Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the best storyteller of them all? For kids, the answer to that question is probably going to be Mom or Dad – but we know all too well how difficult it can feel to tell your child bedtime stories if it isn't something you're accustomed to. While some parents are simply gifted with the ability to craft a fun, compelling, and relaxing bedtime story out of nowhere, for others, the task can feel like translating ancient Greek. That can be a bummer, as studies have shown that telling stories to children can improve their oral language abilities. At 5 Little Monkeys, we're here to help you through the journey of parenting by helping your whole family get better sleep – and yes, that includes providing tips on how to tell the best bedtime stories.
Tips for Telling Bedtime Stories
You've got characters, you've got setting, you've got plot, but somehow, the magic just isn't there. If you're struggling to weave a spellbinding bedtime story, try incorporating a few of these age-old storytelling tactics into your nightly narrative:
- It's Ok to Be Formulaic: If you're struggling to construct a good bedtime story, it's best to get back to basics. Our advice is to rely on one of the oldest, most common narrative forms in the history of stories: the Hero's Journey. There are actually books written on this subject, but essentially the Hero's Journey model involves a hero who is called on an adventure, successfully faces a major challenge, and returns a changed and better person. It's an age-old format that'll never let you down, and it brings a feeling of narrative completion that will leave your little one satisfied and ready for bed. You can read up on the format by checking out this helpful explainer.
- Get Concrete: One of the biggest mistakes that most beginning writers (and storytellers) make is to speak in abstract instead of concrete language – in other words, to tell the audience what's happening instead of showing it. When telling the story, keep your language as concrete as you can, describing physical details of what's happening with plenty of descriptive adjectives. For example, instead of saying something like "Lucy felt very happy," give it punch with a concrete detail: "Lucy cracked a smile that beamed from ear to ear."
- Have Your Child Participate: If you're really at a loss, you can always break the fourth wall. Getting your child involved in the story can make things more interesting and provide more creative fodder for you to weave the tail. Instead of coming up with everything yourself, ask your child for suggestions. Where does Lucy go next? What does she find there?
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We hope these tips help you weave a story that leaves your child spellbound, and if you're looking for a new kids bed to tell those stories in, we're here to help. The 5 Little Monkeys bed is built from the ground up to give kids' growing bodies proper support for healthy, truly restful sleep. Try it for yourself and see the difference that wonderful sleep can make in the life of a family: take our 100-night rest test risk-free today.