Bedtime story

A bedtime story is a traditional form of storytelling, where a story is told to a child at bedtime to prepare the child for sleep. The bedtime story has long been considered "a definite institution in many families".[1]

A father reading his daughter a bedtime story: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Reading bedtime stories yields multiple benefits for parents and children alike. The fixed routine of a bedtime story before sleeping can improve the child's brain development, language mastery, and logical thinking skills.[2] The storyteller-listener relationship creates an emotional bond between the parent and the child.[2] Due to "the strength of the imitative instinct" of a child, the parent and the stories that they tell act as a model for the child to follow.[1]

Bedtime stories are also useful for teaching the child abstract virtues such as sympathy, selflessness, and self-control, as most children are said to be "naturally sympathetic when they have experienced or can imagine the feelings of others".[1] Thus, bedtime stories can be used to discuss darker subjects such as death and racism.[2] As the bedtime stories broaden in theme, the child "will broaden in their conception of the lives and feelings of others".[1]

Adult versions in the form of audio books help adults fall asleep without finishing the story.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Dickson, Marguerite Stockman (1919). Vocational Guidance for Girls. p. 90–93.
  2. ^ a b c Jones, Patti (2011). "The Brainy Benefits of Bedtime Stories". Parents Magazine.
  3. ^ Purdon, Nick; Palleja, Leonardo (27 January 2019). "Canada's top 'sleep writer' reveals how he puts you under (can you stay awake?)". CBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2019.

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