Too busy for bedtime stories - half of British parents don't have time

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From Winnie the Pooh to Peppa Pig, the bedtime story is a moment of peace, quiet relaxation and quality time that many of us will remember fondly from our own childhoods. But according to a new survey, many of the nation's children are missing out on the bedtime ritual thanks to our stressful, busy lives.

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The poll of 1,000 parents, conducted by Silentnight, revealed that 47 per cent do not read to their kids at night despite the fact that 97 per cent considered it beneficial to their child's development. Instead, TV and DVD's have replaced the story book as the combination of work and household chores leave many parents too tired to take time for reading.

Educational psychologist Jean Gross told the Daily Mail: "These are really worrying figures. Reading to children is one of the best ways of improving their vocabulary, as well as having social and emotional benefits in terms of bonding with parents."

Those in the South of England seemed to be the busiest with 56 per cent missing out while Scottish children were luckier with only 32 per cent skipping storytime. But that's still a considerable number given the 97 per cent who realise the benefits of reading together.

Besides exhaustion and busy lives, some parents confessed that they felt embarrassed at the prospect of story-telling but worse still, only a third of those polled felt guilty for not taking the time to share a book at bedtime.

So while we may be working our hardest to give our children the comforts and luxuries of life, is it at the expense of the quality time that really matters?