The benefits of bedtime storytelling


Posted at Aug 24 2011 04:48 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2011 06:32 PM

Parents and children participate in a bedtime storytelling event.

MANILA, Philippines - Bedtime stories are not just for putting kids to sleep, a child development expert said.

According to Dr. Lillian Juadiong, reading to kids before bedtime gives them a head start when they reach school as it helps develop listening abilities, vocabulary, creativity and oral communication skills.

She added that the activity also provides exposure to new knowledge and proper behavior since children's tales often have a lesson at the end.

"From the moment you turn the pages of a book and start telling the story, until the end where the character lives happily ever after, your child is definitely learning something important. Pictures and words, and the very act of storytelling, can contribute to your child's development," Juadiong said.

"[Bedtime stories bring kids to] imaginary worlds where the impossible becomes possible, the fun never stops and the endings are as happy as you can imagine."

More importantly, bedtime storytelling helps kids bond with their parents and guardians, Juadiong said. A 2009 study showed that almost two-thirds of children in Britain want their parents to spend more time reading to them before bed.

The said study ranked storytelling higher than television or video games among pastimes for kids, and suggested that the activity helped children sleep better.

Just recently, over 2,400 parents and children participated in a bedtime storytelling event organized by powdered milk brand Nido in an effort to promote the activity among Filipino families.

Here, kids listened to the story titled Ang Mahiyaing Manok (The Shy Rooster), which teaches the importance of developing self-confidence.

Meanwhile, Juadiong gave these tips to make bedtime story time a real treat:

Choosing a story

  1. Look for stories with colorful illustrations, positive themes, or rhymes.
  2. Share your favorite childhood story and make it a conversation piece.
  3. Ask kids about the kind of story they would like to hear and offer titles beforehand.
  4. Avoid telling scary stories as these may prevent them from sleeping soundly.
  5. Review your selected story to make it easier to read with the proper intonation and gestures.

Preparing for bedtime

  1. Dim the lights and turn off the television or any device with a loud noise to set the mood for bedtime.
  2. Place toys and other distractions aside.
  3. Get your child ready for bed. Tuck him in and sit beside him on the bed or on a chair near the bed.
  4. Give him a glass of warm milk to help him fall asleep faster.

Getting the child's attention during story time

  1. Encourage interaction. Let your child participate by allowing him to ask questions, but make sure that his inquiries do not interrupt the flow of the story.
  2. Ask your child about the characters, whether he liked the story or the actions of the main character.
  3. Use your natural speaking voice when reading the story. Speak clearly and slowly so your child can keep up and understand the story. But if you're fond of using different voices, hand gestures and facial expressions, then go for it. Just be sure to use the style you're most comfortable with.