Bedtime stories

How to tell the ultimate bedtime story

Parents spend an average of a week every year trying to get their children to sleep, and September when longer summer days have spoiled bedtime routines is the worst.

The bedtime story is a classic favourite for parents to get little ones off to sleep – but what makes the ultimate bedtime story?

Over 1,000 children co-wrote their ideal bedtime story, showing that little ones love fantasy with dragons, magic and castles – but aren't interested in a love story!

The perfect bedtime story length was 8.6 minutes, and the majority of children liked the traditional plot, with a hero winning over a baddie, wizards, fairies, princesses and a happy ending.

But like any story it's not just about the plot but the delivery – over half of children thought the most entertaining story is where each character has a different voice, and a quarter expect the story to be acted out.

And what about effectiveness? Experts say starting off brisk, using short and snappy words to build up to the climax then slowing down in rhythm towards the end of the story will ensure they're in the land of nod before you know it.

Read the Butlins guide to telling the perfect bedtime story.

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