World Book Day (this year, March 1) – forever known to guilt-ridden parents as the day when you’re in panic mode as you have to scrabble around for a book character costume!

But when did it become all about a commercialised fancy dress competition and less about the books? That’s why this year we are reminding you to focus on what the day is about: encouraging children to explore the pleasures of book reading.

And there is no better time to snuggle up with a good book or share a story with your child than at bedtime. Here are four reasons why bedtime reading is so important for your child:

1. It’s relaxing. Reading, instead of watching TV, playing on tablets or messaging friends, is a more calming and stress-free activity to do before bed. Avoid screen time at least an hour before lights go out as the light from these devices affects the time it takes to fall asleep.
2. It nurtures the imagination. One of the reasons I love books is that feeling of escapism. And kids love that too. Bedtime stories brings out a child’s imagination. While you are reading with your child, why not ask them what they think might happen next? It’s always fascinating to hear their responses.
3. It helps with development. Whether that’s social or emotional development, reading develops all sorts of skills and helps them develop a thirst for knowledge
4. It is special attention time. In the fast paced world we live in, make bedtime a magical moment where you can cuddle up with your child in peace and quiet. Share a book or even make up a story as part of the bedtime routine – trust me, you and they will love it!

Make reading part of your child’s daily bedtime routine – not just for World Book Day!

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