Bedtime stories are the source of fundamental life lessons and cherished childhood memories. Children are whisked away to other places and times where the bounds of their imaginations are tested and expanded.
Children learn to channel empathy when listening to or reading stories. They develop a relationship with the characters and find their challenges relatable. Not to mention, a child is better equipped to deal with an obstacle when they read about a fictional character navigating a similar situation. As a child reads, they think about their own life, often questioning situations similar to those in the book.
Depending on your typical nighttime routine with your child, how and when you tell a story may vary. You may have a go-to book that your child adores and read it to them repeatedly. Many children request the same book every night, and this can be a great way to promote logical thinking. After a few reads, your child may pick up on patterns, hints or clues that lead to events later in the plot.
This article will outline some of the best children’s stories that will carry your little ones into a peaceful sleep. If your child has yet to find a favorite book they may enjoy some of these.
1. Where The Wild Things Are
This is a perfect example of a book that deals with emotions. The child’s mind is often fluctuating, and their mood can quickly turn. In this book, Max dresses in a wolf suit and behaves mischievously, after his mother calls him a Wild Thing and puts him in his room, his anger carries him away to another world inhabited by mysterious wild creatures. Here he learns that home is often the safest place to be and the importance of discipline. This vibrant imagery and sympathetic characters are sure to have your child excited about this read.
2. Mud Puddle
In this story, a mud puddle jumps on Juli-Ann and ruins her new clothing. After her mother washes her clothes and cleans her off, the mud puddle jumps on her again. When she has had enough she goes after the puddle with bars of soap. This book has fun and silly illustrations that give personality to the mud puddle while showing children that some messes are unavoidable.
3. Goodnight Moon
This classic is one of the most widely known bedtime stories of all time. It has iconic illustrations and quirky vocabulary that is fun and playful yet profoundly heartwarming and relaxing. This book is a beautiful addition to a nighttime routine that your child will be able to memorize.
4. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Dr. Suess arguably revolutionized the bedtime story with his whimsical worlds and unforgettable characters. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is short and sweet, which makes it perfect for before bed. It shows wonderfully imaginative examples of opposites, rhymes, and counting. The smooth read will hold your child’s focus while making them giggle.
5. James and The Giant Peach
After being forced to live with his terrible aunts, James spills magical crystals on a dead peach tree, which then grows to an enormous size. With the help of some insects, James changes the course of his life. This book addresses some difficult topics but is an excellent read for children six and up. Exposure to these lessons helps children to tackle real-life problems better.
6. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
This is an excellent story for teaching your child about sharing, friendship, and fear. This book focuses on a small mouse that is trying to protect its red ripe strawberry from a big hungry bear. This book shows the mouse attempting to keep the strawberry safe in many different ways. At one point, the reader will also have a part to play, creating a participatory experience.
7. The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo tells the tale of a young mouse who is exploring the dark woods alone at night when he encounters some animals that want to eat him. He scares these animals away by telling them about the Gruffalo. However, still lurking out in the woods, there really is a Gruffalo. The illustrations and clever plot points are fun and imaginative.
8. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
You will easily recognize this book on any shelf with its unique illustrations and bold colors. The rhyme follows animals as they describe the animal on the next page. Before you turn the page, you can ask your child to guess what the animal is. This book is a great teaching tool and sleepy read.
9. Guess How Much I Love You
This charming and heartwarming story is about a bunny rabbit that is attempting to tell his parents how much he loves them. The parents and the bunny continually express affection in different ways throughout the book until they eventually fall asleep.
10. Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH
A dazzling display of narrative fiction, Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH is a book you can read with your child over a long period. It tells the story of Mrs. Frisby, a field mouse who must relocate her family. She meets the Rats of NIMH, and an adventure ensues that will have your child itching for the next page.
The best fairy tales are the ones that children remember forever. Reading with your child gives you and them a chance to converse about topics that are outside your immediate home life. This outlet for explorative thought will help your child develop better coping mechanisms and understandings of broader concepts later on in life. Whether you are looking for the best fables or a light read, these books are a great place to start.