Storytelling expert, Alexandra Charalambous, has put together the below guide on the best way to tell your perfect bedtime story.
Step 1 – For the first 30 seconds, create sounds to set the scene – like a door banging (Bang!) or an owl tooting (tweet-to-wooo. Add narration in between these sounds to draw your child in and capture their interest immediately.
Step 2 – Ask your child if they can guess where the story is set and what might happen in this story. Predicting the events help children with understanding more about the story.
Step 3 – Now you can begin the story with an opening line such as ‘A long, long time ago’, ‘In a far off land…’ Say these slowly and smoothly and in your natural voice as you are narrating. Describe the characters by using words such as ‘She had luscious, long locks’ or ‘His voice was as gruff as a bear’s’.
Step 4 – As the story progresses, add noisy sounds to make the story more animated. Whoosh! Clang! Weeeeee! AHHHHHH!!!! The more involved you are, the more fun you and your child will have.
Step 5 – You are now about half way through and building up to the most exciting part of the story. Say some parts louder, quieter or even sing parts. Using your eyes and facial expression will enable your voice to sound more expressive. You could pick up the pace by speaking faster which should keep your child on the edge of their bed!
Step 6 – Remember to change your voice for different characters e.g, go high for the fairy or low for the menacing dragon. You could ask your child to join in on parts that are repeated, e.g.” I’ll huff and I’ll puff…”
Step 7 – Now heading towards the last minute of the story, you should slow the pace of your storytelling and use a quieter voice so that your child knows it is coming to an end. Your voice needs to be smooth, gentle and breathy; this will relax your child and promote sleepiness.
Step 8 – When the story ends, ask your child what their favourite part was. They may have questions themselves. Make sure you answer them as they may not be able to sleep if they have unanswered questions!