How important is it for the young child to be read or told bedtime stories?
Stories are most important in the development of the young child, for this is one of THE most important ways in which to activate and stimulate the imagination of the young child. And a fully active imagination is vital to the mental and emotional development of any child.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to bedtime stories, but what has always worked very well is that Mom does the reading and that Dad does the telling. In other words, Mom reads to the child or children a story of either her choice or the choice of the child or children, whereas if it is Dad's turn for bedtime stories, Dad should rather tell a story, and preferably about his day at work, that is, about his day out hunting. In this respect Dad can take anything that happened to him during the day at work and turn his experiences into a lovely exhilarating tale. It also really doesn't matter if he embellishes the tale to make it more interesting . As the purpose of bedtime stories is to develop the young child's imagination, Dad can turn his day at work into a real fairy story if he wants to.
Mom and Dad should always take turns, wherever possible, to read or tell the bedtime stories, for any young child needs interaction with both of its parents.
What is crucial to remember about bedtime stories is that the accent should always be on developing the child's imagination of life beyond the house because in its early years of childhood the child spends ALL of its time at home. So although Mom and Dad are making the child aware of life in the house and in the garden, being read stories and being told stories, takes the child beyond the confines of its home. So even at a very young age he child is becoming aware that there is also somewhere a world out there.