After a long day of play, there’s no better feeling than winding down and getting ready for bedtime (for little ones, and parents!) One of the most common parts of the bedtime routine is the bedtime story. Not only do they help little ones drift off at the end of a busy day, they’re thought to also improve both language skills and sleep in children, plus, have been proven to help foster a bond between parents and children, reduce children’s stress levels and so much more – it’s why we think they’re really important!
Parents, if you’re looking for something new to read your little ones at bedtime, then look no further – here’s our top bedtime stories that little ones will love, and parents will love to read!
Bedtime stories for new-born to 12 months
- Dr Seuss’s Sleep Book - By Dr Seuss
- Goodnight Moon - By Margaret Wise Brown
- A Recipe for Bedtime - By Peter Bently
When your children are in the first 12 months of their life, reading can be really soothing for them! We’ve chosen these 3 books to make our list, but honestly - newborns will not understand what you’re reading, so many parents use this time to read their own books out loud! At this stage, babies can recognise the tones and rhythms when you’re reading, so it’s a great thing to do, but the choice of book probably isn’t as important.
Bedtime stories for 1 – 3 year olds
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar - By Eric Carle
- The Tiger Who Came To Tea – By Judith Kerr
- We’re Going On A Bear Hunt – By Michael Rosen
When little ones hit the toddler stage, reading becomes even more important! It helps them develop a large vocabulary and helps with understanding words made of similar sounds (called phonemic awareness). They’ll also start to recognise that marks on a page represent letters and words.
Bedtime stories for 3 – 5 year olds
- Bear Called Paddington - By Michael Bond
- Winnie The Pooh - By A A Milne
- The Roald Dahl Collection
As children get a little older, you can start introducing stories that have more complex plots in them and books with more words than pictures - especially if you’re reading to them at bedtime.
Bedtime stories for 5 – 8 year olds
- Stuart Little - By E B White
- The Tales of Beatrix Potter
- The Greatest Show on Earth - By Mini Grey
When children hit the age of 5-8, parents may think it’s time to stop bedtime stories, however, we don’t think that should be the case. Stories are powerful and magical - they help us understand our lives, process our thoughts and feelings, and encourage us to use our imagination!
Best bedtime stories for 8+ year olds
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - By J. K. Rowling
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – By C S Lewis
- The Wind in the Willows – By Kenneth Grahame
As your children get older, you might think it’s natural to stop reading to them at bedtime, especially since they’ll be learning to read themselves. Whilst independent reading is certainly important, reading out loud to children as old as 14-15 still has great benefits – both academically and emotionally. To help your older child’s reading fluency, it might be helpful for them to follow along what you’re reading in the book!
Bedtime stories are often the favourite part of the bedtime routine, for parents and little ones! We hope our list inspires you to pick up a book at the end of each busy day and wind down with a good story. We’d love to know your favourite bedtime stories – head over to our social media channels to tell us!