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Bedtime story-reading on the decline - do you read to your DC at night?

(218 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-May-14 13:23:14

A new poll for the reading charity Booktrust has found that younger parents (aged 16-24) enjoy reading to their children at bedtime far less than previous generations did. Only 28% of younger parents say it's their favourite part of the day, compared to 42% of older parents (aged 55+) - and younger dads in particular lacked confidence in reading aloud to their children.

What do you think - is the bedtime story a vital element of your bedtime routine - the best bit of the day? Or a nice extra, but not an essential part of parenting?

We'd love to hear what you think - and if you're looking for a bit of inspiration, find out which bedtime books are most beloved by Mumsnetters, over here.

makeminea6x Tue 13-May-14 13:26:15

We love doing bedtime stories. My DD (2.2) has always been pretty terrible at drinking milk since she was weaned off the breast so she has half an hour of stories to give her a chance to drink some from her sippy cup.

For us it's essential simply because my DD loves it so much, and so do we.

When she was a baby I didn't really know how to play with her so I read to her - she joined the library at 2 weeks old!

HerrenaHarridan Tue 13-May-14 13:29:48

I wouldn't say it's my favourite part of the day although its definitely on that list.

It's certainly a vital part of the bedtime routine, I think it has a very calming affect and means that we are guaranteed a wee bit of 1 to 1 time

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 13-May-14 13:30:04

DS age 5 has two short stories read to him a night one by me and one by DH. DD age 8 I read chapter books to mainly books that I enjoyed when I was younger and ones that she enjoys. Both is and the children see it as an important time of the day and really happy to continue as long as they want to. I see it also as a quiet time with each that we can have a natter without competition for attention.

MrsCakesPremonition Tue 13-May-14 13:32:00

Yes - we read to DS (age 6) every night.
We used to read to DD too, but now she is 10yo she prefers to read to herself instead. Although sometimes she crashes DS's story, or asks me especially to read to her is she is feeling nostalgic.

But we are old - over 40.

I love reading aloud - doing the silly voices, discovering books that I have never seen before or rereading one I loved in my childhood.

OneStepCloser Tue 13-May-14 13:32:10

We have read with both of ours every night since they were very little, its part of the bed time routine and usually DH does it.

DD is now an adult and loves reading still and DS is 5, in reception, and he reads his book first then has one or two stories on our bed before being tucked into his own. DH loves it, its a special time between them and is a lovely transition between the stress of work and a relaxing evening.

Do I think it helps with reading? Yes without doubt, ds is already a fluent reader, loves stories, understands them, understands some grammer already and expressional reading.

DH and I are older parents I guess (although we dont think so grin) 42 and 52.

Francagoestohollywood Tue 13-May-14 13:33:24

Reading to my dc (and not just bedtime stories) has always been one of my fav parenting activities.

So, yes, reading at bedtime has always been a vital element. Mine are now nearly 12 and nearly 10, so we usually read our books on the same bed before they go to sleep. But I want to read them a book over the summer holidays, perhaps something a bit more compòlicated that needs to be talked about together.

Francagoestohollywood Tue 13-May-14 13:34:29

Oh gosh yes, we are old too, 43

Andcake Tue 13-May-14 13:35:22

Absolutely - ds is just under 2 and he chooses from a range of bedtime books.
Tbh might find mumsnet is not really representative wink

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 13-May-14 13:36:47

Forgot to add we are old 44 & 51

BlueEyeshadow Tue 13-May-14 13:39:30

We love bedtime stories, but don't always have one. Sometimes we run out of time, and sometime DS1 would rather play a game (board game or cards) instead. I think it's really important to share stories together though, even if I might occasionally get sick of certain books!

EverythingCounts Tue 13-May-14 13:44:31

Yes, we always do a bedtime story. As andcake says I'm not sure MN will be very representative here. We are also on he more mature side and DH and I are both big readers ourselves - if you're not, I imagine you see things differently.

IShallCallYouSquishy Tue 13-May-14 13:47:01

We read to 2 yo DD every night as part of her bedtime routine. She loves it and we love the sleepy quiet snuggles.

We are reading all throughout the day too. She has unlimited access to all her books and will regularly get one and plonk herself down on my knee or we will look at one while I'm BFing DS.

I always loved books as a child so hoping she will be the same.

RaspberryBeret34 Tue 13-May-14 13:50:48

Love bedtime stories now DS is 2 (from when he was about 22 months). Before that I bf'd him to sleep and that was all he wanted really and he'd be too tired so we just read books in the daytime instead. My ex isn't much of a reader himself and not that confident reading aloud but he reads DS bedtime stories which I really like as I think it's important for DS to feel that Daddy likes reading too.

Atbeckandcall Tue 13-May-14 13:53:56

I'm 29 as is my DH. We have a 3.5 year old dd.

She has been read to every night since tiny. She gets two stories and every month we get new books (from anywhere and everywhere).

She also loves reading in the daytime whilst having breakfast so I tend to so those ones. DH does bedtimes ones when he's there, he's been told numerous times that he should have been a CBeebies presenter because he really gets into it and every character has a different voice!

Dd can recite quite a few JD and AS books from memory as well as a fee others.

IMO reading to children is crucial. It teaches them to recognises letters from numbers, how to be patient (having to finish a page before we see the xyz). Helps their imagination to develop and create their own characters personalities.

Book are magic!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-May-14 13:57:52

I have read to all our dc, starting 22 years ago now.
Its nice at bedtime but other times of the day are just as good.
I think its sad that some young people say they lack the confidence because with help and support they could gain in confidence.
Yes, it is important because it helps to establish a lifetime commitment to reading and models the importance.

OsMalleytheCat Tue 13-May-14 14:03:26

I'm young! 23 and read to my DS 7months at bedtime, it is definitely one of my favourite parts of the day, he's all clean and snuggly and fresh out the bath, it's nice to have some time to wind down and cuddle.

OsMalleytheCat Tue 13-May-14 14:05:56

Should add DH is 30 and struggles with dyslexia but I really try to encourage him to read to DC so DC gets to see both parents reading.

zzzzz Tue 13-May-14 14:08:49

Nope. The cuddles are essential, the reading is nice. Despite this all of my children read well and love books. They all read to themselves before they sleep though.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Tue 13-May-14 14:14:07

I enjoy reading at bedtime and always do it, but I wouldn't say it's my favourite part of the day!

ErrolTheDragon Tue 13-May-14 14:14:13

One of the best bits of the day, for sure - MrsCake's last line says it.

It's important when they're little, but also when they're older - especially if they are reluctant readers.

Reading to my DD seems to have finally petered out (though maybe it will remerge in the hols).... there's a pair of my reading glasses (yup, older, 53 grin) and a half-read book on her bedside table. She's 15 some of you may have a few years to look forward to yet!

Loobyloo893 Tue 13-May-14 14:18:32

DH and I read to our 2yo son every night. It's definitely one of my favourite parts of the day. DS loves books and would get really upset if we missed story time. I've read to him every night since before he was born.
I'm 28.

bubbles3563 Tue 13-May-14 14:19:19

I was raised reading lots of books, and my 2yo has a massive collection of books already. At the moment we're reading The Cat In The Hat every bed time, along with a host of others. We also often have story time in the middle of the day, where she will just bring me book after book after book to read. I love it as much as she does!

I think it's important to read with children; friends who are primary school teachers have told me they can see a difference between children who read at home and those who don't. I think reading helps not just with literacy but with things like grammar and punctuation, as well as concentration.

My daughter often sees me reading too, which I think is a good thing.

SpudThePirate Tue 13-May-14 14:25:05

I'm 23 and DP is 24 and we've been reading to our DS (3) since he was about 6months. Its a really nice time to spend together but I wouldn't call it my favourite. Its a very quiet relaxing time and my favourite times are ones when we are laughing and playing together. I definatly enjoy it though.

AgentSchraeder Tue 13-May-14 14:25:55

I had dd at 23 and have read to her every day and night since she was 6mo. She loves it and so do I. She's not reading herself yet (almost 3yo) but I think being read to had a very positive effect on her speech which has always been relatively advanced.

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