15 Short Bedtime Stories for Kids

by | Mar 31, 2017 | 0 comments

Do your little ones fall asleep before you finish reading them bedtime stories? Maybe your child has a short attention span and is not able to focus on a long story?  Moms, as you snuggle up with your cutie pie, you may need to read them one of these wonderful and short bedtime stories!

Believe me, I know it can be hard to try to engage your little ones in story time. One of the biggest problems we face while reading to our kids is trying to relate the story to their life in some way.

Storyberries is a website full of free and readily available short stories by various authors. The Mom’s Life Hacks Team did some research and found a ton of great ones perfect for your bedtime reading ritual.

This site is awesome because they include discussion questions at the end of each story.  These questions are meant to spark a conversation between you and your child.  You can discuss each story and how it relates to their life.

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Below are 15 of my favorite short bedtime stories for kids!

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #1

Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken and Nod are the perfect little fisherman to help lull your little one off to dreamland. This poem by Eugene Field is one of my personal favorites because of the way he tells the story.  It allows kids to shut their eyes and imagine a fascinating new world to hold on to as they drift off to dreamland.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #2

Lullaby by Louisa May Alcott

This short poem is perfect for kids who enjoy nature and the outdoors. The writer beautifully describes how the day ends for all kinds of wildlife, from birds to trees.

It’s important to connect our little ones with nature. It’s also important for them to know and understand that there are so many different species of plants, animals, and how each organism acts differently from another.

With this poem, we can make that connection with them and give them something beautiful to dream about.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #3

Little Ida’s Flowers by Hans Christian Anderson

If your little one has trouble falling asleep, then this is the perfect story to read. This story revolves around a little girl named Ida who is told a story about how flowers behave after all humans fall asleep.

Ida is told that after everybody has fallen asleep, all of the flowers in the area gather for a ball where they dance the night away. This is to explain why we sometimes wake up and our flowers look droopy.

Hopefully, it’s the perfect story to coax your little one to bed. If they have a hard time, encourage your child to shut their eyes so all of the flowers can proceed to their ball.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #4

Graҫa’s Dream by Book Dash

There is nothing I love more than a bedtime story that has a deeper meaning. This one inspires and teaches young girls about women who stand up for something they believe in.

Graҫa’s Dream tells the story of Graҫa Michel from Mozambique. She fought for the rights of children’s education in her home town. To help the children of her village become literate, she consistently worked with them every day.

After grieving over the loss of her first husband, Graҫa met and eventually married Nelson Mandela. Together, they continued to fight for freedom and children’s rights.

Graҫa Michel is an amazing role model for children everywhere. Her passion for children’s education is something everybody should look up to. Because of Graҫa Michel, we have someone to inspire children (and adults!) to fight for what they believe in and never give up.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #5

The Triantiwontigongolope by C.J. Dennis

In most cases, bedtime stories focus on getting your child settled into bed with thoughts of sweet dreams and fairy gardens. So I was relieved to find this silly story of the triantiwontigongolope.

It’s important to read these kinds of stories with our kiddos because life shouldn’t be taken too seriously. And with stories like The Triantiwontigongolope, we’re teaching our little ones that it’s okay to be silly sometimes.

In addition, with this story you can always try making up your own imaginary animals once you finish reading!

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #6

When I Grow Up by Book Dash

This book is one of my favorites because of the discussion that can ensue afterwards. When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, you’ll probably hear “astronaut” or “princess” or “police officer” fairly often.

However, then you get the kids like me when I was young.  Your child may say they’d like to be “a refrigerator because then I can eat anytime I want.” It’s astonishing the things that come out of our kids’ mouths, right?

All silliness aside, it’s important to have these kinds of conversations with our kids. Maintaining that mother-baby bond gets more and more difficult as our kiddos grow older. Conversations about their hopes and dreams is a great way to keep that special bond.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #7

Stick’s Masterpiece by Brothers Whim

Reading this one brought back a lot of nostalgia for me. In Stick’s Masterpiece, little Stick is anxious because she doesn’t know where to start with painting the world around her. When I was little, I would pretend that the pages in my coloring book couldn’t move until I colored them with life.

This short story gives our kids the opportunity to think about how they would want to paint their world and how they would like it to come to life. I love this story because it gives us the chance to talk to our kids about self-confidence.

I can recall many a time when I wasn’t sure of myself; remembering times I was worried that I wasn’t doing something right. However with Stick’s Masterpiece, we can show our little ones that it’s okay to feel anxious sometimes. But we should never doubt ourselves or our potential.

We all want to spend more time with our kids and family, don’t we? Click here to read ways to do so!

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #8

The Spider by Jane Taylor

This is a short poem about a little girl named Ann who is afraid of spiders. She freaks out when one touches her arm (as most of us would), and flings the spider away. Her mother teaches her a valuable life lesson after Ann complains about it to her.

The spider was harmless, but all Ann could think about was what an inconvenience it was. Ann’s mother then tells her that the spider did her no real harm. Yet she traumatized it by flinging it away. Her mother also tells her that the spider couldn’t do real harm if it tried, because humans are much bigger.

Now I will be the first to say that I am terrified of spiders. However after reading this story, I sort of felt bad.

This poem is perfect for teaching empathy. While the victim was a spider, the poem was written in a way that can be relatable to all types of life.

Goodnight stars, Goodnight air, Goodnight noises everywhere. ~Goodnight Moon Click To Tweet

Option #9: Short Bedtime Stories

Hugs in the City by Book Dash

If your little one is an animal lover, they will certainly enjoy this short story about a girl named Jilly. Jilly loves cats and she makes a point to hug every single cat in her neighborhood, and accomplishes in doing so.

As a diehard dog-person myself, I cannot fathom why she would want to hug every cat. But I admire her effort and drive toward her goal.

All biases aside, this is an adorable story that teaches compassion, love and the power of a hug. It’s important to teach our kids to be gentle and kind to animals. This short story does just that.*

Picture of mom's life hacks logo cartoon light bulb with a heart filament * MLH Tip:  Please do not actually pick up an animal without permission of the owner.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #10

My Dream in the Drawer by Book Dash

Raising my daughter to follow her dreams is something that is very important to me. With this story, I can encourage her to think about what she dreams of and pursue it with her whole heart.

My Dream in the Drawer is another great short story for before-bed conversation. The discussion questions that come with this story give you the opportunity to talk with your child about their hopes and dreams.

You have the chance to learn more about them and what is going on in their head. Encouraging them to follow through with their dreams not only gives them inspiration, it strengthens your bond as well.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #11

Tortoise Finds his Home by Book Dash

Tortoise Finds his Home is a story of a tortoise who is lost and can’t seem to find his way back home. He searches all day and even enlists the help of his other animal friends, but they can’t seem to help him find his way.

After a rainstorm hits, tortoise realizes that his home is in his shell; it has been with him all along. Instead of being selfish and hiding away until the rain stops, guess what he does?

Well, he provides shelter for his friends by letting them stay underneath his shell, all because they helped him first.

The questions that come with this story all revolve around the concept of ‘home’. But I think this story is also a great opportunity to talk about the importance of selflessness.

Option #12: Short Bedtime Stories

The Moon and the Cap by Pratham Books

Sharing is one of the fundamental life skills kids need to know as they grow up. This short story is the perfect one to teach the concept of sharing.

One day, a little boy loses his baseball cap and it blows away into the tree outside his bedroom. He is really upset and even refuses dinner. But before bed, he looks at the moon trying on his lost cap and is happy to share it with the moon.

Sharing can be difficult sometimes, but it can also make you feel good to share something you love with someone else.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #13

Lory Dory by Book Dash

This one is an adorable story about a little girl who was born invisible. She was teased constantly about it. One day, a boy asked her if she would just paint herself so everyone could see what she looked like. So she did, but not in the way everyone thought.

Lory Dory painted herself as everything she loved in her life and she turned out to be extremely beautiful.

Life is hard sometimes. We are always trying to fit in with everybody and when we don’t, we get ridiculed. Lory Dory is a wonderful story to teach kids to be themselves. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to please everybody. So we need to take time to step back and reflect on who we truly are.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #14

A Dancer’s Tale by Book Dash

A Dancer’s Tale is another true story about a girl from Africa. However, this time we’re talking about Phyllis Boyd – the prima ballerina from South Africa.

If your little girl or boy loves to dance and has a burning passion for it, this is the perfect story to add to your kiddo’s bedtime routine.

This story shows that if there is something you are truly passionate about, you should work hard at it. And once you achieve your dream, try to find a way to spread the same passion to young people everywhere.

Short Bedtime Stories: Option #15

Monsieur Le Dot by Jade Matre

Monsieur Le Dot was a circus ring leader who had an elephant friend named Elsa. Elsa loved Monsieur Le Dot, but she longed to go home to Africa to be with her family. As sad as that made Monsieur, he told Elsa she should go.

Eventually, Monsieur goes to Africa to be with his best friend. Not long after that, his other animals come too and they start a new circus in Africa.

This one is a great short story to talk to your kids about sadness (specifically when they lose someone or they move away). The questions at the end ask kids what they like to do for fun with their friends. It also asks why they think Monsieur let Elsa go even though it made him sad.

mother reading short bedtime stories to daughter and son kids in bed, isolated.

As a writer and a mom,  childhood literacy has always been extremely important to me.  I know the importance of reading to my daughter every single night (from birth).  It not only helps mold my daughters future and set her up for success, but it also gives us some wonderful bonding time.

My daughter looks forward to picking out the books in the library and feels very important with her own library card.  I wish you and your family create some amazing little memories together! 🙂

Oh by the way… The founder of Mom’s Life Hacks, April Iannazzone just interviewed me.  April and I had a great time talking about what it is like to work as a freelance writer from home.  As a mompreneur, I have to adapt my work schedule around my daughter.  You can learn more about me by watching the video here.

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Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has shared her innovative wisdom with millions who have tuned into her TV and Radio shows, followed her writing and listened to her unconventional talks. She has worked in youth empowerment for over 30 years, first as a police officer and then eventually running her own business, via a stint at Disney World in Florida. Star of ITV’s “My Teen’s A Nightmare, I’m Moving Out” and author of “Help! My Teenager is an Alien – the everyday situation guide for parents”, Sarah has just teamed up with her daughter to write a novel to help girls with their body image issues, she has also written for The Guardian, The Independent, The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail.
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