The Magic of Bedtime Stories
Updated: Aug 20
“When a child is born, the first thing he or she requires is safety and love,” says Salman Rushdie in his Masterclass on Storytelling. “And the next thing the child asks for is: Tell me a story.”
Last night, my daughter had one of her moods. She’s nearly nine, and I suspect these things will only get more complicated as she gets older.
“How about a story?” I said, because I could not think of anything better, and was not in the mood to lecture.
We are currently going through the original “Wizard of Oz” by Frank Baum. Although she knows the story and how it ends, she still enjoys hearing the chapters read. And I like the vintage art between its pages.
We laughed over the silly lion and scarecrow conversation, and soon she forgot her bad mood, drifting away into a world of magical forests and loveable beasts.
Telling a bedtime story is an act of love, time, and attention. That’s what makes it so magical for children. Knowing that, for a few minutes, they are the sole focus of their parent. Nothing exists in the world but them, and this story, this safe and welcoming bridge to bedtime.
There are also many positive benefits to reading with your kids before bedtime, such as:
· Increased vocabulary
· Heightened awareness of the world
· Language development
· Keeps their imagination alive
· Encourages conversation, poses questions
But bedtime stories aren’t just for kids. The New York Times recently ran a story that included Breethe, a relaxation app I am happy to be narrating for this year:
Across the board, travel stories tend to be the most popular — especially train journeys. Their descriptive detail, sense of place, existence in the present moment and the occasional educational components help many listeners get out of their heads. Since the pandemic started, travel bedtime stories have been appeasing the FOMO in some people.
(--Hillary Richard for the NY Times)
In the mornings, when the kids are off to school with their father, I often remain in bed—it’s become my workspace. For in those in-between hours—not quite dreaming, not quite awake, the best words for sleeping seem to come.
How would you like to listen to some Sleep Stories (written by yours truly) as you relax tonight?
Here are some travel tales to whisk you away to other worlds as you prepare for rest...
Narrated by Lara Lloyd for Soothing Pod
Slow Train to Prague
Narrated by Chris Harris-Beechey
A Wine Lover’s Walk
Narrated by David Vickery
...these are just a taster, listen to more on Soothing Pod.
Enjoy, and happy dreaming!