you can say goodbye to the daytime responsibilities and be as silly or goofy as you like, playing with voices and really engaging the interest of your dear child. With all the busyness of everyday life, it is a beautiful act to carve out this time together at the end of the day, snuggle up and help your child fall to sleep feeling safe and loved.
2. Sparks imagination
Reading to your child activates their little imaginations as they create mental images to comprehend the story that is being read to them. That is the beauty of the intimate act of reading a bedtime book versus watching television; the child develops better use of their imagination and learns they have to concentrate to feel the joy of the story. What better way to drift your child to sleep with tales of faraway lands and furry friends that are beyond the reality of their day to day.
3. Establishes a routine
The general feeling of being cozy, comfortable and calm is beneficial as the final phase of the child's evening routine. Not only this, but it symbolizes to the child that when the bedtime book is pulled out, there is nothing left to do for the day but enjoy and fall asleep. Make sure you create a space as comforting as possible, with their favorite blanket and Riff Raff Sleep Toy nearby, and turn off all distractions like the TV or radio.
4. Helps to relax and unwind
By closing the day with a bedtime book you are demonstrating that it is time to let the highs and lows of the day wash away as you switch off and prepare for a peaceful night's sleep. Just like with adults, reading allows the child's brain to drift away from real life and by doing this, creates a feeling of relaxation by reducing cortisol levels.
5. Creates conversation
Once your child is at the age where they can speak, it is wonderful to allow them to ask questions during story time as a great way for them to build on their conversational skills. This helps them connect the story to the outside world and maximize the emotive messages found within the story. It’s important not to rush this part of the bedtime routine and just enjoy learning how their little minds are working to understand the story and apply it to their real lives.
6. Builds emotional intelligence
Bedtime books can be a great way for little minds to deal with big emotions. By observing characters in the story book going through different emotions, children learn that they are not alone with their thoughts and feelings. It also allows them to raise certain questions or share certain topics that the book may relate to that they otherwise wouldn’t have mentioned.
Characters can act as models for certain behavior to children and demonstrate to them appropriate ways to react to different situations and problem solve. The act of listening to the storybook puts your child in a wonderful state of observation making them more susceptible to learning the values and morals of the story.
7. Enriches their speaking development
Believe it or not, studies show that babies that are read to more often develop stronger vocabularies than those who are not, which makes perfect sense as they listen to you pronounce a range of new vowels and words they have never heard before and start to form memories of these sounds and their meanings. Did you know that children need to hear a word up to 12 times before they can start to use it themselves? Children also learn to memorize words faster when they are used in rhymes which is why so many great story books cleverly use rhyming storylines.
Any parent will be familiar with their child hearing a particular word they are drawn to, then repeating it on the regular like it’s their favorite new word. The more and more you read to your little one at bedtime, the more surprised you will be at just how many new words they grasp and begin to say out loud! It is then that you will realize that reading the words on the page are only part of the storytime experience. So embrace those “one more time!” requests and make reading a bedtime book an integral part of your evening routine.