For many adults, one of the fondest memories they have of childhood is the soothing ritual of being read a bedtime story as they fall asleep. From classic fairy tales like Cinderella to fables like Peter Rabbit, there is a near-endless selection of stories they children not only find soothing but learn from.
Bedtime stories provide a host of benefits like improving vocabulary, teaching simple life lessons, and deepening bonds between parents and their children. When it comes to selecting the right story there are plans of fantastic modern options, but these eight stories stand the test of time as classic bedtime stories that still hold up decades later.
Beauty and the Beast
This fairy tale written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve originated in France in 1740. It tells the story of Beauty, a beautiful girl, who is forced to live in a castle with a hideous beast. The Beast falls in love with Beauty and upon his death is revealed to be a prince.
This story has been a favorite for children for centuries now, long before Disney’s adaptation in 1991. Its themes are also a great way to teach children about love, acceptance, and seeing through others' flaws.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children’s book published in 1900 and written by Frank Baum. The story follows a girl named Dorothy whose Kansas home is swept away in a tornado. She then finds herself transported to the mysterious Land of Oz. On a quest to find her way home she meets friends along the way who join her journey to find the wizard whom they believe can solve all of their problems and get Dorothy home.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is packed with great lessons like following your heart, finding confidence in yourself, and standing up for what you believe is right in the face of authority. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz also gives you the chance to watch the classic 1939 film adaptation The Wizard of Oz with your children after reading the story.
Little Red Riding Hood
One of the most well-known and oldest stories on this list dates back to 17th century France. The earliest known version of Little Red Riding Hood, or at least the earliest written version we know of, was written by Charles Perrault.
The story is about a young girl who ventures through the woods to visit her sick grandmother. Along the way, she is stalked by a wolf who beats her to her grandmothers' house and eats her grandmother. When the girl arrives the wolf eats her as well.
So, obviously, this story offers a little less in the way of positive lessons and features some surprisingly macabre themes for a classic children's story. However, this tale is an absolute classic and a story your grandparents and great-grandparents grew up on. It’s also a surefire way to teach your children about the dangers of venturing off alone and speaking to strangers.
The Pied Piper of Hamelin
The Pied Piper of Hamelin is perhaps the oldest story on this list dating back to 14th century Europe. It’s difficult to credit one writer for this story as it has gone through countless renditions and interpretations over the centuries.
This classic story follows the town of Hamelin during a rat infestation. A man known as the Piper comes to the town and promises to clean up the infestation. However, the man rid the town of its children too when the town refused to pay him for his work.
This centuries old tale offers great lessons about strangers, greed, and selfishness. Given the fact it’s as old as it is, it may be worth finding a more modern version that will be better suited for your childrens’ bedtime routine.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit is another classic work of fiction that dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Written by Beatrix Potter in 1902, the story tells a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when a parent’s rules are disregarded.
In the story, Peter enters a forbidden vegetable garden and is chased away but not without losing his clothes and seeing them turned into a Scarecrow. Peter Rabbit teaches some amazing lessons about following the advice of your loved ones and obeying your parents. It also features a loveable cast of characters that children will find soothing as they prepare to sleep.
The value of a stable bedtime routine
While you are likely already familiar with many of these stories and why they’re a valuable tool for connecting with your children, the value of bedtime stories have wide-reaching benefits.
For many children, getting quality sleep can be a challenge just like it is for adults. Creating a stable routine with set bedtimes, a hygiene schedule, and quality time that occurs around the same time each night can provide children a level of stability they aren’t aware they need.
While bedtime routines and stories are great aids, if your child is still struggling to sleep and you’ve ruled out more serious circumstances causing the problem, it may be time to think about the mattress your child is sleeping on.
Did you pass your antique bed down to your child? Our custom made antique mattresses can be made to fit any bed. Combining a high-quality, comfortable mattress with a stable routine is a surefire way to make sure your child is getting the sleep they so desperately need.