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New video aims to help parents’ bedtime storytelling stage fright

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Whether it’s ‘ROARING’ like a bear, acting out sword battles with pirates to performing an alien impression, night after night parents transform into their inner thespian to become the ultimate storyteller.

However, despite delivering performances that will last a lifetime in children’s minds, a new survey has revealed the underlying anxieties and bedtime stage fright many parents face before and during each nightly performance.

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The survey of 1,000 parents, commissioned by Aldi’s baby and toddler brand Mamia, has found two thirds of parents confess to feeling embarrassed, or lacking in confidence when reading to their children.

Indeed, almost one in four (23%) say they were jealous of other parents who don’t get embarrassed, while over a third (38%) skip parts of the story or rushed through sections just to get to the end.

The underlying reasons for feeling embarrassed stems from tiredness (35%), challenges doing different voices (34%) and not making a story dramatic enough (27%).

Frustrated parents up and down the country also pinpoint their reading ability as a barrier to reading to their kids, with 15% to their reading level not being great.

The new study has been released to coincide with Children’s Book Week (2-8 May), alongside a storytelling masterclass to help parents to conquer shyness, add some flair to their reading and even tackle voices.

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Aldi’s free Storytelling Masterclass features professional actor Sandy Grierson, a father of two and star of numerous Royal Shakespeare Company productions.

Sandy’s top five suggestions for overcoming bedtime storytelling stage fright

  • Conquering shyness: Remember you are delivering a story to your kids, not theatre critics. Simply, take a deep breath, slow down and immerse yourself in the book! 
  • Struggling with accents: If no matter how hard you try you still can’t pull off a region or robot accent, why not try to change your tone instead, using high or low voices.
  • Dynamic & engaging storytelling: Let the book be your guide. For instance, if you see a full stop, then pause to build a dramatic effect. If you see a word written in all caps or big font, then give it some welly and bellow it out. Maybe if you see a sound effect, such as a pirate’s ‘Arr Matey’, then give it your best shot!
  • Let the page guide you: It’s not about the quality of your reading, it’s about the quality time you are spending with your kids. In this scenario, I suggest let the image on the page be your guide. If the bear is roaring, let out a big roar like a bear. The book isn’t here to trick you.
  • Bored of reading the same book: If you want to mix-up your storytelling why not use a real-life story or blend relatives into the book you’re reading. So, whether it’s the time Grandad became a pirate, when Mummy joined the circus to a sibling morphed into an animal, it’s just a fun game. Also, you never know, you might just have a bestseller on your hands!


To read or not to read to children has never been in question, with the average parent reading four times a week for 20 minutes each time.

In fact, over half (58%) believe that reading bedtime stories to children is important for their development and more than a fifth (22%) are making a conscious effort not to finish work late so they can enjoy a story with their child.

Despite these challenges, a heart-warming 96% aim to read to children every night, with a third (34%) saying it’s the highlight of their day and three quarters feeling they’ve missed out on valuable time spent with their little ones if they’re not able to squeeze in a bedtime story.

Of the respondents, almost two thirds (62%) said that they’d be interested in getting tips via a storytelling masterclass to help them read better bedtime stories, which is why Aldi’s Mamia has teamed up Sandy to help parents finesse their storytelling.

Sandy Grierson, Actor, said: “I’m a father of two and stage actor so often I’m at work when it’s story time. Then, when I’m not it can sometimes feel a bit like a busman’s holiday.

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“So believe me when I say, at bedtime, you’re probably better off not being a professional actor. Nonetheless for those parents who suffer from bedtime story stage fright, be it struggles with accents, dramatic delivery to reading capabilities, I hope this Aldi Mamia masterclass is a helpful tool to make bedtime stories with children a moment to savour, not stress over.”

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