It can be difficult to know what’s right for your children. As parents, it’s easy to find ourselves questioning even the smallest decisions. Finding the right baby products like sleep sacks or the best diapers, figuring out parenting tricks, and knowing whether you’re doing what’s best can feel overwhelming.
However, when it comes to reading to your baby, you’ll never have to question your decision – it’s one of the greatest gifts you could possibly give them. Bedtime stories are invaluable and will help your child in more ways than one. Beyond that, reading to your baby is beneficial for all the members of your family.
At Hazel & Fawn, we believe that reading bedtime stories is a simple pleasure with a huge impact. From baby and toddler books to books for older children, we have curated a selection that takes the guesswork out of bedtime stories.
Why Should I Read Bedtime Stories to My Child Every Night?
Not only are bedtime stories fun and entertaining, but they also provide health and development benefits that you can’t get from other activities. Though there are dozens of reasons to read to your children and incorporate toddler books into your everyday life, here are some of our favorites:
Top 5 Reasons to Read to Your Children
- Boosts cognitive function and language development
- Helps with routine
- Allows you to bond with your child
- Instills a love for reading
- Teaches about the world around them
Boosting Brains and Language with Toddler Books
Most importantly, bedtime stories help with brain development. Starting with toddler books is a great way to make those little wheels turn and get them thinking. Toddler books are specifically written so little ones will understand the story.
Toddler books can help with problem-solving skills, imagination development, and even your kid’s sense of humor! The lessons we learn from the books we love as kids stay with us forever, and so does that healthy brain development!
Children Thrive on Routine
Kids do their best when they have a good routine, and bedtime stories are no exception. The key to a good night’s sleep is a healthy bedtime routine, and the key to a great day is a well-rested kid! Your bedtime routine doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.
Try starting in the bathroom with care tasks like brushing teeth and using the potty or diaper changes. Follow that with changing into pajamas and getting cozy. Finally, have your child pick out one to three toddler books for the evening. The whole family will calm when you are reading to your toddler, and everyone will be off to dreamland before you know it.
Forming a Lifelong Bond Over Bedtime Stories
Reading to your baby helps you to feel close to your child both physically and emotionally. Sharing special bedtime stories and snuggles every single night will bring you closer than ever.
We promise that you will both look back on these times with great fondness. You might find yourself getting emotional thinking about these moments, but your child will remember the joy and love they felt during their bedtime stories for life.
Loving Reading from a Young Age
Reading to your baby helps them love books from very early on. There are tons of reasons why loving books is great, including academic success, less screen time, and a thirst for learning!
Reading will be a required subject for at least the school years of your child’s life, so instilling a love for books and reading will help set them up for success both in and out of the classroom.
Learning About Life Through Bedtime Stories
Whether it’s a book about being kind to your friends, becoming a scientist, or anything in between, kids will learn all about the world through their bedtime stories. They will develop emotional intelligence with all the lessons learned from toddler books, leading to helpful problem-solving skills and better emotional connections.
Aside from emotional intelligence, kids will learn all about different subjects and jobs from their bedtime stories! Inspiring stories of astronauts, chefs, or even politicians will teach them all the possibilities in life and ways they can make a difference in the future.
Are There any Benefits to Reading Aloud While Pregnant?
With pregnancy comes lots of advice (wanted or otherwise) from anyone and everyone, but a great piece of advice you can actually use is to read to your baby in the womb! There are several reasons why reading to your baby while carrying them is extremely beneficial.
Brain development is crucial during pregnancy, and reading is a great way to boost that. Exposing your unborn child to bedtime stories with different types of language and content helps those little neural pathways develop. Plus, picking out baby and toddler books during pregnancy is tons of fun!
A fun way to incorporate reading while pregnant is to simply read books that you enjoy. Even if you’re reading the latest self-help book or a popular fantasy series, your baby still reaps the benefits! You don’t necessarily have to start with baby and toddler books while you’re pregnant. Read as you normally would, but just do it out loud!
Toddler Books: Fact vs. Fiction
You might find yourself wondering whether fiction or non-fiction bedtime stories are more beneficial; we believe it’s both! Since reading to your toddler can boost their imagination and help them learn about the world, any type of toddler book you choose is a great choice.
Since toddler books are made specifically for little ones, you can be sure they are written at a level your toddler will understand. Even if it’s about a seemingly difficult topic, remember that toddler books will break it down and use age-appropriate language. Those bedtime stories can be a great way to introduce topics like art and science.
Best Bedtime Stories
There are thousands of toddler books out there that you can choose from, and we think more books are always a good idea! We have created a list of five books for any type of kid.
Bedtime Stories Will be a Breeze with These Top 5 Book Picks:
- Bilingual Color Series Board Books
- “Little People, Big Dreams - Black Voices” Gift Set
- “A Tale of Two Friends" Book
- BabyLit Books
- “How to Spot a Mom” Book
Bilingual Books for Babies
The best time for someone to learn another language is when they are young! Children can pick up a surprising amount of vocabulary in other languages, often very quickly. The board books linked above are a great way to practice both English and Spanish. This toddler book is available in three versions, starting their language journey off strong!
Books for Your Little Activist
The “Little People, Big Dreams” books come in many different versions, from sets filled with Black Voices to Powerful Women. Introducing your little one to social justice doesn’t have to be difficult because these books are written specifically for kids! They bring up important topics and historical happenings, all with language that kids will understand.
For the Kids That Need Courage
“A Tale of Two Friends” is a heartwarming toddler book about bravery and the importance of helping your friends. If your child is going through something scary or is having trouble with friends at school, this is the perfect book to encourage them and help with their problem-solving.
Books for Baby Literary Lovers
BabyLit is a phenomenal series that takes big topics and famous literary titles and reworks them for young minds. The book linked above is about the world of fashion with “Anna Karenina” and would be perfect for the young fashionista. BabyLit has tons of other books available to inspire your young reader, from classic titles like “Pride and Prejudice” to fables like “The Jungle Book.”
Books for Older Kids and Parents
“How to Spot a Mom” is one of our favorite books for older children. Parents and kids alike will appreciate the humor and cheekiness of this book. It provides a look into motherhood while also adding some funny anecdotes that might even trick your kids into appreciating your hard work just a little bit more.
Books for older kids can also help introduce more difficult subjects. As children age, parents have to tackle all sorts of topics that might be hard to discuss. Remember that books are a huge asset, and you can find kid-friendly books on almost anything. Dealing with bullies, starting puberty, and growing up can all be eased with the wisdom of a good book.
Bedtime Stories as Traditions
Reading your children bedtime stories can help create special traditions that will stay in your family for generations. Reading the same book at the same time each year inspires warm and fuzzy feelings for all your family members.
For example, we love reading “People Who Help Us at School” every year before the first day of school. Not only does it have helpful reminders about being at school, but it also helps to ease some of that first-day anxiety.
Another popular tradition for bedtime stories is reading certain holiday books, like “A Reindeer’s Dream” from the popular children’s brand Jellycat. Having those special reading traditions will help you and your child remember all the magic of the holidays year after year.
Other Important Creative Activities
Reading bedtime stories is just one important element in supporting your child’s imagination and brain development. When it’s time to be more active and get some wiggles out, here are our top three activities to hone in on creativity:
Playing Without Parameters
Enjoying playtime with your child isn’t always easy. While you’d love to hang around with them all day long and follow their imagination where it may lead, your mind might be stuck on all the things that need to be taken care of. Furthermore, sometimes it’s hard to muster up the energy to play all the time.
Open-ended play is a great way to boost creativity and navigate some of the challenges listed above. You don’t have to use specific toys or have a specific area to play. Simply bring your child along around the house to help you with chores; we guarantee they can make a game out of just about anything!
Having dress-up options to go along with playtime is a great way to add some whimsy to your child’s day. Allowing your child to choose dress-up clothes is a great way to help them gain independence, practice their gross and fine motor skills, and become more immersed in their play.
Dressing up can also help children learn about careers and what their interests might be in the future. Try this Detective Set for your little one with an inquisitive mind, or try this Veterinarian Set for the kid who loves animals!
You can also combine many toddler books with dress-up play. If your child loves a particular character or book, make their experience more immersive by helping them create a costume of the main character! They can form real connections to their favorite toddler books and look super cute, too.
Next to reading to your baby, doing arts and crafts is one of the best ways to boost your child’s imagination and get them thinking! Little ones can benefit from arts and crafts by incorporating a lot of sensory play, while older children can start to understand creative concepts like how to mix colors.
There are many toddler books that introduce art and artists throughout history. Reading a great art-themed toddler book followed by an arts and crafts activity is a great thing to do on a rainy day when you are stuck indoors.
Remember that art projects don’t have to be complicated! You can create open-ended play with art supplies, especially if you don’t mind a bit of a mess. Parents are often pressured to come up with the perfect themed art project, but your child will have just as much fun with blank paper and crayons.
Reading is Fundamental
Bedtime stories can be the most special part of your day. Creating a calm, relaxing environment for reading to your baby helps both you and your kids. Reading is among one of the best things you can do to support your baby’s development, so cozy up with a good book and enjoy all those sweet snuggles!