ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Bedtime Stories Prepare Children for the Real World

Updated on December 15, 2018
HoneyBB profile image

Analyzing why people do the things they do and how those things affect others is one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy finding solutions.

Teddy Bear reading at bedtime
Teddy Bear reading at bedtime

The Unexpected Benefits of Bedtime Stories

It has long been known that reading bedtime stories to your children enhances the parent/child bond. That's why once this routine has started, children usually crave the connection it brings, and therefore, request a story when bedtime rolls around. Well, that's one of the reasons. Another reason, of course, is that they want to prolong the time they are allowed to stay awake. Parents have also known for eons that the unworldly characters, far away settings, and embellished scenes heighten their child's imagination. While the plot may send some subliminal messages about the ways of the world and the characteristics of people in it, it also has the potential to encourage your child to be inquisitive, patient, kind, helpful, and funny, among other things. Additionally, aspects of the story may increase their intelligence. Likewise, the act of being read to often inspires a child's love of reading which could transform into a love of learning. All of these attributes contribute to a more well behaved and well-rounded child. Lastly, parents who read to their children, as well as the children, often sleep more soundly promoting better physical and mental health.

What the Elements of a Story Teach Children

Even though children stories often portray fantasy worlds, the structure of the story and its individual parts usually mimic real life. For example, as in life, the story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. This aspect alone may somewhat prepare or inform children that this is how life works. The story also presents good and bad, as well as, cause and effect. Children learn, for instance, that when the bad character does something bad, something bad will likely happen, and vice versa. In addition, a problem is usually presented in the story that somebody has to employ brainstorming and critical thinking skills, as well as, take some sort of action or get help to resolve the problem. In everyday life, children may observe this process, however, it's often jumbled and occurs over long periods of time. The story organizes the process and usually presents it quickly enough for the child to pick up on the general idea of how problem solving works. They see what causes a problem. They see why it's a problem; and they see what others do to resolve it. And, we thought it was just a book, right?

Baby listening to bedtime story
Baby listening to bedtime story

Patience and Curiosity Learned through Stories

When a story captures a child's interest, curiosity inevitably ensues. And, with it comes questions --- lots and lots of questions. Kids want to know everything from why a character's face is blue to when will the hero receive their reward. After you finish telling the story, they often want you start it all over again. That's where patience comes in. Yours and theirs. You learn that the story often makes you more sleepy than it does them; and, you have to have patience when you make it to the end and they ask for a repeat. They learn patience when they're anxious to find out what's going to happen next or in the end. And, they learn patience when they have to wait until the next night for their next story.

Body Language, Tone, and Facial Expressions Inspire Humor

One of the best parts of the story for kids and probably the thing that makes them feel the most connected to their parents has to be when the parent takes the role of the characters and expresses it through their movement, voice, and funny faces. The description of a character may appear to be a horrid creature but the parent has the power to make their children laugh at angry faces and loud noises. When parents demonstrate their silly side, children often find their own funny bones. All of this laughter helps both parent and child unwind from and forget about all the small stresses they encountered throughout the day. It all makes for a better night's sleep.

Boy with book
Boy with book

Children Emulate Good Qualities Found in Story Characters

When parents remind children of admirable qualities some characters possess, it motivates the kids to want to display the same things. A couple of the most common positive characteristics expressed in children's stories are kindness and helpfulness. Parents have the opportunity to use the story to help teach these lessons to their children. For example, a parent might say, "Do you remember how Bugaloo helped Stormy pick up the twigs? Well, I need your help now. Could you help me pick up your toys?" The child probably envisions Bugaloo picking up twigs and feeling good about helping Stormy. Therefore, helping out seems to be more of a fun thing to do than a burden. When parents praise a characters good behavior, it encourages their child to act the same way so they can receive praise too.

Three siblings reading kindle
Three siblings reading kindle | Source

Kids Retain More of What They Learn Shortly Before Sleep

When people sleep our brains process parts of what we experienced throughout the day. The closer an experience is to bedtime, the more of it we learn from and remember. Harvey B. Simon, M.D., editor of Harvard Health at Harvard Medical School, explains Learning/Memory Retention During Sleep. When parents invent their own bedtime stories, they have the opportunity to create the lessons most important to them for their children to learn. As a result, parent and child experience a strong REM cycle of sleep which is the cycle that best helps them retain information. This helps them both be more alert when they wake up. Sleep also helps the body heal. The next time your child asks you to read them a bedtime story, think of the benefits.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the very helpful information. This helps parents become more intentional about the putting more time and effort into this activity with the children.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)