Reading together at bedtime is one of the most magical moments in a little one’s day. When regular grownups become storytelling superheroes. It’s why we make impossibly personalised children’s books – to make those moments overflow with magic and wonder.
But sometimes – just sometimes – it can be difficult to get into full storytelling mode. Because work has a way of tiring you out (what is that about anyway?). Because life takes over. Or because you can only be so excited about reading the same book for the hundred millionth, gazillionth time in a row.
So here are seven simple ways to put the magic firmly back into storytimes. Try just one tonight, and see how it transforms bedtime for you and your young dreamer.
1. Stop them in their tracks by getting it wrong
If this is the umpteenth time you’re reading a book, your kid has probably memorised it back to front by now. Kudos to them. Next time, mess with what they know by making a ‘mistake’. Say the wrong character’s name or veer conspicuously away from the plot, then give them a moment to correct you. It’ll really get them thinking!
2. Dial up the sound effects as if your life depended on it
Wooosh! Splatch! Kazam! Brrppp! To bring the words off the page and make them larger-than-life, you could keep your invisible trumpet to hand. Or loudly slosh around a bottle of water for realistic-sounding waves. These sound effects will make your little one feel like they’re inside the story.
3. Make it an Oscar-worthy performance with voices
Some might go as far as suggesting vocal warm-ups before settling down for storytime. It’s not essential, but certainly won’t do any harm. So that once you come to a big booming bear, you can really go for it. Roooaaarr!
4. Dress for the occasion
Sure, pyjamas at bedtime might be the sensible option. But if your little one is currently obsessed with their book about bananas, maybe it’s time to dust off that banana suit you thought you would never have reason to wear again.
5. Double-down on the detail in the illustrations
Look no further than the illustrations for some inspiration. Before turning over to the next page, point out a small detail from the page you’re already on – a detail that has nothing to do with the main story. Ask your kid questions about it to spark curiosity and together, you could create a marvellous sub-plot within a plot.
6. Invite the teddies and soft toys along for the show
There’s nothing like a packed auditorium to add a sense of atmosphere and excitement. Surround yourselves with a captive audience of teddies and toys. And if you find they want to get involved in the action by playing some of the characters, all the better!
7. Put your little one IN the story
Imagine seeing your own name in your very own story. Our personalised books are just that. So your little one can see themselves reflected in the stories they read. What could be more magical?Find out more