Spending quality time reading stories, just before dozing off to bed at night, may be one of the most special parts of the day for both kids and parents. But the benefits of reading bedtime stories before bed adds substantially to parents and their children feeling close and comfortable before drifting off to sleep.
Parents might not realize it, but the time kids spend reading with Mom or Dad at night has a lasting impact in the development of a child’s brain. As the stories unfold from page to page, children are learning how to think logically, while also learning new words and using their imaginations. There are numerous stories, both peaceful and adventurous, that make for pleasant bedtime reading in our list below.
Some of the more popular bedtime stories are sure to become favorites that will help children sleep well and dream sweet dreams. Of course, a cozy mattress (check out the best mattresses for kids) and pillow won’t hurt those sweet dreams, either!
Goodnight Moon is a classic book that even the youngest kids will enjoy. Margaret Wise Brown is the author of this book, which was published in 1947. Parents with children who struggle to go to sleep at night will understand the little bunny in this story, who spends most of this nighttime tale saying goodnight to everything in his bedroom, from pictures to toys to a little mouse, as he slowly drifts off.
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The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was written in 1893 and is an old British story all about a little rabbit named Peter, who disobeys his mother and goes into the garden of Mr. McGregor. When Mr. McGregor sees him and chases him, Peter narrowly escapes back to his mother. His mother tucks him into bed, and then rewards his obedient sisters a delicious meal.
Cinderella is a timelessly classic tale about a young girl who is treated maliciously by her step-family, but eventually lives happily ever after. While most people probably know the story from the Disney movie, this fairy tale dates back to the 1600s. Cinderella struggled with her evil stepmother and stepsisters, finding comfort in her minuscule mouse friends and eventually her fairy godmother. After meeting the prince at the ball, Cinderella finds her true love at last.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar was written by Eric Carle and published in 1969, and the pages of this book are filled with bright pictures that show the caterpillar eating and growing as each day passes. The little caterpillar begins the story very tiny, but as he eats apples, pears, plums, strawberries, oranges, and then a huge meal of cake, ice cream, cheese, pie, salami, pickles, and more, he grows and grows. Eventually, the caterpillar gets a stomach ache and eats a leaf to feel better. Then, he spins a cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly in the end.
Where the Wild Things Are
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, was published in 1963. In this story, a little boy named Max is naughty, so he is sent to bed without eating. That night, Max’s bedroom changes and he sails across the water to an island where the wild things live. Max is so bold that the wild things make him their king, where Max and the Wild Things proceed dance and play. But then Max decides that he misses his home, so he sails back home and finds a warm supper waiting for him in his bedroom.
More Popular Stories
- Cinderella Fairy Tale
- The Story of Rapunzel
- 15 Classic Children’s Books That Started as Bedtime Stories
- Beauty and the Beast
Benefits Of Reading Bedtime Stories
- Reading With Children (PDF)
- Wild About Books (PDF)
- Benefits of Reading to Your Child
- Once Upon a Social Story: Advantages, Writing, and Presenting Social Stories
- Doctor’s Orders: Read Early and Often
- The Benefits of Reading to Children: From Prenatal to Adolescence
Additional Reading Lists
- The 52 Best Bedtime Stories of All Time
- Top Five Bedtime Stories for Kids
- Three Classic Bedtime Stories to Read to Your Kids
- 100 Children’s Books that Belong in Every Library (PDF)
- Sweet-Dream Reads: The 11 Best Bedtime Books
- Ten Most Popular Bedtime Stories for Kids
- 50 Famous Stories Retold (PDF)
- Children’s Books to Read Aloud
- Best Before-Bed Read-Alouds
- The Best Bedtime Stories for 9- to 12-Year-Olds
- 50 Books Every Parent Should Read to Their Child
- 50 Childhood Favourites: Picture Books from the ’80s and ’90s
- 25 Top Chapter Books to Read With Your Child at Bedtime
- 100 Great Children’s Books (PDF)
- Top 100 Children’s Picturebooks of All Time
- Children’s Classics
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