10 Best Bedtime Stories to Read to Your Child

Bedtime stories about faraway lands and magical creatures can have a lasting effect on children. Here is a selection of tales to go to bed with, that will make sleep time a pleasant experience

By Sahana Charan

10 Best Bedtime Stories to Read to Your Child

There is a saying that goes, “It is very important to read a bedtime story…how else would your dreams know where to begin?”

Bedtime stories are like that -- they take the child to an enchanting world that they would love to conjure up in their dreams and which would ensure they get a peaceful night’s sleep. The ritual of reading or narrating a story before snuggling into bed can be a soothing experience for the little one, a time when she forgets all about the day’s travails and sinks into the comfort of the parent’s voice reading to her.

Listening to or reading bedtime stories can have innumerable benefits. Apart from the fact that it helps children develop a love of reading, it also expands their imagination and helps them to think creatively. Research has shown that small children who are regularly read stories by parents at bedtime, show improved language and vocabulary. Most of us fondly remember the time spent with a parent reading books just before going to sleep. As a parent, it is a great way for you to bond with your child and spend quality time with her.

We looked for some of the best bedtime stories that you can be read to children and came up with this comprehensive list. Here goes : 

Ages 0-5 years

1.The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep -- This is the second book by Swedish writer and behavioural scientist Carl-Johan Forssén in his hugely popular bedtime series that both parents and children love. The Little Elephant who wants to fall asleep is an enthralling tale about a cute, little elephant called Ellen who is on a journey through a magical forest. Along the way, Ellen meets fantastical characters and each of these experiences help children relax, lulling them towards sleep.

2.Spot Loves Bedtime -- This is a great bedtime book to read to tiny tots and toddlers. The ‘Spot the Dog’ series are particularly a favourite with small children and this story about the lovable puppy is also bound to be a hit with the little ones. Spot is a yellow-coloured puppy who has a brown spot on each side of his body. The other characters of the Spot series include his mother Sally, father Sam and sister Susie, apart from a host of other friends. In this sleep time story, Spot is getting ready to snuggle into his bed when he realises that he cannot find his teddy. It is a feel-good story that will bring a calming effect to your child.

Ages 3-5 years

3.The Marvellous Moon Map -- Stories of travel and adventure always strike a chord with children, especially when there are animals in the story. This is an enchanting tale of Mouse who ventures into the woods, to look for the moon. He is armed with his marvellous map but then he loses his way. As it gets dark, his friend Bear gets worried. The tale touches upon the concept of true friendship and has some lovely illustrations accompanying the story.

4.Mother Goose’s Pajama Party -- From the title it is obvious that all the characters in the story have gathered to have fun at a slumber party. The tale has all the timeless nursery rhyme characters that children have learnt about for ages -- Little Bo-Peep, Georgie Porgie, Miss Muffet, the Cow that jumped over the moon and many more. They are all march towards Mother Goose’s house, where they will be greeted with enchanting stories. A fun read, which is perfect for slumber time.

5.The Little Book of Train Stories -- This delightful collection of stories about a small town which has a quaint railway station and people living on farms, can get any child hooked. The book has adorable drawings and short stories that are particularly meant for young children who are just beginning to read. Your child would want to read it again and again during bedtime and what’s more, it even comes with a narration CD with interesting sound effects.

6.Where the Wild Things Are -- This all-time children’s classic by Maurice Sendak can never go out of fashion. A great bedtime read for children of all ages, it is not just an adventure story but touches upon many different themes. Little boy Max makes mischief and is sent to bed by his mother without supper. In the night Max gets transported into a magical place where there are many wild things. The tale also indicates parental love and is a great book to bond with your child. 

Here is an interesting video that tells you how to set a bedtime routine for your child:

Ages 6-8 years

7.Fun in Devlok Omnibus -- His books on Gods and Goddesses and those explaining mythological concepts have enthralled us for long. Writer Devdutt Pattanaik’s stories now extend to children in this unique and entertaining children’s book. In the Fun in Devlok omnibus, he answers curious questions about mythology in a simple and fun way, through lively stories that will make for apt bedtime reading. The book is beautifully illustrated, which will keep your child engaged and has six interesting tales about a talking cow, about why the river Saraswati disappeared without a trace, the fight between Kama and Yama and so on.

8.Grimm’s Fairy Tales -- There is nothing more enchanting than timeless classics that talk about magical lands, gigantic castles and deep forests. Your child will enjoy getting lost in the beautiful imagery presented in the Brothers Grimm collection of folk and fairy tales. These stories have everything from wondrous creatures to pretty princesses. This collection includes classics such as The Frog-Prince, Hansel and Grettel, Old Sultan and Ashputtel among others.

9.Martin Pippin in the Daisy Field -- A simple story told in a beautiful and engaging manner, this one can be an interesting read for your child before going to bed. It talks about the wandering minstrel, Martin Pippin who encounters six little girls who are playing in a daisy field. He is supposed to send them to bed. But they beg him to tell them stories and he has to also guess their names. So he tells them amazing yarns about interesting characters such as magicians and mermaids.

10. Getting Granny’s Glasses -- Children love Ruskin Bond’s simple but beautifully written tales that give them a glimpse of life in the mountains. This heart-warming tale about a 11-year-old boy Mani and his grandmother who needs new glasses, throws light upon their beautiful relationship. They have a little adventure while going to Mussoorie to get grandma her new pair of glasses and the tale about their journey makes for delightful reading. 

All these beautiful stories have one thing in common -- they tug at your heart and are apt for reading to your children when they are in a relaxed and peaceful space.