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Sweet dreams: top tips for bedtime stories

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Getting off to sleep can be tricky at any age! A bedtime story is a great idea, for children and for grown ups. Here are a few tips for stories to lull you off to the land of sweet dreams, where you can enjoy your own adventures and wake up refreshed and ready for the new day. While you might never be too old for a bedtime story, you’re never too young either. Tiny babies enjoy being sung to (don’t worry if you’re a bit out of tune, no–one will know and your babies won’t remember), and rhythms and rhymes. Slightly older babies can enjoy holding their own books while you help them with pages; chunky board books are excellent and many come with textured sections, which are lovely to explore and soothing to stroke while they enjoy their bedtime milk. The toddler years are a fantastic time to snuggle down with a book. This is the stage where many children move into a bed rather than a cot - perfect for cuddling up with them and sharing stories. Familiar books are good at bedtime, with friendly characters and funny poems so there is nothing to worry about when you say goodnight. Wibbly Pig is lovely, with lots of things to talk about together, and Peppa Pig is a big favourite with many toddlers! For pre-schoolers you can manage longer picture books, and you can buy lovely gift sets that come with a book and a character cuddly toy. Peter Rabbit and Giraffe’s Can’t Dance are popular choices, and for cheeky little ones the Aliens in Underpants series is hard to beat. They can start to enjoy identifying sounds, and with familiar books, take part in reading along with you as they remember them. As children grow up it can be a great opportunity for them to share their books with you, reading books that they have brought home from school. And even if they seem very grown up, no-one is ever too old to be read to - discovering books together is one of life’s pleasures. And as for grown ups, audio books are a calming way to slip away into sleep – just don’t choose anything too dramatic!
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