Story Club: Grandpa Hooked Us on Bedtime Stories

I can't think of a time in my life when I didn't love to tell stories. Whether I was telling a joke, singing a song, acting something out, writing it down or just plain talking, I've always loved telling stories.

I love to tell stories with my kids at bedtime, and so does my husband Jacob. But we didn't always tell bedtime stories.  It all started at one particular family reunion.

At this reunion, Benjamin and a whole gaggle of his cousins were treated to bedtime stories by Grandpa Craig several nights in a row.  He really made these stories special. He told old stories that he had told Jacob and his siblings when they were young. He told new and goofy stuff he made up on the spot. And he had props! I remember one night he gave each of the grandkids a flashlight they were supposed to turn on and off at certain times. As you might imagine, the kids got more riled up than ready for bed; they had so much fun.

Benjamin loved it! And man, was that a rough time in the bedtime chronicles. He was about three years old. Anyway, Grandpa's stories were such a hit with him that we decided to keep a story before bed as the perfect bribe. "If you are in bed, ready to sleep at bedtime, you can get a story!" In the years since this reunion, our routine has morphed. The boys now start off with two bedtime stories as given, but can be penalized for not getting in/staying in bed.

And that is how The Bedtime Story became a thing at our house.

Just for fun, here are some of the kinds of stories we like to tell:

  • Stories from the scriptures,
  • Stories from "when I was young,"
  • Stories from "when you were younger,"
  • Stories from extended family,
  • Stories about the boys' current favorite cartoon characters,
  • Stories about the kids in a fantasy world: Sir Ben often faces dragons, Benjamonkey loves banana pancakes,
and of course the handy dandy...
  • Stories that conveniently teach you about something you had trouble with today. :)
How about you -- do you tell bedtime stories? Did you get told them as a child? If yes, what are some of your favorite story-starting ideas? If no, why not or do you wish you had had bedtimes stories?
Please share so we can ALL benefit from your experience!


  1. The latest set of stories have been about recovering magical pieces of dinnerware for a dragon who likes to collect magical artifacts. Benjamin keeps coming up with new things that Sir Ben, Sir Leev, and Lady Jubee need to get, like a magic straw or a magic bowl. He and Levi have had a lot of fun with these stories. :)

  2. Sadly, I never had bedtime stories. BUT, my sisters and I were often treated to bedtime music by my older brother who would come home late and practice his guitar in his room. We would call down the hall to him and ask for him to come and play for us. AND his songs were sometime ballads, so there you go!

  3. I don't think I was ever told stories, but I told them sometimes to younger siblings. And I read to them a lot. I was a good big sister (sometimes). :) Now, we usually have so many lovely books from the library to get through, that we opt to read instead of imagine. Sometimes I do tell my kids "When I was little..." stories, and my husband tells them those and stories about his ancestors. They love it! I love your idea of using stories to teach as well as entertain. I'm going to try it!

    1. Family stories are just awesome aren't they? At reunions Jacob's family sits around telling the same stories, time and again -- but some new little detail will come to light, or one of the grandkids will be old enough now to grasp the story. And last time around there was a great new story created.

      Definitely try teaching stories! Let me know how it works out!

    2. Have you seen this article about some of the research related to family stories? The gist: knowing family stories = resilience in the face of challenges. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


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