You may view telling your toddler a bedtime story as a chore; but to your child, it comes under the title of ‘quality time. It is the time of the day when he/she enjoys your undivided attention and can have some fun, even as the day ends. It could, however, also be the time that you can revisit the child in you that may have left behind. Telling original stories is an art that only some people have – but you need not be Satyajit Ray to tell creatively, so what if they aren’t yours and have been told to children since time immemorial? Here are a few things you could keep in mind while telling bedtime stories to your toddler.
How To Read Your Child A Bedtime Story
Routine does spell boredom, but it will help bring some discipline into this quality time. The toddler will know that he cannot bend the rules, even if he/she has been waiting for this time all day. Tell him/her firmly that after dinner, he/she must change into his/her bed clothes, brush his teeth and will be read a story. It will also give you time to clean up after dinner and do the dishes.
Time Is Priority
If you do not have enough time, set the limit to only one book per night. On the nights that you have the luxury of more time, you might read more than one story. Make sure your toddler chooses the one story he/she really wants to read. Also, encourage him to decide in advance what story he/she wants to listen to so that he/she may not waste time choosing it.
It might do you good as a parent or older sibling to read the story beforehand so that you may know which is the most exciting part of the story. Then you may know where and how to make the story more interesting for your toddler. Or else, you may waste a considerable amount of time just reading the story to yourself, instead of reading it to your toddler, thus inviting his irritation and ire.
You may want to animate the most interesting parts of the story, to make it more interesting for your toddler. However, don’t mimic voices of witches and devils, or best, don’t read these kinds of stories to your kid.
Sing The Zing
There may be parts in the story, especially the happy parts, where you could invent a little rhyme to make the story more interesting. Rhymes need not be absolute poetical masterpieces, just enough for your toddler to enjoy and perhaps sing along. It will make the whole routine so much more exciting that it wouldn’t seem like a chore to you.
If your toddler begins to beg you for another story, do not try negotiating. He/she needs enough rest at night, for at least ten hours. It is for you to understand that toddlers are more active physically as compared to adults and that they may be tired all through day, if they do not sleep well. Promise to tell the story the next day and firmly put him/her to sleep.