Mother and Baby

Are Bedtime Stories A Fading Tradition?

Do you love reading a bedtime story with your little ones? According to new research, this family tradition is in decline amongst younger parents – and lack of reading confidence may be the reason.

Young parents, aged 16-24, are reading less to their children than older generations, according to a poll of over 1,000 parents carried out by the reading charity Booktrust.

Only 28% of younger parents voting reading a bedtime story to their pre-school child as their favourite part of their day, compared to 42% of older parents.

According the the survey results, the trend is even more obvious when it comes to dads under 25 – only 19% of those surveyed said they enjoyed the bedtime read with their children, compared to a whopping 78% of older fathers, aged 55 and over.

Could a lack of reading confidence be the reason?

According to Booktrust Chief Executive, Viv Bird, research shows that a lack of confidence is the issue for many parents, especially younger dads. The poll revealed that dads lacking in reading confidence the most, with 75% admitting it was the case.National Storytelling Laureate Katrice Horsley, working with Booktrust to run a pilot scheme of Get Dads Reading Hour storytelling workshops, added: 'Most new parents experience a lack of confidence around lots of parenting issues, including reading, and impassioning dad’s about creating as well as reading stories is important.'

Want more advice on creating a good bedtime routine? Click here.

Viv added that the findings are ‘worrying’ because evidence published in the government’s Child Poverty Strategy in February suggests that reading to your child is a crucial part of creating a good home learning environment, reducing the likelihood of a poor child becoming a poor adult.

'If parents can manage to share a bedtime story every day, their child will be 12 months ahead when they start school.  Even reading to them two or three times a week gives them a six-month head start,' he said.

Booktrust’s flagship programme, Bookstart, is all about giving that confidence to parents, giving them packs full of advice as well as free books for their children. 'The more we can encourage dads, as well as mums, to read bedtime stories, the more likely it is we’ll reach that goal of children being read to every day,' he added.

As part of its campaign to encourage more dads to read, Booktrust is holding the UK’s first Get Dads Reading Hour on Thursday 15th May 6-7pm asking Dads across the nation to pick-up a book and share a story with their child before bed.

Despite the decline in bedtime reading, parents still see it as an important part of their pre-school child’s development, finding creative ways to overcome confidence issues when reading aloud. Using funny voices (35%) topped the poll for ways to overcome confidence issues, followed by reading every day (20%) and asking grandparents for tips (17%).

What's your toddler's favourite bedtime story? Let us know below!


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