And, we all know overtired children are grumpy and often hard to reason with.
Wouldn’t it be great if the mere mention of bedtime sent children flying to their rooms and diving under the covers?
Sharing stories at bedtime is a great way to turn going to bed from a chore into an exciting and enjoyable event.
Best of all, you’ll be creating memories that will stay with your children for life. You’ll also be showing them the importance of reading stories and building their love of books.
1 Read from a Wide Range of Sources
To make reading bedtime stories really interesting mix up the types of books and stories you share.
Depending upon the age of your reader, you might like to introduce stories about different animals, places, people and more.
You should also read prose and a mix of poetry.
Don’t be predictable. Your children will love the excitement of not knowing what story they are going to hear each night.
All authors write with a different narrative style. Take advantage of this and expose your children to a wide variety of topics, concepts and writing styles.
2 Use your Voice to Add More Drama and Excitement
There is nothing more boring than someone who reads in a monotonous voice. It’s enough to put anyone off wanting to read for pleasure — for life!
Develop a calm narrative voice that doesn’t overexcite your child, but use expressions to articulate and pronounce words and vocalize various moods.
As well, use your voice to give the characters more depth. Bring them alive by using silly tones and inflections, too.
Also, enunciate sound-words such as ‘bang’ or ‘splash’ for more fun and excitement. Your children will love to join in and become more engaged with the story.
3 Time the Length of your Stories so They are Just Right
Getting the length of stories right can be difficult at first.
Remember Goldilocks? Like porridge, chairs and beds, some stories are too long; others are too short; but some are just right!
If you are relatively new to reading stories, you may find that some are too short and others way too long.
Keep a note of how your child is behaving. If he or she is beginning to fidget or toss around then perhaps the story has gone on too long.
But, if he or she wants to get out of bed and play, then the story may have been too short.
If he or she has gone to sleep — mission accomplished!
All children are different and no one child will react in the same way, so be present and watchful of any behavioural indication that the child isn’t responding as you might like.
4 Use the Illustrations to Add More Meaning
All illustrations are carefully created and chosen by the publisher to enhance the story and bring the characters to life.
Clever illustrators will add small things to their pictures just for fun.
Here are some tips to get the best out of the illustrations:
Pointing to the facial expressions of the book’s characters, ask your child what do they think he or she is feeling or thinking of doing next? How does that relate to the story?
Alternatively, what do the colours say about the story? Are they bright and vivid to reflect the excitement or are they gentle pastels designed to create a more sombre mood?
5 Encourage your Children to Predict What’s Going to Happen Next
Every now and then, get to the end of each page or chapter and stop reading.
Ask your child if they know what is going to happen next?
Can they predict what is going to happen next?
What clues can they learn to use to help them be better ‘reading detectives’?
Making bedtime a fun and attractive proposition for any child can just be a matter of using your imagination and being creative.
After all, the authors and illustrators put their heart and soul into creating your child’s favourite books; all you have to do is bring them alive.
About Susan Day
Susan Day is a passionate author, educator, and a grandmother. She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. Discover here the Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing.
Also, her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren through reading and sharing books.
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.