Bedtime Story Starters

Reading is a key skill for children to have, and one of the best ways they can develop their language skills is to listen. Reading books can be a great way to share stories and telling stories can have just as much of an impact on your child’s imagination and their ability to develop listening skills. Listening is not the same as reading, but speaking to your child acquaints them with language and helps them identify things like tone and subject matter while also improving their overall vocabulary.

Telling a story before bed is a great way to keep kids calm and still before drifting off to sleep. Some of these tips and tricks can help you keep your child’s attention while also guaranteeing that you tell a story that they’re interested in.

Appeal to an Interest

Whether you make your child’s favorite toy the main character of the tale or make the local park the story’s setting, populating a bedtime story with things that your child is already interested in and familiar with can be a great launching-off point.

Keep it Simple

There’s no need to be elaborate or complicated, and too many twist and turns can actually be distracting. Telling a straightforward story is a better way to keep your kid’s attention. The more engaged they are, the quieter they’ll be and the more likely they’ll be able to follow the story in order to fully listen.

Share Your Favorites

Folk tales, fairy tales, or even sharing remixed versions of your favorite age-appropriate books or movies can make for some interesting storytelling. Have fun with it and see how your kids react. They may become more interested if they know that you’re sharing a story you love with them, and you may be able to bond over a shared love of the same story. If you have a particular folk tale or story that is unique to your familial background, nationality, or ethnicity, story time can also provide your child with an opportunity to connect with their heritage as well.

Try to Teach a Lesson

Parents can also try to take advantage of story time to help encourage kids to learn and grow, or even overcome their fears. If your child is having trouble with potty training, make up a story about another little girl or boy with the same problem who eventually learns to overcome their obstacles. You can even feature some of their favorite characters from TV shows or movies to make the story more appealing to them while also helping them feel more connected to the story and to themselves, too. Personalize it for them! A personalized potty training book will sure jumpstart the process and help them overcome much faster.

Teamwork

If you’re pressed for story ideas, ask kids for suggestions. They may even end up telling you a story they made up themselves! You can also try tag teaming each other, sharing in the storytelling process or taking cues along the way.

Look to History and Mythology

Some folk tales are tried and true, but can get old after a while. Most kids know about Goldilocks or the Three Little Pigs, but they may not know about mythical figures and tales from other, older cultures. Look to Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, and other ancient civilizations for unique tales. You may even find different, and interesting, versions of tales you are already familiar with like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. Many cultures share similar stories and fairy tales, so even looking for different versions of yours or your child’s favorites complete with unique twists and differences can prove to make an interesting bedtime adventure.

Where Do Dreams Come From? personalized bedtime storybook

Your Child is the Star

Personalized books published by KD Novelties can make your child the main character of their own adventure. Insert them into a story you already know they love, or you can make up something that is completely new and exciting. Your child may even have some suggestions and join in on the fun!

 

Fun St. Patrick’s Day Crafts and Activities

St. Patrick’s Day is the first holiday of the spring season, even if it just falls short of the spring equinox on March 20th. Whether you happen to be Irish or not, St. Patrick’s Day is all about what’s good and green, and there are plenty of spring-inspired activities to entertain children this time of year.

Arts and Crafts

There are two things that people associate with St. Patrick’s Day: the color green and shamrocks. Incorporating these features into any art activity can be easy, but to make things a little more fun, you can get creative and make DIY decorations, create your own games or even your own St. Patrick’s Day outfits and props.

Here are some cute crafts you can make easily with items from home:

Coffee Filter Shamrock Materials:

● Coffee filter

● 2 baby food jars

● Water

● Scissors

● Blue and yellow food coloring

● Q-tips

Instructions: Cut the coffee filter out into the shape of a shamrock. Put water in two baby food jars or similar containers. Add yellow food coloring to one jar and blue to the other. Give kids Q-tips or small cotton swabs and let them mix the colors on the coffee filter. You end up with a a cool tye-dyed green shamrock!

Shamrock Wands Materials:

● Green construction paper

● Scissors

● Glue

● Stapler

● Gold glitter

● Green straw

● Ribbon, Green and Gold

Instructions: Cut three heart shapes using the green paper. Then, glue the tips of the three hearts together to form a shamrock when combined. Staple the shamrock in the center to the end of the straw which will form your handle. Decorate the shamrock with gold glitter and other materials as desired. Cut ribbons into 3 foot strands. Gather ribbons together at one end, and staple them to the back of the shamrock at the center so that the ends hang down from the shamrock wand. If desired, cut several tiny shamrocks from the remainder of the paper and staple them along the ribbons as well.

Reading and Research

The word ‘research’ may not always inspire excitement, but learning more about the St. Patrick’s Day holiday and the Irish culture can be interesting, and fun too. There are plenty of traditional songs, poems, and dances that you can discover and try along with your kids. Put on a play or a performance including some of the stuff you and your children have learned!

Reading can also be exciting, too. There are fantastical tales of leprechauns and the luck of the Irish, but there are also plenty of children’s books and reference materials that can teach you and your kids more about the holiday, St. Patrick, and other Irish traditions.

Whip Up Some Treats

Around the end of March, corned beef and cabbage suddenly become very in-demand. Cooking with kids is a great way to introduce them to new foods, but it can also provide you with some memory-making bonding time, too. Whether you decide to make a traditional Irish dinner or simply want to indulge in some Irish Soda Bread, enlist your kids to help you gather ingredients, prepare the meal, and eat it as well!

There is always room for St. Patrick’s Day themed cakes and cookies, as well. Play around with the color green, mint or pistachio flavored treats, and go to town! Cut cookies out into shamrock shapes, add fun St. Patrick’s themed straws, sprinkles, and more. If you want to try and be a bit healthier, you can also try to create a dish like a healthy shake or smoothie using hearty, healthy greens like kale, spinach, and other fruits and veggies to keep with the spirit of the holiday.

Raising a Globally Minded Child

As our world exponentially grows more interconnected and multicultural than ever, it is important that children are raised with an open mind. Depending on where you live and how far you are from a city center, the need to diversify your mindset may not always be at the forefront of your mind, but it can be eye opening just the same. For parents, having a globally minded child can spell success. Not only can it open them up to new concepts and ideas, but it can also help them empathize and connect with others on a more personal level as well.

Becoming more globally aware is beneficial for people of all ages, however some people may not realize just how important world events, world views, and even social interaction and cultural practices can have on their lives.

According to Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, an international careers expert, globally minded children are curious, open-minded and aware of the world around them. This can help open doors to better learning, more effective critical thinking, wider socialization, and a deeper understanding for different kinds of people no matter where they’re from. “Children need to be appreciative and understand each other and not be afraid of each other,” Berdan adds.

Additionally, according to the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages, a survey found that 98% of parents believe that children should learn a second language, as early as possible, 69% agreed that being proficient in a second language is important to a successful career today, 83% percent agreed it would be important in 5 years and 84% percent agreed that having a global mindset is important to careers today.

Evidently, one of the most common ways of raising a globally minded child is to learn a foreign language. If a parent, guardian, or family member speaks another language, or if you are originally from another country with a national language other than English, it is highly recommended that children grow up bilingual. According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, kids who are bilingual experience more positive effects on their intellectual growth, are more flexible thinkers, are sensitive to language and different modes of understanding, while also opening the door to other cultures and even more job opportunities.

Traveling is also a great way to expose your child to different things. Whether you can travel to another country or are only able to make it to a more diverse metropolitan area, introducing your kids to different cultural activities, history, cuisine and other things can help to open their minds and inspire their curiosity. Exposing children to diverse cultures from an early age can be incredibly beneficial and it can open their minds up as they grow older, leaving little room for prejudice or preemptive judgment since they will be more familiar with lifestyles and customs that are different from their own.

Reading is another great way to promote exposure, especially if you are unable to travel. Reading allows you to explore and discover other places, cultures, and languages from the comfort of your own home. For children, however, this can be extra beneficial since it can help inspire a more general love of reading and learning as well. But books are special for other reasons, too. Books, especially fiction, can place kids in someone else’s shoes, allowing them not only the opportunity for exposure, but providing them with a more intimate glimpse into the life and culture of someone else.

Getting involved with your own community is important, too. Thinking big also demands that you think on a smaller scale as well. Exposing your child to compassion, community, and caring on all different levels can help groom them to become more open-minded and considerate individuals, as they get older. For children to be globally minded, it starts with the parents in the home. Look at all the ways in which you can learn and improve, yourself, and find ways to experience new things as a family. Not only will you be learning together, but you will all be growing together as well.