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Top 10 Bedtime Stories for Kids

a headshot of our reviewer Connie

Written By Connie

CPD Sleep Consultant

top 10 bedtime stories for kids

29 April 2024 9 min read

Choosing the right bedtime stories is highly important for good parenting.

Let’s see the main benefits of introducing literature to your child in their early age.

  • Development of an independent critical thinking
  • Understanding ethics and moral behaviour
  • Developing strive for knowledge, wisdom and beauty

Let’s learn more about the importance of literature in the early childhood. Some modern parenting trends recognize different social games, video-games, cartoons or children’ TV shows as a successful learning technique. Problem is, even these contents stimulate child’s mind, they don’t stimulate it in the best way.

Human beings communicate through language, think through language and express themselves through language. We make our wishes, goals and decisions in words. Have you ever tried to think about something in some other way than in words? Impossible, right?

Even mathematical thinking has a basic philological and philosophical, logical background. Only by listening and understanding the linguistic content the child will learn how to create it and apply it independently.

Let’s imagine that you are wanting to ask your child a hypothetical question, something like a moral dilemma. So, let’s say that the questions go like this:

You see that some children are being mean to a weaker child with no reason when the teacher/kindergarten teacher is not looking. What would you do?

  1. Confront the mean kids with your words
  2. Politely ask them to stop
  3. Stay silent, but tell the teacher later
  4. Say nothing to the teacher, but tell your parents
  5. Say nothing to anyone, but comfort the child later
  6. Attack the mean kids and defend the child
  7. Do nothing about it

In order for your child to give you any kind of answer, they must understand what this situation means. Also, they must understand what the consequences of each of the actions are.

So, first of all, your child must understand empathy. Why is it wrong to be aggressive? Why is it wrong to be aggressive towards an innocent person? Or to be aggressive towards a weaker, person?

So, when your child can comprehend answers to these questions, they can judge about the solutions. Comforting the poor child will help the child at the moment, but will it solve the problem? Confronting the mean children will be a “fight fire with fire” kind of an approach. Telling the parents, while showing the sense of right and wrong, also demonstrates a lack of independence. Confronting mean children with words shows independence, courage and demonstrates the non-violent approach. By choosing one of these answers your child will tell you about their personality more than you think.

Is your child courageous but reckless? Are they moral but always rely on the assistance of adults? Are they full of empathy but easy to intimidate?

By learning more about your child’s personality you can help them to improve themselves more efficiently.

Here we are talking about a moral dilemma that is more appropriate for schoolchildren, while we are discussing the intellectual and emotional development of much younger children. Why is that?

Children unconsciously rely on moral examples that they got in their early age. This is very important to understand. Ideas of empathy, right or wrong or courageous behaviour are set in child’s mind in the earliest years of their life. An idea of kindness or importance of helping others in learned while the child is very young. Understanding the words like “good”, “truth” or “honesty” in the early age will help the child make the right choices in the later childhood.

So, for healthy behaviour and emotional life, the understanding of the meaning of words is of vital importance. But, how to introduce language to your young child in the right way? Your child can still speak properly, so how to introduce the complicated “meanings” in their world? One of the best ways is through the bedtime stories!

bedtime stories

By reading bedtime stories to your child you can simulate many real-life situations in their mind. Also, you will enrich their vocabulary and improve their creativity.

Now, let’s learn about criteria that you should have in mind while picking bedtime stories.

bedtime stories role models
bedtime stories boosting creativity
bedtime stories boosting happiness

So, let’s see our pick for top 10 bedtime stories.

  1. “The Three Questions” by Jon J Muth – Book that will inspire your child’s critical thinking and which will encourage them for discussions about important questions.
  2. “The empty pot”, a Chinese folk story –  A beautiful tale about the importance of honesty!
  3. “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame – An all-time classic about humility, moral and friendship.
  4. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Story that forever remained in hearts of children of many generations. A great choice for a bedtime story.
  5. “Zero” by Kathryn Otoshi – Very interesting story that provokes philosophical thinking on the level that is appropriate for young children.
  6. “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen – Beautiful and very touching classic tale that offers a glance into the idea of the eternity of love that precedes material existence.  
  7. “Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs” by James Rumford – Book that inspires learning, having goals and dreams, exploring and striving towards intellectual aims.
  8. “Zen Shorts” by Jon J Muth – Interesting and amusing collection of short, kind of philosophical tales adapted for young children.
  9. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen – A classic tale that needs no special introduction. Offers powerful, yet simple, meaningful messages to a young mind.
  10. “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde – A touching and inspiring tale that teaches about generosity and love.

A few final tips…

For the end of this short discussion about choosing the right bedtime story, here we are providing you with a few additional and important tips.

Always read a book very carefully before introducing it to your child – Take your time and think about every aspect of the book. It will be one of the first stories that your child hears in their life.

Think about your child’s personality – When choosing a book, think about what your child might like based on some tendencies or interests that they have already expressed.

Give your child some more credit – Don’t immediately reach out for the simplest book even if your child is young. Try a book with a bit more complicated vocabulary and storyline. Children have an ability to learn very quickly. You might just get surprised how much they can comprehend if you just give them a chance. So, the simple book is not always the best choice. 


Bedtime stories that child hears at their young age can influence the later development of their language skills as well as their emotional maturity and behaviour. In addition, you can introduce the lullabies as well as these will help your children to sleep better. However, when you are choosing the bedtime story put some time and thought into the decision. Use our guidelines and our top 10 selections. Have fun and enjoy stories with your child!

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About the author

As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant I know how important sleep is. And as a combination sleeper, I have found it difficult to get products to suit my sleep style. I have more than 2 years product testing experience with The Sleep Advisors which means I have slept on, with and under more than 500 products with varying degrees of success. This is added to more than 2 years experience as a product reviewer for Closer, Heat and Grazia magazines, so I've got a rigorous process. I love sharing my sleep testimonials with our readers and hearing their experiences too.
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