When it comes time to lay your infant or toddler down for bed, it isn’t always a quick and easy process. To make it a little easier, turn to books. Bedtime stories can be a great way to soothe your little one’s mind and lull them into falling asleep. Plus, reading stories to your kids can help form a special bond and get them interested in reading while they’re still young.
The trouble is there are so many stories and baby books to choose from! To help make it a little easier to find some bedtime stories you’ll love, we’re going to introduce you to some of our favorites and tell you where you can find lots of stories to browse through.
When Can You Start Reading Bedtime Stories for Babies?
Your little one is never too young to enjoy a good story! Sure, your infant might not remember the story or be able to comprehend all the words, but they will still reap the benefits of bonding with their parents. When you choose a book, think about your baby’s age.
If you’re hoping to engage your baby rather than lull them to sleep, choose a story with large and bright illustrations. You can also look for books that include interactive elements such as patches of different textures, mirrors, and built-in finger puppets. These items help your baby explore their world using senses including touch and sight.
As your baby grows a bit older, look for stories that include easy-to-understand words that are present in their everyday life. Think of words like “mama,” “daddy,” and “doggy.” When your kids are starting to understand what happens in a story, it’s a good idea to stick with stories with one or two characters so your little ones can easily follow along.
Once you have a toddler on your hands, you can branch out to toddler books that include more difficult words and a few characters. But don’t be surprised if they still want you to read some of their original favorites.
If you’re looking for stories to help you form a bedtime routine, you don’t have to worry about the text as much. Returning to the same few stories every night will help both you and your baby settle into a calming nighttime routine. Stories are also great for putting your little one back to bed after they’ve woke up at night.
What Are the Benefits of Reading Stories?
There are plenty of benefits of reading to and with your children, no matter how old they are!
- Stories help parents and children bond.
- Reading to your little one gets them interested in reading at an early age.
- It introduces them to a variety of words and images.
- Reading together will help your little one get excited about books and story-time.
Find Bedtime Stories Online
There’s something magical about turning the pages of a book and looking at printed illustrations, but you might get tired of all the books you have at home. If you want to explore some new stories, you’re in luck! There are thousands of free bedtime stories available online.
Storyberries tops the list for the best free bedtime stories. Their website contains hundreds of stories that you can filter by age, length, category, and topic. Plus, they have a special section dedicated to bedtime stories.
If you’re looking for classic stories like The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, and Aladdin, check out Stories to Grow By. They provide lots of free stories that have been enjoyed by generations of children. They also provide audiobooks of classic stories if you don’t have the time to read to your children, or just prefer to listen along.
Favorite Bedtime Stories
When it comes to physical books, you probably already have some favorites. If you’re looking to add some more to your list of bedtime stories, check out these books. Most of them revolve around getting ready for bed and falling asleep, so they’re perfect for sleepy moments.
This classic bedtime story is written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. It follows a cute little bunny as it says good night to all the things in its world. It’s perfect for helping children settle down and understand it’s time for bed.
A Book of Sleep
Written and illustrated by Il Sung Na, this story follows an owl as it watches other animals get ready for a night’s sleep. This book’s lack of words and beautiful, soothing illustrations are perfect for little ones getting ready for bed. As your baby grows older, they can search for the owl hidden on each page.
Good Night Gorilla
Written and Illustrated by Peggy Rathman, this story doesn’t have many words but is filled with cute illustrations. It follows a gorilla as he travels around a zoo during bedtime. Since it’s sparse in words, it allows you to make up parts of the story as you go along.
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Author and illustrator Anna Dewdney has created a beautiful bedtime book filled with sweet llamas and rhymes. If your little one falls in love with the llama, Dewdney has other books featuring these cute creatures.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
While many children’s books feature animal characters, this book proves that there are other options. It follows machines in a construction site as they turn off their engines and prepare for bed. Author Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrator Tom Lictenheld have created a modern classic with this book.
Read Your Little One to Sleep
Now that you know that it’s never too early to start reading to your little one, it’s time to find some favorite stories and get reading! Remember that reading at bedtime can also help you fall into a routine that makes putting your baby to sleep a bit easier. Once you find a favorite story, don’t hesitate to share it with other parents!