Kids want to hear more bedtime stories

Fri May 22, 2009 7:44am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Almost two-thirds of children want their parents to spend more time reading to them before bed, and most prefer Mum's storytelling to Dad's, researchers said on Friday.

They conducted a study that showed younger children aged 3-4 were most hungry for more stories, with over three-quarters saying they wished their parents read to them more often.

More than half of all children aged 3-8 said story time was their favorite pastime with their parents.

"The results of our research confirm the traditional activity of storytelling continues to be a powerful learning and emotional resource in children's lives," said child psychologist Richard Woolfson, who led the study commissioned by Disney/Pixar World of Cars.

Storytelling ranked higher than television or video games among pastimes for kids, and 82 percent said reading a story with their parents helped them sleep better, according the survey of 500 children aged 3-8 in Britain.

The best storytellers were mothers who used funny voices to illustrate different characters or made their own special sound effects to keep the story moving, researchers said.

When mum and dad are not at hand, celebrities will do: over 30 percent of children said they would like to hear a bedtime story from Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, with teen idols Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus and Emma Watson trailing close behind.

"It can be very difficult for parents to find the time to read with their children, but these moments can help build strong bonds and play a vital part in their child's development," said Woolfson.

(Reporting by Nick Vinocur; Editing by Steve Addison)