My daughter never sleeps without a bedtime story. She started watching Disney Junior channel when she was two and a half years old. All Disney programs were in English language, I’m not really sure if she’s getting it, so to help her understand, I started telling her bedtime stories based from the cartoon movies she’s watching, fairy tales, fables and bible stories. Soon it became a little ritual, a bonding activity for us. It also sort of helped me too to sleep at night.
I can see the effect of telling bedtime stories to my kid. She mimics and responds on what she watches on Disney Junior channel. It feeds her imagination too. Im also hearing her telling the same stories to our nanny, she’s telling it in mix Tagalog (Filipino) and English language, it’s the same exact way I’m telling stories to her. She also has the same hand movements and facial expressions and all. She still sounds a bit confusing, but the thought is there, at least I know that she understands it.
I also often see her building her own castle with our blankets and pillows, talking by herself, sneaking into my make-up purse and putting some of my red lipstick, wearing her princess outfit with matching crown ( my headband placed upside down ), pretending to be Rapunzel, from the “Tangled” movie. Sometimes, she puts her legs inside the pillow case, wags it like Ariel from “Little Mermaid”, singing that verse “Part of your world” on top of her lungs.
When we were just kids, my brother and I used to bug our dad to tell us a bedtime story before we sleep. I can still remember a few of his stories; mostly it’s about fables and the cartoon movies we used to watch in those days and when dad runs out of stories to tell, he makes one in an instant. He was pretty much convincing and funny too. He’s a great storyteller. And I learned from him. Here’s a few of his storytelling techniques:
Dim the lights and turn off the TV. You expect your child to be asleep before you reach the end of your bedtime story, so set the mood by dimming the lights and turning off the TV. Get comfy and relax. Massage your kid’s eyebrows or earlobes or head as you tell your bedtime story so that she can relax while he/she listens to your story and so that she/he can sleep faster.
Prop it up. Use her favorite stuffed toy. Make her favorite teddy bear the star!
Animate your voice. It adds humor to your storytelling. Don’t forget sound effects.
Use fillers. Running out of words? Use these fillers, “Once upon a time..”, “And because of that..”, “Since then..”, “And every day..”, “Until finally..”, “Until one day..”.
Don’t talk too fast. Remember that you’re trying to tell a bedtime story here, you’re not the auctioneer in “Texas Storage Wars”. Talk slowly so your kid can focus and understand your story, it will make your child sleepy and it will help you sleep too.
Sing a song – If you’re telling stories from your kid’s favorite cartoon movies, try to sing some verse that you can remember from that song. I’m sure you know at least 2 or 3 lines of that song, if you cant remember, just do the humming sound.
Use your imagination – If you’re not really familiar with the story, use your imagination and make one. Look around the room, you have there his/her favorite stuff toys, pick characters from the cartoon movies, dig up from the stories you can still remember as a child and mix it up. Your kid wouldn’t know about it anyway, so be a kid yourself and imagine, be creative.
There you have it. Once you put your kid to sleep. Say a little prayer for your kid, smile, hug and kiss goodnight. Sweet dreams dont let the bed bugs bite!
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