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SHEROES
8 Jan 2016 . 5 min read

How bedtime stories help strengthen the bond between a working mother and child


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I have had a crazy day at work. After spending close to 12 hours at work, I am finally home. My four year old is chasing me excitedly around the house. He has so much to tell me and is especially perturbed about a cut on his little finger. Amidst all madness, something is telling me that a migraine attack is on its way. I steal a quick glance at the clock, it’s almost 7.30 pm. My son has school tomorrow and needs to be fed and put to bed. Usually he goes to work with me but off late I have been moving out so much that he has been staying behind.

We somehow get past the dinner, brushing, peeing, and changing routine. We are finally in bed and this is when I heave a sigh of relief. My son has his books ready. He carefully places them in the order of reading.

“Ten books! No way. I am going to read no more than three.”, I say

“Six”, my son bargains

We settle on four.

Three and a half books later I notice my son is fast asleep. I kiss him on his forehead and turn off the lights. I am not feeling tired any longer, and the migraine well is still a few days away, hopefully. This is the best time of the day for me. As a working mother, I am forever guilty. Unlike most mothers, I cannot pick my son from school on all days, I cannot feed him all meals, I can’t even supervise his homework but I tuck him into bed every night with bedtime stories and that is what seems to take away a large chunk of the guilty feeling that looms over me like a dark cloud all day.

As a parent you probably read your kids bedtime stories like I do. What you may not realise is how fundamental this time can be. Sure reading stories goes a long way in your child’s success in creativity and overall development, but this is also when you and your child spend quality time together. It is a time during which you make memories for life, a time you will cherish forever.

On some days when my son is not very sleepy we spend time discussing characters, plots, illustrations at bedtime. Whenever I read to him I make sure I read out the name of the book, author and illustrator, if any. This helps him make a connection with the fact that books are created by real people.

The other day my son asked me a question that further confirmed my belief in the constructiveness of those few minutes of bedtime stories.

We were reading The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson.

“Mum I want to meet the real Gruffalo.”, he said

“Baby there is no real Gruffalo. The author made him up in her head.”, I replied calmly

“And who drew it?”, he asked

“The illustrator did.”, I answered

A few days later while we were taking a stroll, my son had a eureka moment.

“You know butterflies and monkeys can’t talk in reality but Julia Donaldson made them talk in her head and Axel Scheffler drew them in the book Monkey Puzzle.”

Bedtime stories offer an opportunity to establish a daily routine. Parents and children often live extremely busy lives, being there for your child when you start and end the day is a great way to help build a closer bond with your child. This is also a great time to hear the opinions of your child, and for them to hear yours.

Finally more than than anything, I want my son to associate reading with emotional warmth and fun. I have noticed that when we are cozy and comfortable, reading aloud can lower his anxiety levels.

No matter how old the child is, research proves that reading a familiar book while snuggling close to a parent can comfort a child, thus lowering his stress and anxiety levels to help him concentrate better.

Relax and just enjoy the bedtime story with your child and think of what that close time you're spending together will do for your own stress levels!

Goodbye migraine!

***

By Rohini Vij

Rohini Vij is a certified storyteller from The Academy of Storytelling [Affiliated to the International Institute of Storytelling, Tennessee, USA, Scottish Storytelling Centre-UK, University of Skovda, Sweden.] She is a keen orator, actor and voice-over-artist; and has conducted various storytelling sessions in schools across the country. She brings with her experience from diverse fields including Marketing, Corporate Communication, Publishing, Public Relations, Films, Radio and Education.

She runs a learning centre for children (1-15 years) by the name of NutSpace where she uses a proprietary program called Inventive Thinking to help build creative, critical and 21st century skills in children. The program uses stories at its core.

She is the author of the book The Silver Lining, a picture book for children and a step towards incorporating storytelling in the classroom.She has acted in plays staged at the national level and broadcast on TV. She has lent her voice to various documentary, corporate, animation films. She is a certified member of The International Storytelling Network (RIC).

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  • J*****
    Bedtime Stories For Kids: A Child’s Introduction To The Magical World Of Reading https://www.parentcircle.com/article/bedtime-stories-for-kids-a-childs-introduction-to-the-magical-world-of-reading/
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