The bedtime story time is a special part of the day, time for you and your little one to take some time for each other, away from the chaos of your busy life.  Time to snuggle, to laugh, to imagine and most importantly to bond.

We remember bedtime stories with our own parents with fondness and treasure the time we get to spend with our own children, preparing them for sleep and promising us those magical few hours of peace and quiet (we hope!) before we too go to bed.

Bedtime stories have long been known to help nurture the parent-child bond and prepare children for sleep.

But research has shown another benefit to this night-time routine, claiming it boosts babies’ brain power.  The University of Sheffield found that napping helps infants to develop their memory and retain new behaviours they have learnt.

Suggesting the best time for babies to pick up new skills may be just before sleep, putting a huge emphasis on the importance of reading at bedtime.

Reading with your child for just ten minutes a day, will see them grow into eager, confident learners, acquiring listening skills and gaining new words that are far beyond their reading ability.

Children’s early language skills are the foundations on which reading well at primary school are based. Sitting down with mum and dad to read and enjoy stories together is a great way to learn how to concentrate – and it gives children a head-start before they even set foot inside a classroom.

Top tips from Booktrust on how to make the most of your bedtime story time:

  • Take time to look together at the words and pictures in a story.
  • Use your hands and face as well as your voice – your child will love to see you smiling.
  • Don’t be afraid to use funny voices or sing, it’s a great way to make your child giggle and they won’t care whether you’re not singing in tune or know the words.
  • Stories and rhymes can be shared with the whole family so invite siblings or other family members to join in.
  • Using a puppet to act out a story can help your child to understand what’s going on and learn how to pretend play. Why not pick a character from your book and use the puppet to show what they are doing?
  • Don’t be shy, relax and enjoy – if you are having fun so will your child.

There is nowhere better than stories for children to take risks, test their courage, face their fears and to indulge their humour. It is a way of growing up in a safe environment, testing out personal feelings and responses through others’ experiences.

Booktrust is working hard to improve children’s literacy and provide mums and dads with the confidence and skills to read to their children, so they are not left behind.

They run world-renowned early intervention reading programmes that provide free books for children at crucial transition stages of their development. Almost 3 million children receive books from Booktrust each year ensuring that every child has the opportunity to experience the delight and power of books

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