Guest Post: Reading for a Happily Ever After

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One of the things parents should never underestimate is the value of a good bedtime story. Despite the busy schedules most families now are forced to keep, it is important that parents still try to set aside a regular bedtime schedule for their children, which includes a ten to twenty minute story time period. By maintaining this consistent schedule, children learn how to adapt to routines, develop regular sleeping patterns which can prove to be highly beneficial when they reach school age, and allow them to develop a sense of autonomy and independence as they learn to go through the pre-bedtime tasks such as brushing teeth, washing up and putting on their pajamas.

More than just that, however, is that bedtime stories are more than just rituals that can lull children to sleep. Studies show that children who are read to are more successful in school. Further, the American Medical Association highlights the value of reading aloud to children as this helps make them a more fully healthy child.

What exactly does reading aloud to children contribute to their development? For one, reading to kids helps foster cognitive development. This has been known to stimulate brain development and promote language development and communication skills. Kids who are read to are more likely able to answer questions about what he or she has heard, recall details from auditory stimuli and learn to pay attention when being spoken to. Studies have also indicated that playing music and reading aloud to a child while in the womb promotes better brain growth.

Bedtime stories also teach children the basic academic competencies that they will need as they go through life. From colors to shapes, to literacy skills and even causal relationships, bedtime stories build a reservoir of resources for children that they carry on through the rest of their lives. Stories like Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘The Mixed Up Chameleon’ are great examples of simple, fun, and visually attractive stories that can teach academic competencies as well as highlight personal values as well.

Stories also allow children to have better logic reasoning skills. They are able to come up with conclusions, make sense of experiences that they may not have personally encountered, and essentially, have a bigger worldview from which they can draw from.

Going beyond it’s cognitive benefits, bedtime stories help build a child’s self-esteem and foster good social skills. Books are character building. Through these stories, children can understand and appreciate the importance of values such as honesty, sharing, kindness and forgiveness. Although we, as parents, tell our kids about this endlessly, they do not imbibe these until it really makes sense to them, and that is what storybooks do for them. It makes these values much more real to them. Take for example the story of ‘The Rainbow Fish’ by Marcus Pfister. Through Rainbow’s story, children can learn that being the best looking or having the nicest things means nothing if no one likes you and you are not able to share this with others.

Also, storytime can help build better bonds between parent and child. Through this very affirming activity, parents can help make their children feel secure, loved and safe in their environment. The physical closeness of reading time can also help build a sense of trust in others. This is extremely important as many psychologists show that one’s personality and ability to engage with others is deeply rooted in early childhood experiences.

Lastly, reading to children from early on can help foster a love for reading, something which many children have forgotten, mainly because books have been overshadowed by gadgets and technology. Take a look around and try to count how many children are holding a book rather than a handheld computer console. You probably will find that there are little to none. Taking time to read to them can help change this mindset.

Reading to children before going to bed is one of the most valuable gifts a parent can give their children. Not only does it help provide a comfortable night’s sleep, its long-term benefits are far reaching and life-changing.

Author Bio:
Marina Chernyak is the Co-owner of Venetian Masks store located at

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.