Part of a good bedtime routine is telling a bedtime story. It gives the child something to look forward to at night, while at the same time helps him wind down after a long busy day. It’s a special time for both parent and child to bond, so telling a bedtime story the proper way is essential.
Here’s how to tell a bedtime story.
- Choose an age appropriate plot. The first thing you have to consider when telling your child a bedtime story is that is has to be appropriate for his age. The younger the child, the shorter and less complicated the story should be. Also, keep in mind that some plot lines may be too scary for very young children. For example, the big bad wolf that wants to eat Little Red Riding Hood may be a cause of concern for children under four. Choose friendly and uncomplicated characters that won’t cause your child bad dreams.
- Decide if you want to read from a book or make one on your own. There are many children’s books in the market. Your child is bound to have a particular one he likes. However, don’t be afraid to use your imagination. You may even get your child to join in on the creative process by letting him write the story or name the characters.
- Don’t make it complicated. A bedtime story should leave your child with a relaxed and happy feeling. Don’t put too many conflicts or dilemmas. The simpler, the better.
- Don’t make it scary. Choose stories that aren’t scary. This is the reason why you should proof read the book first before reading it to your child. If the story is too scary for the child, he may not want to go to sleep or he may end up crying out of concern for the characters in the story.
- Keep it short. Novels aren’t for bedtime reading when it comes to young children. Unless you want to spend the entire night reading aloud to your child, it’s best to stick with stories no more than six to twelve pages long. If you have a toddler, choose books with bright colors and large font. If there’s a long story your child wants to read, break up the book into one or two chapters a night.
- Introduce variety. Your child will have a favorite book that he’ll want you to read repeatedly. Go ahead and indulge him but offer a few new selections. Let him choose books from the library that you can read together.
- Let it have a happy ending. Make sure the story ends on a high note. If the characters die or don’t have a happy end, it may cause your child distress.
- Make up voices and keep it animated. Read to your child in a clear yet soft tone to help lull him to sleep. Use different voices for the characters and take note of inflection and other nuances of reading to make it more interesting.
Make sure your child is tucked in before you begin the story. Make it a regular routine until your child is ready to read on his own. A bedtime story is sure to be a fun and highly anticipated bonding ritual for you and your child.