Image of mother reading children's bedtime stories

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Snuggling under the covers and reading children’s bedtime stories with my little (now big) ones is one of my few parenting visions that turned out every bit as sweet as I hoped it would.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience that not all of your visions about parenting turned out quite the way you expected. Maybe dinner time is more a game of chase or hide and go seek than you ever knew possible. And I bet you still crack yourself up when you think of all the things you swore your child would never do. Before they did.

We all want the best for our kids. We try to give them the best foods, to get them to bed on time, and take them to all their checkups.

And, although we may take it for granted, we want their brains to be healthy.

One way we can nurture our children’s brain health is by reading aloud to them – and reading at bedtime is especially sweet… 

Here are seven amazing reasons – that you may never have heard of – that reading to your child at bedtime is incredibly important.

Image of mother reading to son and daughter - suggesting children's bedtime stories

Children’s Bedtime Stories Spark Imagination

Books like The Dot, Ish (Creatrilogy), and Sky Color (Creatrilogy)(Peter Reynolds’ Peter Reynolds Creatrilogy Box Set (Dot, Ish, Sky Color)) inspire kids to use their imaginations when faced with a problem.

Fairy tales and stories like Where the Wild Things Are transport children to far away lands with beauty and magic.

These magical stories spark imagination.

These books are sure to fire up those imaginations!

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Bedtime Stories Enhance Multi-Sensory Integration

According to Dr. John S. Hutton, children who are exposed to reading at home showed a significantly greater activation of the parietal-temporal-occipital association cortex area in their brain. This is the area that processes visual association. This area is “a watershed region, all about multi-sensory integration, integrating sound and then visual stimulation.”

Based upon MRIs, this region of the brain is known to be very active when older children read to themselves, but now we know that it also lights up when we’re reading children’s bedtime stories to our kids.

Reading to your child at bedtime enhances multi-sensory integration, integrating sound and visual stimulation thus building brain networks that will serve your child as they transition from talking to reading.

Beautiful Bedtime Stories Encourage a Love of Reading

When you read to your child at bedtime, you are showing them that reading is a family value in your home. You want to show them that you enjoy reading, that reading is important, and that it is something you hope they will also love!

Here are some really gorgeously illustrated books the draw your child in and kickstart a love of books and stories!

The MischieviansThe MischieviansThe MischieviansJourney (Aaron Becker's Wordless Trilogy)Journey (Aaron Becker’s Wordless Trilogy)Journey (Aaron Becker's Wordless Trilogy)Rabbityness (Child's Play Library)Rabbityness (Child’s Play Library)Rabbityness (Child's Play Library)Pip and the Bamboo PathPip and the Bamboo PathPip and the Bamboo Path

Reading Aloud Builds Your Childs Vocabulary

Bedtime reading gives kids the opportunity to hear words they may not hear during the day. This helps build their verbal vocabulary which will help them read those higher level words when they get older.

We probably all understand that reading storybooks aloud is a popular and effective way of growing the vocabulary of younger children.

When we read to older and more proficient readers above their own reading level, they are exposed to “book language,” which is rich in unusual words and descriptive language. And they learn that vocabulary.

Reading, listening, writing, and speaking are all related language skills. And we can help our kids become better listeners by reading to them.

Father reading bedtime stories to young son

Bedtime Stories Organically Teach Life Lessons Without Being “Preachy”

For example, the touching picture book A Chair for My Mother (Reading Rainbow Books) tells the story of Rosa, her mother, and grandmother. When their home is destroyed by fire, they all save their coins as they hope to buy a comfortable chair for her hard-working mother.

You don’t have to preach generosity – they will hear and understand the concept through children’s bedtime stories.

Always ask questions as you read to your child to further their understanding of the lessons and to build empathy for the characters in the story.

The more you use stories to teach important life lessons, the less you will have to nag and preach! These are some of our favorites! From gratitude, to generosity, to honesty and individuality – kids of all ages will love these books!

An Awesome Book of Thanks!An Awesome Book of Thanks!An Awesome Book of Thanks!The Quiltmaker's GiftThe Quiltmaker’s GiftThe Quiltmaker's GiftEdwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (Storyopolis Books)Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (Storyopolis Books)Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (Storyopolis Books)Stephanie's Ponytail (Classic Munsch)Stephanie’s Ponytail (Classic Munsch)Stephanie's Ponytail (Classic Munsch)

Bedtime Reading Helps to Nurture a Routine For Your Family

We’ve all heard it before – children thrive on routines. Routines give kids a feeling of security as well as a feeling of mastery in their world.

Reading children’s bedtime stories nurtures a reliable and comforting routine.

It is the perfect chance to schedule in time to read to your child while incorporating it into the daily routine of bedtime. 

My Favorite: Children’s Bedtime Stories Strengthen Your Relationship

I love being there when my kids start and end their day.

Our time spent reading bedtime stories, creates our unique bond. We have travelled to Narnia together, and won the Golden Ticket! These shared experiences are as real as any other.

As you read children’s bedtime stories, juicy conversations about the characters, the setting and the plot naturally come up. It’s wonderful to learn about how your child sees the main character or thinks about what might happen next.

These conversations are absolutely priceless – they are pure gold filling a parent’s heart every evening.

Bedtime for FrancesBedtime for FrancesBedtime for FrancesCharley's First NightCharley’s First NightCharley's First NightThere's a Nightmare in My ClosetThere’s a Nightmare in My ClosetThere's a Nightmare in My ClosetI Love You, Stinky FaceI Love You, Stinky FaceI Love You, Stinky Face

What Are Your Favorite Children’s Bedtime Stories?

I’d love it if you would share your favorite bedtime stories in the comments below for other parents to enjoy!

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image of young boy and his sister listening to children's bedtime stories