Bedtime stories start out so fun when you’re a new parent. It’s a novelty in the beginning and a beautiful moment of connection between you and your little one….Mostly because when they’re babies they can’t go anywhere. But then as they grow into busy toddlers, they won’t sit still long enough for you to say ‘Once upon a time…’ Or it might be the opposite and your little one keeps saying, ‘Pleasssssse just The Lion King one more time?’ and it can start to feel like a chore.
That’s why we have teamed up with ergoPouch to show off their latest Disney collection and bring the fun back into bedtime.
Because we know that bedtime can be tough after a long day, we’re tired and we often just want to rush our little ones through so we can switch off and relax. But storytime is such a wonderful time to connect with your child. It’s often the place they will talk about their day, tell you how they’re feeling, or snuggle into you. Whereas the rest of the day they’re too busy swinging from branches or playing to stop and hug you.
It’s also so important for helping them with their literacy and vocabulary and nurturing their imagination and creativity.
So, when you think about it, there are so many ways children (and you) can benefit from taking the time to properly engage together. But if you feel like storytime has become stale, or you’re just looking for ways to make sure you’re both getting the most out of it – here are some tips to help supercharge storytime.
1. Get set for bed before you begin
Get the bath out of the way, get dressed in your little one’s favourite ergoPouch x Disney pyjamas and sleepsuit and fulfil any last requests for water or milk before you begin. This way there will be no distractions and it signals that this is time for being quiet and calm.
2. Pick all the books first
Get your child to pick the books they want to read with you first, with a cap on how many you will read. How many you read is personal preference, but having a cap at say 3 (or 3 chapters if they’re longer books) is a good idea.
By getting them to pick all the books first, they’ll come to accept how many you are reading – instead of having a meltdown when they ask for more. If you’ve got a serious negotiator on your hands you might also want to try a timer that goes off when storytime is finished.
Bonus points for matching their ergoPouch x Disney sleepwear to their bedtime story – they will think it’s the best thing ever!
3. Don’t just read the words
Picture books are an endless possibility – and your child is probably too young to read the words anyway – so have a little fun with it! Get creative and make up your own story with the pictures.
Or, talk about the pictures first and what might be happening – and then read the words and see if you were correct.
4. Storytime doesn’t have to be just books
Your child will love it when you make up the stories yourself and get them involved. It’s not always easy to be creative after a long day, but doing this occasionally will delight your little one. Use them as the main character and incorporate things they love into it – and as they get older get them to take over and tell the story.
This can be a great way to help them build confidence with storytelling and help nurture their imagination.
5. Be silly
Kids love to laugh and so really get into the characters and the story and have a little fun with it. Put on voices for the characters, make noises, even get up and act things out. This will help your child’s attention span and help them enjoy it.
We want to hear you say, “To infinity and beyond” like you mean it!
6. Mix it up
Some children love reading the same book night after night (and 3 times through!) but others will become bored quickly. Keeping a fresh rotation of books can keep things interesting. You can also borrow books from the library or create a book circle with other parents to swap books.
The same goes for where you read. If your child is less engaged, a change of scenery can often help. Try reading on the lounge or in your bed – or even create a little reading cubby with some pillows and blankets.
7. Cuddles are key
Storytime is about so much more than just reading, it’s really about connection. So, snuggle in close together and get comfortable. It’s not only great for your bond with your child but it will also help their little body and mind feel safe and calm as they go off to sleep.
8. Remove all distractions
Storytime should be free of devices or distractions for both you and your child. We know there are piles of washing, dirty dishes to be cleaned or work emails to reply to. But commit to at least 10 solid minutes of quality storytime with your child and you’ll see huge benefits. Their cup will be filled which will help them drift off to sleep easier and help them to feel safe and secure.
9. Follow the words
As your child starts to grow and become more interested in learning how to read, point to the words as you read them, this will help them to start to recognise words and build the foundation of their literacy skills.
10. Let them take the lead
Whether they are old enough to have a try at reading themselves, or they are just going to make it up as they go. Let them take the lead and tell you their favourite Disney story. This is a beautiful way to get a little window into their soul as well as helping to build their confidence and creativity. Ask them questions about their story and tell them what you loved and why.
If your child is less engaged in storytime, don’t force it, think of different ways to keep them engaged. But stick with it as part of a nightly routine that they will become used to – and in time come to enjoy. Some children need a little more encouragement than others but there are so many benefits that come from reading with our little ones, so stick with it.
Remember quality is always better than quantity when it comes to time spent with your child, so put the phone down if you can. And remember above anything it should always be fun.
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x ergoPouch.