The Benefits of Reading to Our Children

The Benefits of Reading to Our Children

What happens when you read a story to your child?

Storytime. Isn’t it wonderful when we read a story to our children? Not only do we introduce them to a world of magic, but we get those special moments of snuggling up together, relaxing together.

But, did you know that when we read a story to our child, there’s a lot more going on in the brain than them just listening to the words you’re saying out loud.

So, what happens in our brain when we read a story or hear a story?

When we read a story or hear a story we find ourselves drifting into a trance like state. We drift into a magical world of visualisation using our imaginations. And, our imaginations are incredibly powerful!

Benefits of using our imagination!

When we imagine something, the most primitive part of our brain does not know we are using our imagination. Instead, it believes we are present in that very moment in real life, and so, what happens is that it gives us the chemicals we need to help us in whatever situation we are in…

What chemicals might our brain release when we read a story?

If the story promotes fear and anxiety, we will get an influx of chemicals that help us during life threatening situations, like adrenaline, and cortisol. However, if we listen to a story that promotes calm, relaxation and love, we will get an influx of the feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.

How can that help?

When we read a relaxing story before bedtime, it can really help settle us into a really good quality, deep and relaxing sleep. Leaving us feeling wonderfully refreshed the next day. What it can also do is enhance the quality of the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) part of our sleep.

What happens during REM?

During the REM part of our sleep, scientists believe we are busy processing information that we have collected throughout our day and filing it where it needs to be in our brain. The higher the quality of the REM sleep we have, the better we tend to be able to cope with stressful situations.

How much REM do we have?

REM makes up for about 20% of our sleep. However, if you get interrupted sleep, or you don’t get enough sleep. Your REM is impacted which can leave you feeling less able to cope with changing situations the following day.

My child wakes up ALL the time! Help!

If you find interrupted sleep to be a regular part of your nights, then having some good quality bedtime stories to help aid relaxation can really help. Not just helping to get your child to sleep better, but also in improving that quality of the REM sleep, which in turn leaves them feeling more relaxed the following day.

I want to read a story that relaxes my child, where can I find them?

If you struggle to read them yourself, you are welcome to take a look at my YouTube channel. I currently have two stories on there specially written to help with relaxing your child, aiding sleep, and building their self-esteem. The names in the stories are all children whose parents have asked for them to be their favourite character in the story. If you’d like me to write a story with your child’s name in it, you’re welcome to get in touch.

Alternatively, perhaps you would like to read the stories yourself. In that case, there’s a lovely website here, that provides relaxing stories for children that you can read aloud. If I use them with my child-clients, I often use two or three at a time, to help keep the momentum of relaxation going long enough for them to fall into a lovely state of relaxation.

 Top Tips when you read a story that’s meant for relaxation

  • Keep your voice calm
  • Try and establish a rhythm to your words
  • Play some relaxing music in the background
  • Enjoy a snuggle together (it promotes the release of oxytocin)
  • Don’t put any pressure on you or them to ‘do it right’, there is no wrong or right way.


Want to know more about Tania Taylor?

You can find relaxations for adults on my YouTube channel too. I also have a Facebook group where I do a weekly LIVE relaxation for you, after your children have gone to sleep, you can join here. Furthermore, I give a daily Top Tip and daily mantra on my social media channels to help reduce anxiety too. You can find me on the links below:

Facebook Page

Facebook group




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