In our home, the bedtime story is a crucial part of the routine before our oldest goes to bed. It is what we do right before we say night night and she is into the crib with her stuffed animals and 8-10 pacifiers (yes, that deserves a whole other post)
It is also what we do after some playtime in her bedroom, so it serves as a way to calm her down and brings her to a mood more suited for sleep.
Reading to your child has many benefits that I am sure you have already read about elsewhere. Among others:
It is a way to share your moral values with your child
It develops their imagination
Serves as a way to explain religious values
Helps them learn new words
It is good to stimulate their memory
But above all, for me, it is a way to connect and bond with your child. My daughter Ona loves this moment! And this has been decisive in making her associate the moment she goes to bed with nice feelings.
You can read stories to your children since day 1!
I often encounter parents who believe that reading to your child is not worth the effort until they are around 18-24 months, but I totally disagree. I have been reading (or telling) stories to my children since almost the very first month! See, speaking to your child is also a way to bond and it does stimulate them greatly! Remember that mom's and dad's voices are those babe knows the very best from the womb! It provides comfort and makes them feel secure and loved!
There are different ways to read a bedtime story, and some would say that you need to be boring and speak soft in order to make your child wind down after all of the excitement of the day.
The bedtime story is also a tool to help them dream! It should be exciting, thrilling and an adventure! A good bedtime story has different voices, tones, some pretty basic special effects (do not get so surprised, a sudden jump of the knees or some impersonations feels more than enough for me!) and a theatrical ending with clapping included.
Done well, they will grow old remembering these stories and maybe even share them with their own kids.
So I have decided to start sharing some of the stories that Ona loves (I am afraid that my boy is still too little and I am telling more than reading :-) ) hoping that you and your kids will love them too. These will come in the shape of an IGTV in my account in a way that you can even share with your kid if you want to (not that I am encouraging more use of the technology than strictly needed!)
Before I say goodbye, let me say I LOVE buying books for my children! and so...