How old is too old for a bedtime story?

It's one of the best bits of parenting - but at what age will you stop reading a bedtime story to your kids? We asked 1,427 mums and dads and got advice from an educational psychologist...

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Ask any parent and we reckon loads of them will tell you one of their favourite parts of the day is telling their children a bedtime story.

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Cosy, quiet wind-down time after lots of busyness before turning off the lights and nodding off to dreamsville ?

But when do you stop reading your kids a bedtime story? After all, many children start to read for themselves at around age 5…

Will it just happen naturally as they decide they want to read a book on their own? Or will you decide its time to stop (even though you secretly want to do it forever)?

When we asked 1,427 parents at what age they’d stop reading their child a bedtime story, the most popular answers were:

  • not sure (25%)
  • 10 or 8 (both 15%)
  • 7 (8%)
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And when we probed further, we got some really interesting comments.

One parent, who has 3 kids, the oldest being 12, told us: “Our eldest kids continue to snuggle with the youngest for his bedtime stories.”

Another said: “Stories and books are important – so carry on as long as possible.”

And another summed up what a lot of us think: “We’ll stop when they ask us to stop, but it won’t be for a long time yet, we all enjoy that part of the day.” ?

What does the expert say?

We touched base with educational psychologist (and mum) Naomi Burgess on this one – and there’s no doubt what she thinks about those precious bedtime story moments.

She told us:Stories make the world go round, they help us understand our lives, process our thoughts and feelings, take us into our imaginations and provide the safest of places to be scared too!

“The power of a story never wanes, and that is why it is book-snuggle time is such a favourite part of the day.

“Even when you feel your child(ren) might be too old, you can share a book silently and chat about it, you can listen to audio books together, and older ones can read to siblings.

“There are so many variations. Even young adults who may have fled the nest, like to revisit their favourite poems and stories when home for visits. So is there a time to stop? I don’t think so.”

We reckon there are a lot of parents with you on this one, Naomi ?

Some key words that came up from our mums’ responses…

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Image: Getty Images

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