Do you remember your favourite book as a child?
When we think back to the books we loved as children, we don’t recall the book we were forced to read for school, or the unwanted encyclopaedia we received on our birthday… the books that we remember are the ones that were read to us, by people we loved, snuggled up in our beds at night time.
Reading to children before bed is the perfect way to finish their bedtime routine and makes sure your child falls asleep happy.
We asked Helen Stephens, who writes and illustrates creative and imaginative children’s books (take a peek at her bedtime tales here), to tell us why she still thinks bedtime reading is as important as ever and what she enjoys most about reading with her daughter.
“A book at bedtime is a precious thing. You get that lovely quiet time where you cuddle up in bed, and shut out the rest of the world. It gives you scope to discuss all sorts of subjects that only arise because of a book.“
“When we read 'I Want my Hat Back' by Jon Klassen with our daughter she'd say, 'Mummy, I'm scared, keep reading!' with a huge grin on her face… 'Did the bear eat the rabbit?' We'd spend ages discussing who was good, who was bad, and who was both.”
“We often spend ages making bargains about what we will read. She knows I like reading the Madeline books by Ludvig Bemelmans, or my childhood favourite, 'Sixes and Sevens' by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake. So she'll say, 'If you read me this library book (which I hate the look of) I'll let you read Madeline.' I love to see her developing her own taste in books.”
“I don't think digital books will ever replace children's picture books. Even toddlers know that there is so much more to do on an iPad than read a book, and the scope for searching YouTube, or cBeebies is just too distracting and doesn't give the close pleasure of a cuddle and a book. There's nothing to replace that!”
We couldn’t agree more.
Bedtime reading isn’t just about them learning to read, or even a tactic to get them to fall asleep. It’s an important time to discuss anything and everything and get some of that much needed quality time together, one on one.
If you miss one night (because sometimes life does get in the way, we know!) don’t beat yourself up… they’ll just be even more excited for the next night. Read a book or make up a story with dragons and fairies and castles, but just be sure it all ends with them tucked up, safe and cosy back in their beds.