Let’s talk Coginitive Development and a Healthy Brain…
In my earlier article titled, “Why Reading to Your Child is Important – What does this mean to you?” we touched more on the emotional aspects and benefits of reading to your child and the bonding that accompanies this experience. However, in this article I wanted to look into more of the science behind reading to your child including creating a healthy brain and the cognitive benefits.
As you can imagine there is so much information related to this topic, but in true Bec style I have tried to nut out the key points and simplify such an intense subject. As I have mentioned many times before, we live in a world with so much information, and is it very easy to be becoming overwhelmed very quickly so I hope you find this information helpful.
What is a Healthy Brain?
It would seem that in many publications researches speak a lot
about how reading to a child develops a healthy brain.
What is a healthy brain?
Well, there are many views on this as well. Some say it stimulates
imagination in a young brain. By exploring books that involve
fantasy, worlds of another kind or even familiar settings (with added
value) create an environment where children wonder and think outside
their own environment.
I personally would completely agree with this, as many of the
children’s books that I have read to my children in their earlier
years have them thinking on many levels. I believe that the books you
read to your child, especially the ones you read over and over
definitely inspire and create imagination, regardless of whether it
is complete fantasy or something they can relate too.
Let me explain further… For example let’s use one of my child’s
favourite books from when he was young, “Ducks Stuck” by
Kylie Mewburn. He mentions to me, later in life, that even though
this book was set in a familiar setting to him which was animals at a
farm, he not only related to the animals at the farm but also because
it had him wondering if the animals at his grandparents farm also
spoke to each other in their own language. This is something I had
not considered many years ago when reading this book, but it
definitely makes sense to me how he would then use his imagination to
come to this conclusion.
So imagination and understanding the world through books does seem
to be a very significant and important part of their development of a
healthy brain .
Researchers also conclude that reading to your child in the early
years can assist with sleep, reduce stress, language comprehension
and cognitive connections which I will cover a little later in this
Let’s Talk Cognitive Development
When I hear Cognitive Development I think of many ways that our
minds connect the dots to the environment we are in and how we
process these links. I am quite sure that isn’t the true definition
of Cognitive Development, but it is how I have simplified this
concept to adapt in my situation.
It is said that reading to a child can help in the improvement of
focus. Memory or creation of memories, language and vocabulary,
literacy and overall helps them to better understand what they see,
hear and read. Of course there are many more reasons, but I wanted to
pick a handful of important aspects that I see come up time and time
I believe that when you read a book to your child you are not only
exposing them to the language or languages that you speak, but you
are also expressing through stories the many ways of exploring “cause
and effect” through analytical processes.
What does that all mean…
Well for example when you read to a child you are exposing them to
a situation that may or may not occur in their own lives. Through
these experiences, you are creating in a safe place where you can
read a book and help them to connect the dots to what the story is
about, the setting, maybe the problem and therefore the solution. You
may be reading an informative book about another country and allowing
them to make their own connections on the similarities and/or
differences in their life.
Either way you are helping to enlighten, uncover, manifest and
introduce a whole array of experiences that could prove to be
invaluable in their life to come.
I remember many times over the years using the aid of story time
to help my children to handle a situation better than what they
currently were. I think this is a great use of Cognitive Development
at work because I was able to utilize my developing skills as a
parent to choose a book that could not only help my child in a
situation, but also explain why this may be occurring and how it may
be effecting another person.
Sometimes it is not always age appropriate to sit a child down and
speak about their feelings or maybe you may not feel comfortable with
that. Well never fear there is plenty of help out there, I am sure
there are many books available to replicate a similar challenge that
can easily be explained through your story time.
How long should I read for?
Research shows that generally 20 minutes per day is the usually
Does it matter though what the recommended time is?
Sometimes my story times went way longer than 20 minutes and
sometimes the kids didn’t even last 20 minutes and they were asleep or that they were bouncing of the walls and I felt it was more kid wrangling than reading.
Not sure if the was the book I choose or if they were just tired but
either way I think you understand my point.
I would say that if you and your beautiful little one are having a great time and enjoying yourself then just keep going. However, I you both don’t seem to be giving it your best or it feels like it just isn’t working that day then that is fine also and try again later or the following day… not every day will be perfect for reading to your child and that is OK too so don’t feel like you have failed your child by not reading to them that day as I assure you they will be fine.
Memory, Attention, Cognitive Development and more…
I believe that regardless of the endless research and information about the science behind reading to you child, all of these benefits play an important role in child development. I also believe that is some way we actually embrace all of these and many more and we aren’t even aware that we do.
Reading to your child is such a wonderful tool and skill you can use to empower your child, and whether it be through reading a book, road signs on a road trip, menus at your favourite restaurant or reading the instruction booklet of a board game or new toy your building for them, all of these are in some part reading to your child. So again I would never worry about a night missed of sitting down and capturing every character in the story like your the next buddy actor/actress but instead taking a deep breath and notice all the little things you are doing to empower our little ones.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic above and if you have another topic or benefit that you would like me to research then make sure you comment below and I would love to look into it for you.
I hope this post has been helpful to you and
your family in some way or another.
Reading to your beautiful Children and to Loving Life,