HOW TO READ BETTER BEDTIME STORIES By Robert Carnes
When I became a new parent, the thing l looked forward to most was reading bedtime stories
with my child. Now that I’m a dad, that’s my favorite way to connect with my daughter. Here a
re a few ways I’ve learned to make the most of this opportunity:
Make Reading Part of the Routine
Bedtime stories can help to establish a healthy bedtime routine. Even from a young age, this
can help your child sleep better. Having a set routine each night signals to your kid that it’s
time to start winding down. It helps takes their mind off of the day and ignites their imagination.
Pick the Right Books
There are lots of children’s books out there—both good and bad. But the best indication of
the right book for your child is whether it’s developmentally appropriate. Many factors can
go into deciding what’s age appropriate—from the complexity of the word, to the colors
in the illustrations. Doing your homework is important.
Do the Voices
What you’re reading is important, but so is how you’re reading it. One of the best ways to get
your kid to understand the context of what’s happening in the book is from your delivery.
They’re depending on you to be their emotional translator. Try giving each of the characters silly
voices. And make sure to do all of the sound effects. Children’s writers put those in there on purpose.
Get the Kid(s) Involved
One of the biggest benefits of reading to your child is promoting their own literacy. The more you
read to your child, the more they’ll understand and appreciate the importance of reading. And
what better way to do that than by involving them in the process?
As they get older, let them start picking out the books to read. As they develop favorites, they
might want to try reading aloud to you. Encourage them and gently guide them when they
make mistakes. As you read, ask them questions about the book, like “And then what happened?”
Right now, my daughter is only five- months-old. So she’s some time away from reading books
for herself. I get her involved by letting her hold on to the pages of the book, which she
inevitably attempts to eat. At least I can say she’s been consuming literature from a very
young age. (I’m sorry for the bad pun, but I have a quota of dad jokes to hit.)
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