Bedtime stories: 7 good reasons to read to your child
1. A comforting ritual
For some children, the night represents a frightening transition. Leaving mom and dad behind for the night, seeing the shadows that transform the house and bedroom grow, parents less present to meet their needs... To be reassured, children need to anticipate what's going to happen, thanks to landmarks and a cycle of habits like the evening ritual. Of which stories are a part!
2. A cuddly moment
You've heard of the evening ritual known as the "infinity tunnel". And the end of the tunnel (or should I say, the end of the day?) is the evening story. A unique moment, when you've done everything you were supposed to do. Hurrying home from nursery or school, dinner, bath, pyjamas, brushing teeth... Reading is 100% fun. You finally take the time to listen to yourself, to discover a new world, to reread your favorite story for the umpteenth time, to savor the silences between the pages. In short, your parent-child moment when "hurry up, do this, do that" has no place.
3. Stories for growing up
As parents, we don't always have the solutions. Is Kitten afraid of the dark? Did his girlfriend tease him at nursery? Does he like pink, but his friends tell him it's boring? Don't worry: there's a book for every problem! It's almost magical, fast and practical. Go to your local library or bookshop and pick out a book on the issue of the moment. Read it, let your child identify with the characters in the story, then open the debate. As they lie in bed, they're sure to have something to tell you, and a moral to draw from their bedtime story.
4. Develop your imagination and culture
We didn't put this argument at number 1 because it seems so obvious. When you read, you're plunged into a new world, whether real or not. Children discover new characters, colorful worlds and drawings that feed their imaginations and their knowledge.
5 . Boosting your language
Another bonus: your child will discover written language and expand his vocabulary. He'll discover verbal tenses, synonyms, new words and lots of other tools for expressing himself. Don't hesitate to stop reading to explain unfamiliar terms.
6. Bye bye screens
Let's talk numbers (it's more serious). According to the WHO, a baby should sleep between 14 and 17 hours a day, up to the age of three months. By the age of 3, he or she should be getting between 10 and 13 hours of sleep. Rest assured, this is an average, not a law: all children are different. It's during sleep that the child's brain integrates the information learned throughout the day. The problem with screens is that they disrupt their biological rhythm. The famous blue light of screens keeps them awake, whereas a book calms them down and prepares them for sleep. CQFD. PS: Works for adults too!
7. The memory factory
Do you have memories of beloved stories you read or listened to as a child? Sometimes we have a childhood book that stays with us forever. Reading is a great gift to give our children for later on. A little Proust's madeleine that smells of evening cuddles, subdued light and soft sheets.
It's decided, the evening story will be part of your ritual, but you still have a few questions...
At what age can you start reading bedtime stories?
Child psychiatrists agree that it's possible to read, even before language development. Ask your bookseller or librarian for advice: there are books for toddlers, such as picture books or contrasting books - Tana Hoban, for example. As for rituals, they should be introduced as soon as possible.
What if I don't feel like reading stories?
If you have the opportunity to pass the baton to your partner or an older brother or sister, then do it. Single parent? Don't feel guilty, and let your child immerse himself in a book he already knows, alone like a grown-up. Some books also have audio versions, and why not pick up a story box? Our favorites: La Fabrique à histoire de Lunii, La conteuse Merlin, La Tonibox.
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Enjoy your reading,