Ben has been a geek all of his life, so his expertise tends to fall into gaming and technology.
Modern psychology has confirmed that reading bedtime stories to children carry a lot of benefits. An immersive and entertaining bedtime story can clear the child’s mind and improve their sleep. Their dreams should be much more peaceful and imaginative.
Apart from this, it can help the child to develop vocabulary, recognition, and memory. Of course, they learn some valuable lessons and develop their emotions and social consciousness.
One of the things I like most is getting to spend a valuable twenty minutes at the end of the night with some real quality time. When reading to your kids, they love the fact that this time is all about them and that they have your undivided attention. When first starting out, I had some ideas about stories I heard as a kid, but I didn't really know where to start. Here are the best stories that worked for me. Also, at the end of the article, you’ll see some suggestions on where to find more.
The Tortoise and the Hare
The Tortoise and the Hare is one of the famous short stories by Aesop. It’s an age-old story of the wiser underdog. Here’s how the story goes.
A hare, renowned for its speed, challenges various animals to a race. To everyone’s surprise, they all refuse the challenge except for a tortoise – the slowest of them all. The hare races to a massive lead and promptly decides to take a nap before the finish line, perhaps to taunt his opponent or perhaps (you can fill in the blank).
The hare wakes up to see the tortoise crossing the finish line and winning the race. This gave birth to a wise saying — ‘slow but steady wins the race.’
This is an excellent story for youngsters. It’s entertaining, the characters are funny, and it teaches the child about patience, and also not to underestimate someone just because they think they’re better.
You can find the story everywhere online, and there are even cartoon versions on YouTube.
The Enormous Crocodile
The Enormous Crocodile is a story by Roald Dahl, written in 1978. The premise of the story may seem dark for children since it is about a crocodile who plans on eating a pair of kids. However, once you delve into the tone of the story, you’ll notice that it’s written in an extremely funny way and has an educational purpose.
First of all, the story mentions plenty of wild animals such as the crocodile, hippo, monkey, elephant, and tropical birds. This will help the children learn more about the jungle and wildlife. Also, besides the big bad crocodile, all the other animals in the story are against the crocodile’s plans. This can help a child to distinguish dangerous carnivorous animals from peaceful herbivores at a young age.
The crocodile tries to capture the kids four times. Each time the other animals expose him and ruin his plan. In the end, the elephant throws the crocodile through the sky and passes all the planets of the solar system before landing on the sun; it can help your child learn about the concept of outer space and the name of the planets.
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The Fly That Forgot Its Name
The fly that forgot its name is a convenient bedtime short story that you can modify and make different every time.
The premise is simple: A fly that doesn’t remember its name buzzes around and asks people, animals, and even things if they could refresh its memory. Unfortunately, each stop only sends the fly on to another, until it finally reaches someone or something that understands it.
The story is structured in such a way that you can remove or add other subjects and enhance your child’s imagination. Also, adding subjects that are still unknown to your child can have an educational purpose. You can also ask your kid to suggest some animals or things and make this story an interactive experience.
The Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling is a story that every child should know. It’s a short story about the judgmental nature of human beings and the struggles of outsiders. All of this is personalized in the form of an ugly duckling and the animals who make fun of it.
You are probably familiar with the premise of the story. The ugly duckling hatches and is mocked by other normal-looking animals. It runs away from home and has trouble settling anywhere. People chase it away, the winter comes, and the ugly duckling struggles.
In the end, it sees a pond of beautiful swans but feels ashamed to join them. Then it catches a glimpse of its own reflection in the water and realizes that it was never an ugly duckling. It was a swan all along.
This story has a beautiful and happy ending which is certain to make your child happy. The story teaches youngsters not to judge a book by its cover and respect everyone regardless of their appearance.
Where to Find Bedtime Stories Online
If you want to browse for stories online, there are many places to start. There are plenty of websites that specialize in short stories for kids, as well as many online book stores that you can check out.
- For example, Amazon has a whole section dedicated to children’s bedtime stories. You can sort them by price, rating, language, and also paperback or kindle versions. If you have an Amazon Echo speaker, you can download an audiobook and play it to your kids until they fall asleep.
- Websites like Storyberries, Stories Grow By, and Bedtime have an abundance of bedtime stories for children of all ages. You’ll find stories from popular authors, independent writers, and even podcasts and audiobooks.
- There are also YouTube channels consisting entirely of short children’s stories. For example, StoryToon has smooth animation and a very nice voiceover that your children can easily follow. Also, the Fairy Tales and Stories For Kids channel has more than 700 thousand subscribers and produces full-length animated features and cartoon series. Its library contains most of the classic stories, including some mentioned in this article.
A Never-Ending Story
Thanks to the internet, you can probably find more stories in an hour than your parents or grandparents could in their lifetime. So, why wouldn’t you make use of that potential? With so many choices, you can easily select a story that will mesh with your child's interests and get them really engaged. You can also share your own interests with your kids. For example, I'm a geek, and so when I'm reading a book about robots it becomes just a little more personal.
Be prepared to learn most of these stories over countless nights of reading . . . at least until the child learns how to read themselves to sleep.
© 2019 Ben Martin