Sleep anxiety is a common problem among kids, affecting anywhere from 20-33 percent of all children. This issue makes it difficult for them to fall asleep, and can cause them to awaken in the middle of the night, frightened and worried. There are many causes for this, the most common being a simple worry that they won’t be able to sleep, which then becomes self-fulfilling.
The good news is there are several ways you can help kids overcome this problem. Learn how great bedtime stories for children can be a vital tool in easing nighttime anxiety and helping your child drift off to dreamland.
Bedtime Stories for Children
The benefits of bedtime stories for children are proven and cannot be understated. Reading time relaxes and refocuses the mind. It allows the reader and listener to escape into a fantasy world, and helps them to forget or at least put aside the troubles of their daily life. In addition, the time spent reading together will help your child improve vocabulary, critical thinking skills, creativity and listening comprehension, all while they relax and drift off to sleep!
Finally, reading together will create a bond between you and your child, and it will help them to feel relaxed and safe. These feelings are critical to their ability to shut off their mind and close their eyes for the evening.
Creating a Routine
Reading with your child at bedtime helps to create a routine and a habit, which is essential to their ability to sleep. Children thrive on schedules and habits; not only does reading provide all the benefits above, but it becomes a comfort if you spend every night reading together before bed—which helps to relieve stress by providing something they can count on.
Pre- and Post-Story Talking
Talking to your child is another way to encourage them to relax. Before you open the book, talk to them about their day, about anything that’s on their mind and worrying them, and reassure them that it’s okay and everything will be all right. After reading, if your child is still awake, talk to them about the book you’ve read, what they liked about it and what they learned from it.
Be sure to set limits, however. Don’t fall prey to their constant requests that you stay all night. You want them to be able to fall asleep on their own and not rely too much on your presence all the time. Reassure them that you’ll be just in the next room, but that it’s time to close their eyes and sleep now.
If you’re looking for inspiration for great stories to tell your child as they try to sleep, check out one of our great, free interactive online eBooks like “The Blue Fox,” and then explore our website for tons of other resources for developing early literacy skills in kids!