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The Priceless Moment of the Bedtime Story

18/08/2015 13:16 BST | Updated 17/08/2016 10:59 BST

A bedtime story is the perfect ingredient for a good night sleep. Bedtime is one of the most important moments of the day for all children. Reading a bedtime story to a child helps them make the transition between their very busy and active day and the time to close their eyes, relax and sleep.

You would not tell a child that sleeping is good for them because some researchers have demonstrated that "the brain uses sleep to wash away the waste toxins of a hard day's thinking", would you?

When done routinely, at the end of the day, the bedtime story comes as a self-explanatory moment. It is like telling the child, "Now is time for you to calm down after a long day you have had. Relax on your bed, close your eyes and listen to this story that will take you to the wonderful land of your imagination."

Yes. Imagination is the key to open the door to the child's sleep.

Reading a bedtime story is a nice routine that costs nothing to the parents but a few minutes of their time, which represents hours in a child's mind.

A bedtime story is such a priceless moment. Yet, many new parents don't have the habit of reading to their little ones in the evening. Why is that? In many cases, it is because they have not been used to a bedtime routine as children themselves, and so, it is either not a natural thing for them to do or they just don't feel comfortable with doing it.

That is why charities and organisations such as the National Literacy Trust or Book Trust in Britain, are so important nowadays to get children and their parents reading, through initiatives like the "Bookstart packs" in which every family receives free books at key stages before their children start school. These organisations' work doesn't end with providing free materials, they also offer guidance and resources via health, library, schools and early years practitioners, with the aim to create and/or encourage a reading habit within the family.

This evening, as you take your children to sleep, why don't you spare five minutes of your time to read them a story? Just by saying the words BEDTIME STORY, you will see their eyes shine and a big smile upon their face. Not only will you give them your time, you give them a moment to cherish together and memories for life.

I, sometimes, don't read a book at all, simply because my children love when I invent new stories. They participate in choosing either the names of the characters or the location of the story. I then imagine with them a world of princesses and great castles, flying frogs and cheesy moons... that changes every day afterwards, as they ask to include new characters or new bits in the story. And sometimes, some of these stories I invent end up published as real books, so that other parents get to read them as bedtimes stories to their own children!

We, authors, publishers, local governments and governments, MUST support libraries, charities, organisations and schools that help and encourage children and their families to establish a daily reading routine. We should never underestimate, nor understate, the value and the work they do to help our little ones and their parents discover the pleasure of reading together.