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Do you remember how it feels to grab a great book and read it at home? Curling up in bed with a cup of tea and losing yourself in another world for a few hours. Or sharing stories with your children at bedtime, watching their faces light up as they become engrossed in the tale?
Reading for pleasure is one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to bond with your children and encourage them to develop a love of reading. In this post, we’ll discuss why it is important to read at home and ways you can get involved.
How does reading support your bond with your child?
Many studies show that exposing your child to reading from an early age can help their connection with others. It enhances emotional, cognitive, and psychological growth.
Every day life has its trails and tribulations. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day chaos, tasks, and chores. By dedicating a certain amount of time every day to read at home with children, it will give them the impression that they have their parent’s undivided attention.
A study found that children whose mothers read to them more frequently were able to secure attachments with their parents compared to those who don’t.
Greater understanding of your child
Fictional stories (especially children’s books) allow children to explore, discuss and confront their own emotions and the challenges of the real world.
As you get lost in new and exciting stories and meet interesting characters, children broaden their own horizons and can express their opinions. This is an excellent opportunity for parent and child to learn about each other and their views on the world.
Building a moral compass
Sharing stories with children allows them to empathise with other cultures and people, as well understand the importance of social constructs such as friendship, honesty, trust and relationships. Reading regularly allows parent and child to have these important conversations early.
Children’s books are excellent at tackling difficult issues such as racism, gender equality, sexuality, disabilities etc. in an easy to understand format.
Supports cognitive development
The impact of cuddling and nurturing on a baby’s brain was studied by the Washington University School of Medicine. The hippocampus in children with more loving mothers is 10% larger, according to the study. Nurturing also boosts certain gene expression and neurogenesis.
The hippocampus is vital for memory, learning, and stress response. Because reading to your child allows you to demonstrate your affection, it may have a beneficial impact on their hippocampi’s growth. It can support brain health by improving memory and enables them to navigate stressful situations better.
Encourages early child literacy
Starting the habit of reading as early as possible can help them foster a lifelong love of reading that will continue to benefit them throughout their life.
Additionally, it can help children learn new vocabulary, and become familiar with syntax and story structures.
Starting a new habit can feel like a daunting process. Here are some easy tips to help:
- Where to find the right book – making the right selection when it comes to getting children excited to read is essential. The book you choose should be one that they can easily relate to the characters and the story. Librarians and teachers are excellent resources for suggestions. It’s also a good idea to look at online reading lists.
- Check the books out first – once you’ve found a few books, take some time to read them yourself first. This way, you’ll be able to gauge your child’s reaction and see if they’re interested in the story. This allows parents to ensure they’re not reading a trickier book just before bed.
- Right book at the right time – when it comes to bedtime stories, it’s important to make sure that the book is age-appropriate. For younger children, shorter stories with lots of pictures are usually best. For slightly older children, you can start to introduce chapter books.
- Finding a reading nook – When you’re ready to start reading, find a comfortable spot and get cozy. This is a special time for you and your child, so make sure that there are no distractions. Dedicate at least 15 minutes to reading together.
- Monitor child’s behaviour – if your child is showing signs of fatigue, it’s probably time to stop reading for the night. However, if they’re still engaged with the story, feel free to keep going! You can always pick up where you left off tomorrow night.
Embedding a new habit will take time and consistency. But, with a few easy steps, you and your child can be on your way to bonding over bedtime stories.