Could bedtime reading improve a child’s imagination?

Could bedtime reading improve a child’s imagination?

Our imaginations are a wonderful thing – we can create any world or scenario in our minds, and envisage ourselves in a variety of places or positions.

They can also be useful when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies”, said the Beatles famously, and be honest – when counting sheep isn’t cutting it, how often have you laid in bed and imagined a similar scene?

Imagination can take you anywhere you wish, and it’s more often than not what sparks our dreams while we’re snoozing.

However, in today’s highly digital world, with children in particular spending more time than ever gazing at screens, the ‘excessive’ time spent could be impacting on their imaginations, according to nursery workers.

A recent poll conducted by Day Nurseries found that almost two-thirds of childcare professionals believe excessive screen time is making children less creative and imaginative, with many also admitting that not a lot of children have ‘imaginary friends’ anymore.

This is worrying news, as a sense of imagination can benefit a child’s development right through to adulthood – and imaginary friends can also be a great comfort for getting to sleep too.

Are bedtime stories beneficial? 

A good way of boosting your imagination is reading. However nowadays, it can seem like books are overlooked at bedtime in favour of TVs, smartphones and tablets.

In fact, two thirds of parents admitted that their children have never even heard of most children’s classic books in a poll earlier this year, but despite this – Silentnight’s resident sleep therapist, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, still believes that reading is one of the best ways to wind down and boost relaxation and creativity before bed.

Dr Nerina says that 24 minutes and six seconds is the exact amount of time to spend with a book each night, rather than staring at a phone, computer, or TV screen for too long. 

She said: “The nation should be reigniting their reading habits and using this as a relaxing way to fall asleep. Reading a book for exactly 24 minutes and six seconds before you go to bed can really help you to slide effortlessly into a deep, restorative sleep.”

When thinking of children in particular, Dr Nerina recommends teaching them the ‘bath, book, bed’ routine. This helps children feel sleepy, relaxed and safe when they fall asleep, which then helps them to be more engaged, alert, and creative the next day.

We’re not saying to completely stop using your smartphone – but in terms of your sleep routine, it might be worthwhile looking at alternative ways to spend that last hour before the lights go out.

Are you worried about the time your child spends staring at a  screen right before bed? Why not try experimenting with a fresh routine – but remember there is no right and wrong!

Top 10 bedtime stories for kids:

  1. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson (1999)

    2. Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne  (1926)

    3. The BFG by Roald Dahl (1982)

    4. The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson (2004)

    5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)

    6. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)

    7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969)

    8. The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr (1968)

    9. Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)

    10. Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl (1970)


Any of these sparked your imagination? Get in touch on our social media pages and let us know.

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