Young habits: 1 in 10 parents still read their teenaged kids bedtime stories, survey reveals

NEW YORK — How old is too old to read children bedtime stories? A new survey finds, for some parents, the tradition stretches into their kids’ teen years!

A study of 2,000 moms and dads reveals one in 10 continue with the bedtime story routine until their youngster reaches 13 or even older. Conversely, around the same number of parents (11 percent) say they stop around age three or four. Eighty-six percent admit they love putting their kids to bed by telling a story, with 36 percent saying it’s the most quality time they get with them all day.

The average parent will spend just shy of 15 minutes each evening reading books to their youngster. This adds up to an hour and 17 minutes each week, according to OnePoll. Moreover, the average parent also says they tell their children bedtime stories up until the age of eight, but not because their kids ask them to. Instead, parents say it’s simply their favorite time of the day.

The survey, commissioned by Wonderbly, reveals three in four wish they could never stop telling their youngsters stories. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) say they don’t ever plan on stopping.

“Storytime not only fosters a wonderful closeness but also encourages conversation and helps kids to relax. Our study goes to show just how many parents and carers look forward to this time with their children – no matter what their age – as the benefits are endless on both sides,” David Cadji-Newby, author and creative director at Wonderbly, says in a statement. “Whoever said that you have to stop storytime with your children by a particular age? There’s certainly no rule book, so we feel you should be free to go on for as long as you’d like.”

Are bedtime stories critical for young children?

The research finds a staggering 93 percent of adoring parents agree it’s important to tell children stories before they go to sleep. The top reasons it’s such an essential part of the bedtime routine include it calms children down before sleep, it’s an effective bonding exercise, and it’s good for a child’s imagination.

Eight in 10 respondents say the bedtime routine is one of the best things about being a parent. In fact, storytime trumps all other aspects of the nightly routine (49%) for parents; beating out bath time (23%) and even giving them cuddles (44%).

It also takes the top of the poll for kids as well (45%), ahead of picking out pajamas (18%) and watching TV (26%). The importance of getting tucked in with a good book is clearly evident as nine in 10 parents say telling their child a bedtime story makes them feel closer as a family.

One in five add they like to use their imagination and conjure up a fairytale that is just right for their little one, rather than read something word for word. Of those parents, 47 percent say it’s more fun, while half agree it gives them a chance to personalize the story for their child.

“Family life is increasingly busy and cuddling up with a bedtime story is the perfect way to connect after a hectic day,” David Cadji-Newby adds.

“Personalization adds even more magic to story time as it helps children relate to the storylines – it’s really them, in the story! This makes kids far more receptive to the key messages and learnings of each tale – from courage, to friendship, to curiosity and kindness.”

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