When children are young, they start absorbing things in their environment and use them to form their personalities. If you introduce certain habits early on, chances are that they will stick with them for the rest of their life.
Reading is a great hobby to have as it helps pull you away from electronics and relaxes you as well. However, reading is something that needs to be developed. Children aren’t born readers. They have to be exposed to books and showed just how magical they can be.
The best way to foster a reading habit in children is to read with them. However, just reading to them is not enough. You have to ensure that they understand and enjoy the reading experience. Only then will they be inclined to start reading voluntarily one day.
Reading to your child is extremely important, and there are many ways that you can ensure that you are effectively reading to your child.
Why is reading to your kids important
Reading to your kids is not only important from an educational standpoint. There are many benefits that you can reap if you sit with your children and read to them. Here are some reasons why reading to your kids is important.
When you read to your kid, it is an excellent opportunity for you to discover your child’s interests and truly bond with them. It also allows you to spend some time together. Most people have hectic days, but reading to your child can be a nice way you relax and slow down.
It also enables you to understand who your child is and helps develop a parent-child bond. When you are reading to your child, you are creating a safe space where the child will feel secure. Reading to your child is also a great way to introduce knowledge early on.
Language and Cognitive Development
Reading to your child allows your child to develop their cognition earlier on in their life as they decipher the story and make sense of all the characters. Furthermore, studies show that children who are read, have higher scores in cognitive development and language skills. They also have excellent problem-solving skills.
Such verbal interactions between parent and child at an early age may also be the reason why such children have higher IQ scores.
Reading books to children also introduces them to various new words. Therefore, it helps expand their vocabulary and gives them new words to describe and explain things. When you read to your child, you may come across new and different words that the child may not have heard before. If you explain its meaning, they will most likely remember it and use it later on.
Children whose parents read to them are also better at explaining and expressing themselves because they have the vocabulary to do so.
Reading to your children also helps improve their attention span, as they develop concentration and self-discipline skills. They may squirm and get distracted at first, but over time, you will notice that they will sit and listen attentively. Part of the reason why is because they understand what you are saying, and they are genuinely curious.
When your child is listening attentively, they will develop a longer attention span, and it may also help their memory retention skills. As they grow older, they will be able to remember things better as they have had practice from when you read to them as a child.
Tips on how to effectively read to your children
Just reading to a child will not be as fun for the child. To help make the entire process effective in fostering a reading habit, you must do certain things so that reading becomes fun for both you and your child. Here are a few tips on how to effectively read to your children.
It is never too early to introduce books, words, and stories to your child. You can start sharing books with them when they are still babies. They may not understand the words, but it can be a nice way to bond. You can cuddle with them and let them look at the pictures as they listen to your voice.
If you want to read books to your child when they are still little, you should start with black and white books. These colors are all that they see in the early days when their eyes are still developing. Thus, showing the black and white books may be better for them.
Some mothers also talk to their bumps as the baby can hear sounds when they turn 18 weeks. Your voice may help comfort them even before they are born.
Make reading an everyday thing
The best way to make any act a habit is to incorporate it into your daily routine. The most effective way to read to your child is if you do it regularly, on an everyday basis. Try and set apart 15 minutes each day to sit with them and read. You can increase the time as they get used to it.
Over time their attention span will also increase, so you can read to them for longer if you want. The best time to read is bedtime, as they are already in the mindset to relax. Reading to your child can help them pay attention as they are not in a rush to move on to a new activity.
Allow them to pick a book to read
When you are reading something you don’t want to, it is never fun, and most people are unable to keep their attention on it. The same thing applies to your child. If you read something that does not interest them, chances are that they will wiggle and not concentrate on the story.
Therefore, you should allow your child to pick the book they wnat to read for themselves. This act also helps them develop their personality and enables them to discover what they enjoy and what interests them.
Picking out books to read is also a fun experience and gives your child a sense of freedom. Sometimes your child may pick the same book again and again, and that’s fine too, as long as they are enjoying the experience of you reading to them.
Sit with your child
When you read to your child, sit close to them. You can also encourage your child to hold the book themselves if they are old enough to do so. The best way to sit with them is to have them sit on your lap and help you turn the page.
When the child is actively involved in the activity of reading, they will be more immersed in the experience. Furthermore, sitting them down and involving them helps reduce the chances of distraction and helps your child focus on the activity at hand.
Use fun voices
When children are young, they are more interested in things that are exciting and stimulating. Therefore, you should ensure that your child is fully immersed in the experience of you reading to them.
You can use different voices for different characters, and use your face and body to show expression. It will make everything much more fun for yout child, and they will be genuinely delighted by your efforts, and that way, you can get them to like reading.
However, if you read to your child at bedtime, making the story too exciting may stimulate them, and they may refuse to go to bed. Thus, it is best if you save the more exciting stories for during the day and simply read to them in a calm tone at night.
Don’t overdo it
There will be days when your child will simply not be interested in the story, and it is okay. You should know when to stop and put the book away. If your child is having trouble concentrating or they are not interested in the story anymore, it is perfectly okay to keep it aside and do something else.
Forcing your child to sit and listen may have a negative effect, and they may start to develop an aversion since it may seem more like a chore to them. You may face such issues in the beginning. Thus, it is best to slow it down and only read for a few minutes and increase the time day by day.
Talk about the pictures in the book
Most children’s books are supplemented with pictures to help capture the attention of the child. Use that to your advantage. Point at the pictures and explain what the picture is trying to depict. If your child is old enough, you can also ask them to explain what they see and what the picture is showing.
This activity can help increase their observational skills. It also equips them with the appropriate language and skills to explain themselves. Furthermore, pictures in children’s books are often colorful and fun, so your child may have fun picking the picture apart with you.
Reading is a wonderful habit to develop, but it does not come about suddenly, and parents have to put in the effort to show their children how wonderful books are. In the modern age, many find it more convenient to hand their children various devices. However, there are many benefits of reading.
When you read to your child, you can help them in so many ways. Reading is not just a form of gaining knowledge and knowing a story it can help form a bond with your child. If you read to them daily, you can create a safe space for them. However, one must know how to read to their child effectively as that way they will reap all the benefits, including getting ready for kindergarten.