Bedtime remains that time of day when a parent actually has some calm and uninterrupted time with their child, and it usually culminates with a bedtime story. For what seems to be forever, children have been put to bed to the reading of traditional fairy tales; however, in the past few years parents are moving away from the traditional stories of The Three Little Pigs and nursery rhymes to happier, modern, stories for children.
Are The Classics Becoming Passe?
So, what's wrong with The Three Little Pigs, Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood? According to some parents who were included in a survey about bedtime stories they read to their children, Cinderella lacks empowerment, Rapunzel is too much on the dark side, and Little Red Riding Hood should not be out in the woods by herself - bad role modeling. Even Snow White came under fire for not being politically correct - apparently the term "dwarf" is offensive. It would be interesting to hear their take on some of the commercials and movies children watch these days.
Modern Bedtime Story Themes And Titles
The theme of modern bedtime stories tends toward funny bedtime stories like Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort, and Jillian Jiggs by Pheobe Gilman, which has five books in the series. For younger children, short bedtime stories are the best. Often the little ones like to have three, four, or five, books read to them at night before bed, so short bedtime stories or nursery rhymes hit the spot. There are some classics that remain in the list of top ten bedtime stories, some which parents probably remember from their own past. Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh, along with Wind in the Willows, reinterpreted by Kenneth Grahame, remain on the favorite list.
Some themes remain a mystery to many parents, such as telling children scary bedtime stories. Although, it does seem that children get a charge out of being scared, loving to scream and hide under their covers. Nevertheless, scary bedtime stories can lead to short nights and long days for both children and parents, especially if the child wants to sleep with Mom and Dad because they can't sleep in their own room due to monsters under the bed.
Audio Books And Bedtime Films
There are good selections of audio bedtime stories available in bookstores, and you can check for bedtimes stories online as well. Some sites offer free downloads of audio books, so it's worth investigating. As children get a little older, they may just want to listen to a story on cd instead of having a parent read aloud to them. There are even bedtime story films available that children watch either before bed or even while they are in their beds. The convenience of having audio bedtime stories and bedtime story films is great for some homes, especially if the parents have a busy evening ahead of them. On other occasions, listening to an audio bedtime story while looking at a book of the same story can help the child "read along" with the story teller. It's a good way to enhance learning.
Start When They Are Infants, The Fun Only Grows
Bedtime story books make great "new baby gifts" to be given when a new baby arrives. It's wonderful to have some stories to read to a new baby, teaching from very early on the joy of reading, the power of words, and the fun of having books as friends. Bedtime story time is a special time for mother and baby, just as it is for older children and one of their parents. It is a time of bonding, learning, laughter, and fun as both parent and child explore the stories they share.
Reading something funny before bed leaves a child with a giggle as he or she goes to sleep. Children love to listen to the same stories over and over again, usually memorizing every single word and replicating the way it is expressed by the reader of the story. It can be fun to listen to the child read his or her own story at night before bed, sometimes improvising and changing things around - but most often getting every word correct, complete with inflection.
Bedtime is the best time, in many homes, for sharing the joy of reading together.