Reading bedtime stories to kids is as old as time. It is an activity that parents are very accustomed to doing, but many don’t realize how it started and what the benefits are. Storytelling started as a teaching method, an efficient way to pass information down through generations with simple and memorable narratives. The principle is the same today, but nowadays, there are technologies available to everyone, such as augmented reality apps and bedtime story generators, that have changed the way stories are read to kids at bedtime. But how was this idea born? And why is this activity beneficial for kids?
How Bedtime Stories for Kids Started
A bedtime story is traditionally told to a child in order to help prepare them for sleep. It has become an institution for many families and is very beneficial for the child. Reading bedtime stories to your kids has become customary around the world, yet where and how did this routine even start?”
There are various types of bedtime stories in Western culture, particularly in Europe. Aesop, the renowned Greek storyteller, wrote a collection of tales that feature animal characters and classic morals, typical themes in early storytelling.
Over the years, bedtime stories and nursery rhymes developed into classics such as Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Snow White, Cinderella, and many more.
Benefits of Reading Bedtime Stories to Kids
The tradition of reading stories before bedtime is not only enjoyable for parents and children, experts actually recommend it for the following benefits:
1. It Promotes Language Development
The most obvious benefit to your child when you read them stories in bed is that it improves their language skills. There is a large scope to this, such as enhanced listening skills, improved reading comprehension, and overall language literacy.
Children build on these skills as they continue to develop and throughout their adult lives. Hence, parents are encouraged to continue reading to their children, even if they know how to read stories on their own.
2. It Helps Them Form an Identity
Your child gains formation in their identity when you read bedtime stories to them. By learning about various characters from the stories they listen to, children develop their own personal identity. Each story has its own morals and ethics to teach; Learning these values helps children choose what they value as well. They will be confronted with different situations throughout each story that prompt them to reflect on their choices in each scenario.
The power of the narrative helps develop a child’s theory of mind, the “being in someone else’s shoes” capability of the brain. The conflict, character development, and morals are crucial to the development of the young mind.
3. It Fosters Parent-Child Connections
The bonding that you can enjoy with your child when you read them bedtime stories is another major benefit. It is an emotional bonding experience, and it reassures your child of your connection. They find comfort in this experience, and it can help strengthen your relationship with each other. The new reality they are exposed to in the story also helps them, they understand concepts like family dynamics.
4. It Expands Their Imagination
According to this study, reading stories out loud to children will activate the part of their brain that is responsible for narrative comprehension and mental imagery. When you read them stories, their brain is hard at work. They tap into their imagination to help picture the story that is being read to them.
This is one of the reasons why reading stories is considered far more beneficial than letting your child watch TV or movies. In the latter, they are passive participants, but when you read them stories, it leads to their imagination staying active.
5. It Expands Their Vocabulary
Aside from improving their grammatical skills, reading bedtime stories can also grow your child’s vocabulary. Regularly reading stories to your child will expand their familiarity with words and how those words are used. This is an important skill that will serve them throughout life.
Using a Bedtime Story Generator
Reading a bedtime story is a cherished activity between parent and child before going to sleep. However, there are instances when a child might ask the parent to tell them a story of their own instead of reading to them from a book. Many parents are able to spin stories of their own without a problem, but some might struggle. After all, children are not the easiest to please, and thinking up a story idea out of nowhere does not always happen very easily.
This is why a bedtime story generator is useful. There is a wide variety of apps on the market today that enable you to generate an infinite amount of stories. These programs are designed to give you crude outlines that you can use for telling stories to your kids at bedtime. All you have to do is fill in the details of the story.
A bedtime story generator will provide you with a rudimentary plot point that you can follow. It is a great opportunity for parents to tap into the depths of their own imagination and make up tales with great detail. If you are finished with one story and your child demands a new one, simply reload the generator for a new story idea and outline.
Not every parent is gifted with the skill of storytelling hence a bedtime story generator and the various storytelling apps out there are designed to help you.
About the Author
Yoav Oren is the co-founder and CEO of Zoog, an asynchronous family communication platform that allows users to take children’s books and bring them to life using augmented reality (AR), machine learning, and advanced animation technologies.
Through Zoog’s mobile app, anyone can easily bring a book to life and literally become “part of the story” utilizing AR masks, filters, backgrounds, and other effects.
Zoog was created so that even when oceans and generations apart, your families can enjoy meaningful moments through reading.
Yoav lives in Israel with his wife and three children.