Why is reading to your child so important?
Well, I believe that reading to your child takes on many elements and benefits that are so invaluable in a child’s life.
It would seem that if you put the question out there on the internet or even ask a family member, teacher, friend or complete stranger (yep I did, I asked strangers) there is a lot of information out there and an array of opinions and reasons why we read to our children.
If you have read a little about myself in the “About Me” and my post “List of Classic Children’s Books – According to My Children” you would already fully understand, that I am not here to add to the overwhelming amount of information out there. Instead, I want to try to break the information down and make it a little easier to wrap your head around.
The topics you are going to read about below take on the more emotional connection associated with reading to your child more so than that science behind it. My article “Why reading to Your Child is important – Memory, Attention and Cognitive Development” explains more around the cognitive aspects of reading to your child and hope you may also find that article helpful. As a mother of teenage boys I have also tried to add my thoughts around these reasons and what they have meant for my children as I reminisce on their younger years.
An Emotional Connection
I think as parents and caregivers child bonding is really important to us. We want to spend time with our children and even better, we want to spend quality time with them.
I believe, that when you are reading to your child you have an opportunity to zone into what may be going through their beautiful minds. When reading to a child you can find out so much about where they are during that time, by just watching the expressions on their faces, body language and how they are responding to the book you are reading to them.
When I would read to my boys, I felt it was my time and opportunity to check in on them. I have always worked, yep I am one of those working mums. I honestly don’t know any different as I have worked from the age of fourteen and it was just the way I was raised. So I never took maternity leave or any time out in fact, so this time in the evening was really precious to me in more ways than just getting their reading in.
I think this is also why I would sometimes read a book over and over. It wasn’t just for recognition of words or how they would jump in because they knew the next line, but also because I could use this opportunity to check in with their mental health and emotions.
Do you also do this?
Sometimes, it may just reveal that they were a little extra tired that night, or it may have revealed a deeper issue or thought process that they may need a little extra help with.
Sometimes if I knew they were really enthusiastic I would take that opportunity to delve even further into the book and ask them more questions regarding the text, such as, why they thought a character acted they way they did or even have them invent a solution to a problem in the book.
I have to admit I think I learned more about my children during these 1/2 hour reading sessions than most other situations they were in. Which of course I very grateful for now as I look back on those times.
I remember even one time realizing that one of my children was running a temperature just by the way he was responding as I was reading to him, and knew something seemed off. I think if I haven’t taken that time out to spend with them I may not have realized this. He was fine, and was only a mild temperature but I was glad to get onto it. There may even be a chance that this ensured both him and I had a better night sleep that night.
So the research may show many other reasons why reading to your child deepens and emotional connection and probably all of them are relevant in some way, and would definitely not dispute these findings. For me though, this time with my children went way beyond reading a great children’s book, but instead an invaluable chance in time to get to know them and how they were processing the world.
Sometimes the importance of reading to your child is part of your own family values. This concept in itself is a wonderful notion.
Like you may have read in my previous article when I interviewed my children about their favourite reads, it would seem that story time moments created memories that they may choose to emulate later in life… only time will tell.
Reading to your children may be something that you remember as a child or even something that you wish to make a family value, that is important to you and your family.
In the end family values are very personal, I believe that each and every family tells a story through someway or another. It may even have nothing to do with children’s books and that is completely OK too… because they are your family values on how story time occurs in your home.
What is the right time to stop reading to my child…
If you delve into the research on this one you will be digging around for ever….
As a mum of children in the earlier teenage years I have to admit that on occasions I still find my self reading to my kids in a way or another.
I am definitely beyond the sitting or laying in their beds and reading a children’s book, which I believe off memory that finished in the early primary years, so maybe around the age of 7.
However, I found myself just this week, reading many pages out aloud to Mr.13 in regard to his first English Cat Book Review. As I mentioned early in the Cognitive Development section, researchers say that reading out aloud helps to make connections. So I found myself reading out aloud to Mr.13 to help and assist him to make connections between “text to self”, “text to text” and “Text to world”… yep if you are anything like me my eyes boggled the first time I heard this as well.
Shaping their Lives in someway…
I believe, that regardless of any research behind the importance of reading to a child I think parents need to do this for reasons that are important to them.
It is obvious that the research strongly suggests the benefits of reading aloud to a child, and if you wanted to explore further you will find a plethora of benefits and some really interesting reads. However, if you are a bit like myself I enjoy the simple things in life, reading to my child as I wrote above was an amazing opportunity to bond with my children as I am away from the home a lot. I was able to utilize this time that best suited my family and my situation and I am sure I didn’t always get it right.
I also believe that every single one of these reasons that we have spoke about above were also large contributing factors to why I choose to adapt story time in my family.
On a side note, I certainly wasn’t able to utilize story time every night, but I did always try to make that time a great experience that hopefully created some positive memories in their beautiful minds.
I would love to hear your reasons why you read to your children and what it means to you and I hope this post has been helpful to you and your family in some way or another.
Until next time…
Happy Reading to your beautiful Children and to Loving Life,