To say life is hectic with small children in the house is an understatement! Add one or two working parents into the mix and it can be hard to find time for things like reading a bedtime story together.
But the benefits of sharing a book at bedtime with your child are numerous.
Not only is it a rewarding, bonding experience for you - but it allows your child to be comfortable and confident around books and helps them to develop early literacy skills.
How CBeebies can help
The Bedtime Story features a story read by a guest reader (a well-known face from TV) and is part of the Bedtime Hour on CBeebies (between 6-7pm each night).Why not cuddle up and watch the Bedtime Story together?
If your child engages with a story used on the Bedtime Hour (or another CBeebies programme), make a note of the title and author and see if your local library (or bookshop) has a copy.
The CBeebies website has plenty of stories on offer - just click on Story Time and have a browse.
There are more than 100 tales to choose from! Put your child on your lap, hold them nice and close and enjoy a couple of the stories together.
How to make a magic moment
Recreate the CBeebies Bedtime Story context and cosy up together as part of the daily routine - making books, and ultimately reading, a familiar and fun experience.
Allow your child to choose a book (or two) to read with you on the sofa/in bed at the end of the day.Encourage them to tell you why they have selected it and what they like and dislike about it.
Be warned - small children enjoy the repetition and familiarity of revisiting the same book over and over. This is perfectly normal!
Store books with the covers facing outwards if possible so that your child becomes familiar with book covers that he/she enjoys and can select them.
It sounds obvious, but take your child to visit the local library. Make the experience into a special treat, with the reward of borrowing a book at the end of it. It won't cost you a penny and they will enjoy the experience of having their own library card (which will allow you to borrow story CDs and DVDs). It can also help to foster a sense of responsibility in your child - taking care of something special that will eventually be returned for someone else to enjoy.
It might sound simple - and very obvious - but allow your baby or young toddler to explore books.
Let them hold them, touch them and play with them. They might get a bit chewed and battered in the process, but it's a great introduction to the pleasures of storytelling and reading.
Before they are able to read text, encourage children to 'read' illustrations with simple questions about what they can see.
This idea of the images containing 'clues' to reading the words is essential during the learning of early reading skills at school.