Here at Malty the Blue Tiger, storytime is our favorite time of the day! Whether it is an energizing part of your morning, or a peaceful way to get your little one ready for bed, reading books is a wonderful learning and bonding experience for parents and their
little tigers. 😊 📚
While there's no wrong way to do storytime (the important thing is to just read, after all!), these are our favorite tips to have the best reading experience before bed. Follow them nightly, and storytime might just become your favorite part of the day, too!
Do you have a favorite bedtime story tip that we didn't include? Let us know by using the hashtag #MaltyTheBlueTiger on Instagram or Twitter. Happy reading! 📚
Hugs and roars,
Your Malty Friends 💙
1. Maintain a mini "library."
Organize an area for books that you curate, and exchange them with new books regularly—say, every week or every month. This "mini library" could take the form of a small bookshelf or a book basket. Each night, ask your child to pick the books he or she wants to read from the library. Organizing a selection of books makes it easier to find any given particular book before bedtime, and also allows you to choose which stories you want your child to focus on while giving them the opportunity to select their favorites. If they keep picking the same book each night, don't worry! You'll be able to rotate it out for a new one soon. 😉
2. Make storytime part of an established routine.
Bedtime stories should help ease your child into a calm, comfortable mood, and help them fall asleep quickly after you've finished reading. So, before you flip open your first book, make sure everything is ready for bedtime to eliminate mid- or post-story distractions:
Dim the lights, put a small glass of water by their bed (this prevents water requests later on!), and make sure the electronics in the room are powered down. It's also a good idea not to choose books that require too much participation—like chanting words or clapping hands—before bedtime. Instead, pick soothing reads with gentle themes, and leave the energizing stories for mornings or afternoons.
3. Help them get cozy.
To a young child, bedtime often means separation from you. To make it easier for them, tuck them in with a favorite stuffed animal or blanket before storytime. Once the story is over and it's time for them to doze off, they'll have already gotten cozy with a familiar, comforting object. Having a soft friend also provides a bigger "audience" for the story, and you can ask both your child and their stuffed buddy what they think about certain parts of the book.
4. Play soft, soothing music.
Consider it a bedtime soundtrack. Not only does soft music help relax your child (especially when paired with your soothing bedtime story voice!), but it can also be a nightly signal that it'll be time to sleep soon. Just make sure the music is free of distracting lyrics that may interfere with your storytelling.
5. Explain words that may be new.
As adults, it's easy to forget that common words might be foreign to our little ones. And sometimes, children lose focus during a story if they hear unfamiliar vocabulary words (rather than asking you to explain them). If you come across a new word you suspect your little one hasn't learned yet, explain it in a fun and engaging way. Point to the illustration in the book that's associated with the new vocabulary word, and then ask your child to do the same. It can take a bit of time before your little one remembers brand new words, so even if you've explained a word for the third night in a row, stay patient—they'll get it before you know it! 😊
6. Wonder out loud what's happening.
Children take cues from their parents, and when you take an active approach in wondering what's happening in the story and hypothesizing what will come next, your child will too. For instance, when Malty decides to lie and hide her roar in Malty the Blue Tiger, you might say: "Hmm, it doesn't seem like a very good idea for Malty to lie—what do you think? I wonder what will happen next. Let's see if the yellow birds will know she's lying about how she always says 'Chirp!' like them." You can also point to the illustrations and wonder out loud about activities happening in the artwork that may not be described in the text.
7. Have a short discussion after the story.
Ask your child about the book after reading it to them. This encourages them to think critically about the story and to reflect on their favorite (and least favorite!) parts. Help them summarize the plot if necessary, and ask for their opinion on certain characters. When you do so, your child will know they have an important role in storytime, and that their thoughts about the book are valued and celebrated.
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