Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Bedtime stories - a battle worth fighting?

The bedtime story - a cornerstone of any child's day. There are some who argue that a bedtime story is an important tool in helping your child to develop necessary language skills, like in this article. But then there are others that dispute it and place the importance on the act of speaking and listening rather than on the book or story per se, like this article in The Telegraph. I don't suppose we will ever know if they make any difference at all for sure. 

Anyway, I have a confession to make - I don't read my children a bedtime story. I don't base this behaviour on some sort of learned philosophy where I know better than the experts about this sort of thing. Simply, I just plain can't be bothered. 

bedtime routine

Bedtime stories are one more thing to worry about in an already busy bedtime routine. They make me sleepy. I get bored of the same three books over and over again. So shoot me. 

I'm not saying we don't 'do' books. Our house is packed with books. So much, that we don't even bother getting new ones from the library. We read a lot of books. We like all sorts of things, from Maisy Mouse to Harry Potter. 

With the oldest child, we read a bedtime story every single night, but then we had a lot more time and undivided attention. We were a bit more lax with the next child. We did some bedtime stories, but we're not so much of a slave to it. Now, we don't do any bedtime stories at all. We have a slob, watch a bit of telly and then straight to bed. 

The older two children are doing very well at school, particularly in reading, so it's not like they're suffering in that sense. I do feel a bit guilty that we don't read them a story every single night, but then, I'm sure there are worse things to worry about.

What I need to know is - am I alone in this??


  1. *hangs out the bunting*

    *shoots hand in the air*

    H is 2.5. I still don't read him a bed time story. I read to him throughout the day, as and when he asks and we bring him up very much child led. As an avid reader myself (at least pre-H), the lack of bedtime story comes as a surprise to many of my friends and family but I never had one as a child and clearly it didn't affect my love of reading nor my intelligence.

    Quite frankly, H has been asking to go to bed at the right time for about 18 months now but has only really started to enjoy books in the last 10 months. He adores reading so much that I am worried that by introducing a story at bedtime will over excite him and my evenings are far too precious to do battle!

  2. pfft! I reckon the reason there is so much emphasis on bedtime stories is that for some children it's the only exposure to books they have each day. Clearly your children are not lacking that kind of exposure! For heaven's sake, don't beat yourself up about it.

    I gave up on bedtime stories for quite a while because my kids were too far apart in age to enjoy the same story, and bedtime got too fraught what with trying to read a separate story to each child. Now that they are a bit older (younger one is almost 4) they actually ask for bedtime stories and can tolerate waiting while the other has her turn, so we're back in the habit of books before bed. I don't think it is (or has to be) for everyone, though!

  3. I think the important thing isn't that you read a bedtime story with your child, but that you just make time to read stories with your child. Having said that, I do like to read my children a bedtime story or two but that's because I work full-time and it gives me some quality time cuddling up with my children before they fall asleep


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