Bookbug Detective: how early can I introduce a bedtime story?

Mum and baby reading
Category: Bookbug

The Bookbug Detective is here to help you with any questions you have about books and reading for your little one. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a question to answer below. If you'd like some book recommendations or advice send the Bookbug Detective an email, or post it in the comments below!

My daughter falls asleep after her milk at night, so how could I introduce a bedtime story to her? She is only 5 months old. I would like to start as early as possible and just wondering when to start this?

It’s great that you’re keen to introduce stories to your wee one. The first thing I would say is, reading doesn’t have to just be for bedtime! Stories, songs and rhymes can be enjoyed at any time of day – for example you could even try making them part of your mealtime or bathtime routines, or when you’re out and about.

Reading doesn’t have to just be for bedtime! Stories, songs and rhymes can be enjoyed at any time of day

Buggy books are great for this because you can clip them onto the pushchair or the highchair and they won’t get lost. You can also get great bath books which are very sturdy and fully waterproofed: try out these 10 Bathtime Books for 0-2s. Stories can actually be very calming at potentially stressful times of the day, so I would definitely give this a go.

If your daughter tends to fall asleep after her milk, why not introduce a story just before? A short, simple calming story would be ideal. And you could also sing some lullabies (for example, 'Twinkle, Twinkle' or 'Ally, Bally').

Then, as your daughter gets a bit older, she’ll be ready for a more substantial bedtime story. We have some great book lists on our website, but any book will do as long as you and your little one like it. Here’s a list of 10 Bedtime Books for 0-2s and some Books about Bed and Sleep for 3-7s. We also have some lovely videos of parents and grandparents sharing books with their children.

And remember, it’s never too early to start sharing books and songs with your baby. Although it might seem they’re too young to understand, it is making an impact, I promise. Getting babies familiar and comfortable with books from the very start will help them love books when they’re older. And it’s also a lovely chance to have a cuddle!

Thanks to commenter Jas for asking this question!

Do you have a question for the Bookbug Detective? Email it to kirsty.sinclair@scottishbooktrust.com.

Catch up on the previous Bookbug Detective blogs for advice on everything from books for expectant siblings to advice on babies chewing library books.