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The majority of parents (55 per cent) ban their children from using technology before bed, preferring to read them a bedtime story.
The bedtime story tops parents’ list of ‘must-haves’ in their child’s lives, with 67 per cent of the 2,000 parents polled, believing it is one of the most important parts of the day.
A quarter of parents read to their child every single night, spending on average 7,300 minutes a year. Meanwhile, 69 per cent of parents forbid iPads at the dinner table and a quarter ban smart technology from the bedroom to stop their child spending too long in front of a screen.
Some parents (31 per cent) said a bed time story is more valuable than completing extra homework and others believe bedtime reading is twice as important as using technology for educational purposes (34 per cent).
In total, 2,000 parents with children aged one to 12 were quizzed about their story-telling habits in research conducted by The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort.
With over a third of parents believing too much tech can harm their child’s sociability (38 per cent), the study revealed that parents allow their children to spend 71 minutes of their spare time gaming and surfing the net.
Dr Jessica Horst, academic in developmental science at the University of Sussex, said: ‘‘Learning to be comfortable interacting with technology is important for kids, but it’s also important to have tech time in moderation.
The academic described the research as “encouraging as it shows most parents do have a good handle on balancing tech time with other activities.”
She added: “Bedtime stories in particular are great, as stories tend to include more sophisticated words than children hear in conversation so they help children with their vocabulary."
Why do parents do it?
Mums and dads recite bedtime stories to:
• Bond with their child (70 per cent)
• Improve their child's reading skills (56 per cent)
• Improve their child’s vocabulary skills (54 per cent)
• Hone creativity (51 per cent)
• To unwind and catch up on books they didn't read as a child (47 per cent)
• Help secure their child a better future career (14 per cent)
Some 60 per cent of parents believe being read to in their own youth has helped improve their imagination, with 43 per cent believing it has made them a better parent.
Page skippers and sleepers
Despite parent’s enthusiasm for a good book, the findings also show 10 per cent admitted to skipping pages to finish quicker and 28 per cent improvise or make up the story.
Nine per cent make themselves the hero of the story and despite the best intentions, 11 per cent of parents confess to falling asleep during a story.
Nursery turns World Book Day into a World Book Week
All week, in honour of World Book Day on 2 March, children at West Downs Day Nursery in Winchester took part in a ‘Book Exchange’, with children swapping books.
Parents were invited into nursery to read their favourite story to children and preschool children went on a Gruffalo Hunt
West Downs Day nursery manager Sarah Gibson said: "Evidence has demonstrated that early exposure to books and stories helps to develop a lifelong love of reading and this is something that we are keen to promote here.
"Stories are brought to life through themed play and activities allowing children to have fun and engage in the plots in a proactive way."
Top 10 things parents do when reading bedtime stories:
1. Comical voices and noisy sounds (56 per cent)
2. Improvise or make it up (28 per cent)
3. Get their child to fill in the blanks (26 per cent)
4. Use toys as props (19 per cent)
5. Team up with a co-parent (14 per cent)
6. Completely change the ending (13 per cent)
7. Fall asleep occasionally (11 per cent)
8. Make one of their children read to the other one, so they can have a break (10 per cent)
9. Secretly skip pages to finish it quicker (10 per cent)
10. Make themselves the hero of the story (nine per cent)