How to get out of the bedtime story rut

Blogger Anna Coates explains why and how to become your children’s very own private story teller.


We all know that reading is up there as one of the most important things we can do with our kids. And for most of us, the perfect time to make sure your children get some uninterrupted one-on-one reading time is right before bed.

Sounds good in theory, but you’re not alone if there are times when you would rather chop off your right arm than read that same book one more time. Or perhaps you find yourself whizzing through the words as quick as you can so you can tuck the little munchkins in, turn off the light and crack open the wine.

Sound familiar? Thought so.

If you’re stuck in a story rut, perhaps it’s time you tried something different. Of course you could hit-up Amazon for the latest bestseller, but have you ever thought about making-up your own bedtime tales?

Made-up, verbal stories can be an excellent way to develop your child’s listening skills, encourage them to take part in the story-telling, sparking that all-important imagination, and help to create a sense of calm before they nod off. Children love them and even the most basic story will sound amazing if you’re the one telling it.

If you find the idea of making-up a story a little too daunting, here are a few tips to get you started:

They don’t have to be original

Remember these stories are only for the ears of your little darlings and they certainly won’t notice if you pinch your idea from a favourite book or film.

Or exciting

Sure, your story might sound boring to your ears, but even the most mundane tale can be exciting for little ones. Just throw in the odd ice-cream, amazing present or birthday party and they’re bound to be happy!

Pick a favourite character

A good story-starter is to take your child’s favourite TV character, book hero or toy on some kind of adventure. Just think Buzz Lightyear saving your pet rabbit from a naughty talking carrot and you’ve got your story.

Put your child in the driving seat

Ask them what they would like to hear, you might be surprised how detailed their ideas can be.

Real life is good

If your child nervous about starting a new after-school activity? Or about going on a play-date with a new friend? Bringing real life into your stories can be a great way to help children understand or come to terms with a new situation.

Photo: NickPiggott @Flickr

Comments for 'How to get out of the bedtime story rut'

2 Responses to How to get out of the bedtime story rut

  1. This a brilliant idea… and something I do often when too tired to read. Sometimes the boys want characters from specific books they love and I create a new mad story with all their favourite characters. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does’t. I was proud of one about a boy (my son of course he is always the hero) who had a magic pen whose pictures came to life. It was fun to include all the people he knows in real life like his Granny, cousins and brothers!

    My husband says the stories he remembers are the ones his mum made up off the top of her head. Thanks for a great post!

  2. Donna Webeck says:

    I love making up stories as well! I get this from my dad who used to love doing the same (and still does for his grandkids!) so its a nice little family tradition :)

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