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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Bedtime Stories for Toddlers

Bedtime Stories For Toddlers

Telling your toddler a bedtime story is probably part of your daily routine, but did you know that how you tell that story could be an important part of their mental development? Toddlers, since they can't yet read, learn the majority of their language skills through listening. By telling the right kind of bedtime story, in the right way, you can help your child learn language and reading skills and set them up for a lifetime of reading enjoyment.

To a toddler without much life experience, they are the center of the world. So, to increase their interest in reading and words it is best to make every bedtime story about them. Children love when they are the "star" of a story. Luckily, this is an easy process.

The next time you are making up a bedtime story, instead of using animals or known nursery rhyme characters as the main characters of your story, build the story around your child instead. Take a favorite interest of your child's, such as dancing, fishing or sports and make up a creative story that depicts their actions. Using fishing as an example, you can make up a story about fishing at a tournament. Describe getting up early, detail what your child will wear, tell about them fishing in a specially made boat with a lot of silly extras and, for the ending, make them winner of the tournament for catching an enormous fish. The more silly details that you add, the better. The most important thing to remember here is to make the story all about your child.

Another way to make this type of story more interesting for your child is by using details in the story that are familiar to them. Use their best friends in the story, use their room as the setting, or introduce a cartoon character that they love. Children naturally have very active imaginations so it doesn't matter if the details are outlandish; all that matters is that the story is about your child.

If you don't feel as though you possess the skills to make up a story about your child from scratch, you can always use a child's storybook for guidance and just change the details in the story to fit your child. For example, if you are reading Snow White to your daughter, use your daughter's name instead of Snow White's. You can also rename the dwarfs with the names of her playgroup friends.

Another great way to tell a story that you do not have to make up is to recount an experience that you and your child have had. For example, your recent trip to grandma's house could be a great bedtime if you focus the story on your child's activities and point of view. To make it more interesting, you can change a few of the details, like change the simple sandwiches that grandma made for lunch into a princess picnic complete with all of your child's favorite foods.
By turning any bedtime story into a showcase of your child's interests and actions, you can increase their interest in reading and listening to the spoken language. By showing your child the world of fun and imagination that comes from stories, you will help them lay the ground work for an adult life filled with reading.

Another benefit to making personal bedtime stories part of your routine is the bonding that you will experience with your child. As your child becomes accustomed to the type of stories that you tell, they will start to add in their own details or actions. This will allow you share this activity with your child and also give you a glimpse into their way of thinking. The more you listen to your child's suggestions, the more you will learn about how they see the world.

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