Bedtime bonding: 5 benefits of reading to your child
There’s something magical about children’s books — not just the creative storylines and whimsical illustrations but the memories that are built through reading together. There are many benefits of reading to your child, from social to school-related perks. Here are five reasons to incorporate reading into your daily routine.
• Reading helps them sleep. Taking time away from technology and high-energy games before bedtime calms minds and bodies to help children fall asleep more easily. Children’s books get their minds thinking about creative and inspiring topics before falling asleep, guiding them toward positive dreams.
• Reading improves communication skills. Children who read frequently will be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way, according to research conducted by Reach Out and Read National Center. Reading aloud models positive communication — including the importance of active listening — while strengthening children’s linguistic abilities. Dominic Massaro, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has said picture books are two to three times more likely than parent conversations to contain a word not included in the 5,000 most common English words. Children who hear uncommon words are exposed to an expanded vocabulary that will aid them throughout their education.
• Reading creates bonds. When you take the time to read a story to your child, it demonstrates intentional attention and allows for time set apart just for the two of you. In today's technology-saturated world, it’s important to build an emotional connection with your children — without a screen or any other distractions.
• Reading teaches your kids the basics. Children’s books teach a myriad of topics — from life lessons about friendship to the fundamentals of rhyme and rhythm. Starting a reading habit at an early age will lay the foundation for issues and ideas that will help children as learners. Twenty-six percent of children who were read to by a family member three or four times in the last week recognized all letters of the alphabet, compared with 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently, according to studies conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Time spent reading has a direct impact on their knowledge in and out of the classroom.
• Reading improves logical thinking. It’s no secret that developing a regular reading habit enables children to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic, recognize cause and effect, identify themes and use good judgment. These critical thinking abilities will not only help children in future English classes, but they can be applied to learning as a whole and to their construction of social interactions. According to CNN, researchers discovered during MRI scans that the regions in the left part of the brain became active when listening to a story. This is the part of the brain associated with understanding the meanings of words and concepts and with memory recall.
Read to your children as often as possible — and continue to take the steps toward a closer relationship and a successful school career.