Rituals accompany you throughout your life. Can you remember how children’s stories were read to you? Here you will learn which bedtime stories are particularly suitable and which books are suitable for which age.
You will get ideas on how to organize the reading ritual and how to accompany siblings into the night together.
Table of contents
Good Night Stories – For A Good Night’s Sleep
The evening is a special time for you and your child. It’s getting close to nighttime, and you’re bound to want your child to look forward to going to bed. This will certainly not always be the case, but a cozy atmosphere with loving good night stories will be an essential milestone in your life together.
Reading aloud not only strengthens your child’s imagination and fantasy – it also builds your mutual trust. When you say goodnight to your child, those five minutes of reading aloud are the time your child needs between the day and sleep. Reading aloud at night is “coming down” from the day.
What is heard or read right before sleep is best remembered. You may remember it from the time you studied for exams. What you read right before you went to sleep, you usually remembered well.
It’s the same with the children’s stories you read before saying good night. These stories and the moment of security will accompany your child, even when it is long grown up. It doesn’t have to be the story itself – the mood, your voice, and the calmness are crucial.
How To Create A Cozy Good Night Atmosphere For Reading Aloud
Think carefully about how you can sit comfortably. Maybe lie down on your stomach in the crib or sit at the head or foot of the bed? Turn off the big light in the room and turn on only a small bedside lamp.
If you’re reading aloud from your tablet, you should still turn on a nightlight – it’s cozier. It’s nice if you can make skin or body contact with your child while reading aloud. It’s important that you’re both comfortable.
The favorite stuffed animal may also want to listen or peek into the book, that’s okay as long as it doesn’t upset them. You should read good night stories in the evening that don’t require pictures. Because if your child is constantly looking at the book, he or she will not be able to rest.
You can also get other help to create a bedtime ritual. Read the bedtime stories for a short time on your own to get a feeling for the tension that arises.
Which Stories Are Suitable As Bedtime Stories?
Clearly: nothing exciting! No child can sleep when the princess has just gone into a dark cave to look for the dragon. The story must be self-contained and have an understandable ending that leaves no questions unanswered.
At least none that you can’t answer straightforwardly. Also, a bedtime story should never have completely new facts for your child. If you’ve never been to the zoo, a story about a trip to the zoo is too exciting.
Good Night Stories For The Very Young
You can already create a reading ritual with your baby. Even a 12-month-old baby will find the atmosphere comfortable and soothing. Think of a cardboard picture book, do not use a book with a touch or sound function.
A quiet turn of the page and in the end, everyone falls asleep comfortably. As soon as your child can follow simple sentences, you can read real children’s stories. There are a lot of recommended books for nice good night stories. Great are books like Bobo Siebenschläfer because he is also available as a plush figure and your child could listen together with Bobo.
Good Night Stories For Kindergarten Children
The older your child gets, the more suitable is books that have fewer pictures. You can always look at picture books together with your child during the day – but when it comes to the night, you should make a book that does not have pictures.
Children over the age of 4 also understand that there are special books that are only ever read aloud at bedtime. Do you want to read a real book, i.e. a chapter night after night? Then you should choose a story for children between 4 and 6 years, where the chapters form self-contained stories.
Mary Poppins is very suitable, or Pooh the Bear. These are short chapters that can be read aloud in 3-10 minutes and send your child off to sleep satisfied. Even if not all words and processes are completely understood – it doesn’t matter. The details are not important, but your soothing voice and the certainty of falling asleep with good night stories.
Small tip: If you are reading a real book, you can make a bookmark for the good night story book with your child.
Good Night Stories For School Children
When you say “sleep tight” to your schoolchild, he or she will probably think a little before falling asleep. You can now make the good night stories more elaborate. Suitable are children’s novels that are continued, even a chapter ending no longer has to be a self-contained story.
Visit a bookstore with your child and look around at the classics. Maybe your child will like one book in particular, and you can agree on it together?
Classics like “Dr. Doolittle”, “The Little Lord” or the newer “The Little Vampire” are not only exciting and lovely books, but also a direct added value for your schoolchild. They get to hear good, spoken sentences and automatically develop a feeling for sentence structure and melody.
Your child is old enough to understand that you can’t read aloud all night. If he finds the story particularly interesting, he may try to continue reading the book himself – there’s hardly a better incentive to learn to read!
Say Good Night To Siblings
If your children sleep in the same room and are not far apart in age, it’s best to have them both in their own bed when you read aloud. Otherwise, you’ll have to wake one of them up again and bring unrest into the nighttime mood.
Of course, you can also make a nice ritual of taking turns cuddling up together in one bed for the bedtime story – that way, your kids will learn to make allowances for each other.
If you read to both children together, they should take turns choosing the book – or you can choose a bedtime storybook. Are your children further apart in age, but do you still want to read to both of them?
How about the younger child coming to bed with you first and you read children’s stories while the older child gets to play in his or her pajamas for a bit? And then the older child comes to your bed and listens to another story, while the younger child is already asleep next to it?
Of course, you have to wake them both up – but the short walk from your bed to your own can be part of the good-night-and-sleep-well ritual. Your child is about to have a sibling? Be a little careful with the names in the reading, it would be a shame if the older child insists on calling the baby sister Pippi Longstocking.
A Restful Night – Also For You
There are always children’s stories that adults don’t like at all, but are met with enthusiasm by children. Do yourself a favor and do not choose such stories as good night stories.
Most of the time, after saying good night, you still have time for yourself or for your partnership – so use it and don’t get annoyed by an annoying child character. Children’s stories for the night should invite you to dream – including you.
Whether you read from your tablet, cell phone, or book is up to your personal preference. If you use your cell phone, make sure that you are not still sitting at your bedside checking e-mails or social networks after the story. If your child has difficulty sleeping alone, make sure you do the reading in the crib.
If you have visitors in the evening, can’t they read to your child? Sometimes children express this wish on their own, or the guest asks for it. If guest and child agree – go ahead.
It does not harm your ritual if a different voice and a different pitch read a familiar story. On the contrary – it only makes your spoken words more familiar. Besides, most of the time the child will go to bed almost by himself and you will have more time with your guest.
Good Night Stories: A Conclusion
Ideally, your child will fall asleep while you are reading to them. If not, you can read a little more or the same story again – but make a firm ending for yourself. You might even sing a lullaby, which is best for you and your child.
No one can take away your time together reading the bedtime stories – enjoy it together! If there was something unpleasant during the day or you had a fight – discuss it before the reading.
You should not punish your child by skipping the bedtime stories – they are part of the bedtime ritual and build on mutual trust. Agree beforehand, then read aloud. This way you start the night amicably. Did you also get tired while reading aloud? Then sleep well and have a good dream.