When you read to your child, they don’t just sit passively listening to the story. Your child is hard at work, absorbing each word you say, analyzing the intonation of your voice, and examining every picture. To put it simply, during storytime, your child is busy learning. Even if they look like they’re about to fall asleep, even if they’re running around in circles, their mind is working in overdrive unpacking each word you say.
Reading to your child is a huge investment for their future development. Establish the habit of reading to your child early, and help them start reaping the benefits as soon as possible.
One of the most important benefits of reading with your little one is the secure attachment it helps to form. When you routinely read to your child, you plant the seeds of a loving relationship and foster its growth. Just take a moment to imagine what reading with your little one looks like – sitting on the couch, your child nestled comfortably in your lap, while both of you focus on the same thing after a busy day. That is the epitome of bonding.
Take steps to include reading with your child as a natural part of your day. Many parents have it as a part of their child’s bedtime routine and find that it helps their little one relax and reconnect after a hectic day.
Reading with children has been proven to help them develop cognitive skills, showing huge benefits beginning as early as nine months. Scientists have found that babies routinely read and talked to typically score higher in language development and problem-solving skills.
If you make reading to your child a habit, there is a high likelihood of promoting greater cognitive development into their teen years. Researchers believe that this link may extend to higher IQ scores and improved language skills throughout young adulthood.
Books expose children to vocabulary words they wouldn’t usually encounter in their everyday lives. When you regularly read to your child, you greatly expand their vocabulary. One study estimated that parents who read to their children in the five years leading up to kindergarten introduce their little ones to over a million words more than parents who don’t. When your child starts kindergarten with an understanding of over a million words, that’s an undeniable competitive advantage.
Reading helps children to grow socially and emotionally, becoming more empathetic human beings. By reading fiction stories to your child, you can help them to understand better what others are thinking and feeling. Fiction has the potential to educate children about a variety of values and social behavior – a fantastic tool for teaching them about diversity and inclusion.
Additionally, there are countless books about children from various backgrounds that have to deal with real-life challenges like moving, starting a new school, or losing a grandparent. Use these books to help your child learn about these scenarios and process their feelings. Interact with the pictures in books to help your child name the feelings they see and normalize the emotions.
When you read a story, to fully understand it, your child must listen. When you read aloud from a book, you demonstrate meaning between the printed and spoken word. Depending on your child’s age, they might not initially understand this relationship, but over time they’ll grasp the meaning between the written word and comprehend what it conveys.
Listening comprehension is a crucial skill a child must develop fully before they can first read themselves. Prepare your child to read by pointing out this relationship between the written word and its meaning. Read to your child regularly to boost their listening comprehension and prepare them to read independently.
Boost your child’s creativity by providing them with an endless supply of different characters and worlds. Stories provide the perfect outlet for imagination and creativity for children. They get children thinking outside the box and can prompt other interests and ideas. Reading to your child will foster their vivid imagination and develop any new pursuits. Finally, creativity has been shown to promote emotional health within children.
When you read to your child, you both experience the rewarding feeling of time spent together, and you nurture a secure, loving attachment. Your child additionally benefits from huge cognitive and language benefits that last throughout their young adult life. Finally, reading to your child helps them to become a more empathetic human.
So what are you waiting for? Start reading to your child today!