It’s official, whether or not it’s read by Tom Hardy, bedtime stories are proven to help your tot unwind when it's time for bed.
Research* suggests that while three-quarters of parents consider reading to their children every night as incredibly important, only 19 per cent of them find room for storytime when settling down for the night.
Our busy lives, full with work, socialising, smartphones and TV programmes, have pushed out storytime from our parental routines.
A staggering 71 per cent of parents surveyed said that reading to their children was one of the most stressful things they do.
To help you get back into storytime, and enjoy reading to and with your children, we have rounded up the best bedtime storybooks to read to babies that they will love to listen to while they drift off to sleep, plus 10 top storytime tips from Professor Tanya Byron so you can put the joy of reading back into bedtime with your children for a great bedtime routine.
15 bedtime storybooks for babies and toddlers
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
You were probably read this classic by your own parents, but your little one will love watching the newly hatched caterpillar eat his way through all kinds of food.
This cute bedtime story was chosen by Supernanny Jo Frost as one of her Best Bedtime Reads. This cute classic helps your little one unwind with the bunny, saying goodbye to familiar items one by one.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo is a classic, selling 13.5 million copies across the world. This cute rhyming story will soon become a hit with your tot. Get ready to read it again, and again, and again…
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Another rhyming story, Llama Llama Red Pajama is fun for your little one to listen to, and for you to read aloud. Telling the tale of Baby Llama, who starts to worry as soon as his Mama leaves the room at bedtime, this will (hopefully) bring a more peaceful bedtime, whilst giving you a laugh along the way.
Guess How Much I Love You
The perfect story to accompany a bedtime cuddle, you’ll love the idea behind this cute book, as much as your tot will love hearing it.
Baby Touch: Night-Night
This interactive touch and feel book is ideal for helping babies and young toddlers wind-down before sleep.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Goodnight Pooh
Join Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood in a cosy bedtime story. Young Winnie-the-Pooh fans will love this bright and colourful storybook with sturdy board pages that's ideal for reading and sharing together.
Ten Little Night Stars
Ten Little Night Stars is a sweet bedtime counting book perfect for the youngest readers. One by one, the stars come out in the night sky as cute and cuddly animals go through their bedtime routines.
Night Night Peter Rabbit: Cloth Book
Night Night Peter Rabbit is the softest cosiest bedtime treat for sleepy babies. This delightful cloth book, based on some of Beatrix Potter's best-loved characters, includes two enticingly rustly pages that are sure to hold the attention of every wriggly baby! Get ready to CRUNCH some lettuce with Benjamin Bunny and RUSTLE through the leaves with Squirrel Nutkin.
Sleepyheads (Classic Board Books)
Get ready for bed with this soothing sleepy story. "The sun has set, and sleepyheads all across the land are tucked into their cozy beds. Rabbit is snoozing in the weeds, and Duck is snuggled in the reeds. Bear is nestled in his cave, and Otter is rocking on a wave. But there's one little sleepyhead who's not in his bed. Where, oh where, could he be?" This sweet and snuggly bedtime book with irresistible illustrations by Joyce Wan is the perfect read-aloud story to prepare little ones for a cozy night's sleep.
Can't You Sleep Little Bear?
This sweet tale is about Little Bear, who can't sleep as he's scared of the darkness all around him, so it's down to Big Bear to reassure him, but is he successful in getting Little Bear to sleep? Described as 'the most perfect children's book ever written', this really is a lovely book with beautiful pictures to match.
A classic for babies and toddlers, PEEPO! gives different glimpses into a baby's day as the adults rush about their daily tasks. The rhyming text makes it a fun read and the initial view of each full-page illustration is through a peep-hole in the centre of the page.
Peace At Last
Parents in particular will love reading this best-selling book from Jill Murphy, as they'll be able to relate to Mr Bear who just can't sleep, as his wife keeps snoring, Baby Bear is too excited and there's noises all around the house driving him mad, from the ticking of the clock to the dripping of the tap. So where will Mr Bear get some sleep?
Sarah, Percy and Bill are three baby owls who wake up one night in their hole in a tree to find that their mother has gone. As the darkness closes in around them they begin to feel anxious - will she ever return? Of course she does (after all, this is a children's book) and the three owls bounce up and down with joy. It's a gentle tale to remind little ones that mummy will always return.
We're Going On A Bear Hunt
'We're going on a bear hunt...we're not scared'...If you haven't read the book yourself, then you've at least heard of the story about this family who journeys through the mud, grass and a cave to find a bear.
10 top tips for storytime
Storytime tip 1
If you’re short on time, tell a short poem or pick a book you’re already familiar with.
*Research conducted by Alton Towers