7 Bedtime Story Ideas For Preschoolers

Preschool age is the right time to start a wonderful tradition in your home – bedtime stories. But, if you don't know how to tell a story, then read on for 7 bedtime story ideas for preschoolers.

By Anitha Bennett  • 5 min read

7 Bedtime Story Ideas For Preschoolers

Do you remember the time when, as a child, you pestered your parents or grandparents to tell a bedtime story? And, as you lay down by their side and listened to those stories, you stepped into a world filled with wonders.

Sadly, we are unable to do the same for our children. All the good bedtime stories to tell lie forgotten and untold in our foggy memories. And our children cut off from the world of fantasy.

But, we can change all this. To set the ball rolling, cuddle your child, turn off the lights in the room and settle down comfortably on the bed. Go back into your own childhood and begin narrating what you heard years ago. However, if you are unable to do this, then here are our seven bedtime story ideas for kids to get you going.

1. Your child’s favourite book

Every child has at least one book that he would have gone over again and again. Pick that book as your first bedtime read. Go through the book with your child page by page. Read aloud with expressions. You can ask your child questions like what is it that he likes about the book or which character in the book he likes the most. Be prepared to read the same book over and over every night if your child is especially fond of the story! In no time, you will find your preschooler narrating the story word by word without any prompting!

2. Your favourite book as a child

Introduce your child to your favourite childhood book or character. Read the story out loud and tell your child about the memories that reading the story brings back to you. Your child may or may not take to it but it will help her get a peek into your childhood and help both of you bond better.

3. Books that inspire

The time before falling asleep is a wonderful time to introduce your child to new ideas or values. It could be something you would like him to follow or learn. Pick books that weave values or ideas into a story form and read them aloud. For example, if your child is learning letters of the English alphabet, reinforce with a book that includes the 26 letters. If your child is struggling with potty training, pick a book that deals with a similar storyline. Divert your child’s attention towards the character whose qualities you would like him to focus on, without sounding preachy.

4. Sing-along stories, rhymes and poems

The bedtime story session is not just about reading stories. Include familiar rhymes, poems and sing-along stories for a diverse experience. You can narrate the story in your own words as you sing the rhyme. For example – ‘Baa baa black sheep’ can be sung after you tell your little one about a boy who asked a sheep for some wool. Make sure you don’t make the session too lively, as it may disrupt the much-needed calm before bedtime. Finish off with a soothing lullaby if your story session has fired up your child’s imagination.

5. Interactive books

A plethora of interactive books are available in the market – ‘lift-the-flap’ books, books you can smell, books you can feel and even talking books. Introduce these books to your child during the daytime and read them at night if your child has taken a liking to them. These books and stories usually excite kids into action but also make a fun and entertaining bedtime read.

6. Spin-offs

There may be times when you have no reading material at hand. What do you do then? Make your own stories to tell at bedtime. Pick a character and start weaving stories around it. It could be something as simple as day-to-day activities or something totally adventurous. You can even get your child to spin her own story. Suggest a storyline and ask your child to make up the rest of the story, or create your own story, with your child adding to it in-between. You can also record or jot down the good stories that you come up with together. To surprise your child, you can put it in a book form with some quirky illustrations!

7. Sequence stories

If you are telling a long story, stop midway, especially in the most interesting bit! Watch with glee as your child begs you for what happens next and eagerly waits for bedtime to come the next day! Long stories to tell at bedtime could make interesting miniseries and mega serials.

Tips on making story time interesting

Your child would listen to a story even when you narrate in monotonous, weary voice. But, is that the way to tell an interesting story? Not at all. Here are a few tips on how to tell a bedtime story in an interesting way:

  • Choose an interesting story: You must have noticed how much your child loves taking on a challenge. This aspect applies to bedtime stories as well. So, your bedtime story should have a goal, a challenge to achieve the goal and a solution to the challenge.
  • Modulate your voice: Changing the pitch of your voice during storytelling can bring out the expressions of various characters. This would certainly make the story seem more interesting to your child.
  • Increase the curiosity quotient: Take your story in an unexpected direction. This creates a sense of curiosity in your child.
  • Pause and involve: A pause during storytelling heightens the sense interest and urgency. So, take a break when you come to critical turning points of your story. And, to stimulate your child’s imagination and involve him more, ask him what he thinks would happen next.

As you get into the habit of telling a bedtime story to your child, you will notice the many positive aspects to it. You will see your child blossoming into an individual who loves to read extensively and narrates with eloquence.

Anitha Bennett is a freelance author who has written books for children from preschool to preteen levels. She also conducts workshops for parents, teachers and children.

Looking for fun ways to keep your preschooler engaged during the pandemic? Check out Little Learners at Home, a home learning programme specifically designed for 3 to 5 year olds by our team of experts.