Reading to your children can reduce their stress and yours

Children need to feel safe and cared for. When children are stressed they can feel unsafe, overwhelmed, and scared. If the stress is too great or goes on for too long it can become `toxic’. It will begin to affect their wellbeing, learning and brain development.

So, how can we help children experiencing stress?

The most important thing we can do is to calm them down and help them feel safe. We can do this by:

  • spending time with them
  • reading to them
  • telling them stories
  • singing to them and,
  • playing with them.

Even very young babies love to be read to. Reading to your children helps them to feel better and develop important life skills. When you read to your children with them on your lap, cuddling them, or sitting close to them, you feel close to each other. It calms them down and it can calm you down too.

Research also shows that the more often children are read to, the more likely they are to do better at school. This is not just in reading but in language, literacy, numeracy and comprehension. Reading to them every day can give them up to a year’s head start at school.

Make storytime part of your kids’ bedtime routine. When you are being driven crazy or your children are bored, tired, or acting up, pick up a book and read to them. In times of stress, spending time with your family reading to them, telling them stories and playing games is time well spent. The research shows the more the better. Every moment counts. So make time. The results will be lifelong. And the best part – it’s not just good for you and your family, it’s fun. 


New Zealand Geographic

Every day of the lock-down are posting a story or video that can be shared amongst your family. Check it out here.

The below websites offer free Bedtime stories.

On Audible kids can stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages. While schools are closed due to Covid-19, this is free.


Remember hand washing is so important right now.

Before and after reading and playing games with your children- remember to wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds. Encourage kids to sing the Happy Birthday song twice while they wash their hands!

Storytime FoundationReading to your children can reduce their stress and yours