One of my most vivid memories from early childhood is my mom sitting at my bedside reading or telling me stories. I remember her warm face and soft voice. I remember feeling cosy, safe and swaddled by that pleasant numbness that you get just before sleep. As an adult, I can only remember a handful of those bedtime stories. But what stayed with me is that wonderful feeling of closeness, safety, warmth and pure joy.
These are the feelings that I want my children to have when they grow up and think about our goodnight stories.
Ever since my son was a baby, I made a point of telling him a story before bedtime. And even though sometimes he was engaged with the pictures, my voice or my silly faces, other times he was distracted and simply not in the mood. I wouldn’t push it but didn’t give up on our evening routine either.
Wondering why I didn’t give up reading stories to my child?
We have written before about why reading to children makes all the difference and the reason why we have quite a few posts on this topic is that both Monica and I saw first-hand what quick bedtime stories can do for kids.
Reading to our children has massive benefits in language development, literacy skills and overall school progress. And while these are certainly important aspects, to me, this routine brings something more valuable.
Sharing a story with my little one means a moment of togetherness when my whole focus is on him. A perfect moment of cuddling and closeness when he feels safe and protected.
So, you see? This is why I didn’t give up on our bedtime routine even when he was acting out. I tried again the next evening.
The result? Now my little preschooler won’t go to sleep without a story. He is in love with books and I notice day by day how his vocabulary and imagination are flourishing.
One thing that I’ve noticed lately is that reading or storytelling is not a unilateral activity anymore. My little adventurer loves commenting on the stories, asking questions and even changing them here and there.
So, ever since he was a few months old we had pretty much the same routine. I would read him a quick bedtime story before falling asleep.
This blog post has been written in collaboration with Story Tyke. All opinions are my own.
And then, one evening this happened
It was an evening like any other. George was bursting with energy (like all toddlers when it’s bedtime) and me…well let’s just say that if I were a phone you’d hear that annoying “low battery” beep every minute.
We did his normal bathroom routine, changed into PJs and settled down for his goodnight story. He chose the book and we cuddled up to read it like we always do. So far nothing out of the ordinary. I finished reading and started our usual “Good night, I love you kitty; I love you chair; I love you milk…” yes, it goes on forever!
Little did I know that this evening was going to be different. Instead of the normal “good night to all surrounding objects” I heard:
Mommy, can you tell me a story?
What do you mean? I just read you a story. “No, no, no, mommy! Please INVENT a story!”
Yikes! It was the first time he had asked me to tell him an invented story.
Generally, I consider myself to be quite an imaginative person who’d have no problem with such a request. But that particular evening I was so tired that my invented story was filled with “Umm’s”, “Ermm’s” and other such fillers. I mean, it wasn’t a bad story I guess, we had fun and all, but oh dear, my brain was struggling to put the words together and come up with a decent storyline.
Luckily, I found the genius solution in the form of Story Tyke
That evening wasn’t an isolated request but my son continued to ask for stories on a regular basis. And because I loved how engaged he was with the story I wanted to encourage it.
So, I hopped on Google and started searching for original short bedtime stories also, preferably free.
Scouring the internet, I found my perfect solution: Story Tyke.
It is a platform that provides free bedtime stories straight to your inbox. I immediately fell in love with Story Tyke and what they offer.
Because their mission and vision is something close to my heart, I want to spread the news about them. So here what I love about Story Tyke.
- Their stories are free of charge (whoop-whoop, who doesn’t like free stuff?)
- All their bedtime stories are completely original or have a fun twist on traditional ones.
- Some of the stories are customized which my son loves. There are blank spaces in the story in which you insert your child’s name so that he becomes an active participant in the tale.
- Another fantastic way to engage the child is the questions throughout the story. Generally, there are two questions written in bold at key points in the story through which the child is asked to give his/her opinion (What would you do? How do you feel about this? etc).
- The stories are short, perfect for bedtime.
- Each story, besides being fun, has an important moral lesson.
- The stories have been written by professional and critically acclaimed writers (reading their stories for a while now I can definitely believe that, the tales are fantastic).
- Last but not least, I receive these good night stories straight to my inbox every evening which saves a lot of brainpower to invent them myself.
As I have mentioned before the stories are great, imaginative and, most importantly they captivate my son’s attention and encourage him to speak and think. According to Story Tyke, the stories are written for kids with ages between 4 and 8 years old as these are the years when kids are most likely to be engaged by this type of bedtime stories. Of course, depending on the child’s developmental stage, younger or older children might enjoy them as well.
The sign-up process is very straight forward, quick and doesn’t cost a thing. After you have subscribed, you will receive a story on Sunday – Thursday nights at 6 PM. I am so happy that I found Story Tyke and I am truly impressed by the high-quality bedtime stories that they provide for free.
So, dear tired parents, if you are looking for short bedtime stories for your kids and simply can’t come up with an original one, if you want to save time scouring the internet for a good bedtime story, then I can’t recommend Story Tyke warmly enough.
Mom of two wonderful children, dedicated teacher and book lover.