Language acquisition among children has always been a topic of curiosity among scientists. A child’s brain is often extremely susceptible to influence due it’s
One of the best gifts you can give your child is reading to them every day. And the sooner, the better. Even when the baby is not yet born, but lives under your heart. And don’t stop if the little one has grown up and can do it on their own. It would seem like such a simple activity, but according to psychologists and research findings, it produces amazing effects. Further in the article, we will tell you how bedtime reading can help you build trusting relationships with your children, develop their imagination and speech skills, as well as enrich their vocabulary.
Reading as therapy and a family tradition
When you read to your kids, you are actually doing much more than just voicing fairy tales. It is hard to imagine how much benefit this activity brings. A quiet place, hugs, the voice of the closest person – and shared leisure transform into the process of building trusting relationships and developing attachment. It is the guarantee of wonderful relations now and in the future alike.
According to Svitlana Roiz, child and family psychologist, daily reading with parents can become a warm memory or even a family tradition that your child will keep even in adulthood. It will help to avoid losing the connection between you and your kid during such difficult times as adolescence – the period of separation.
Fun fact: reading before going to bed can be called therapy. After a long eventful day at kindergarten or school, active walks, and meetings, the tradition of bedtime reading will help slow down. During this time, it is important to put aside all gadgets and things that can distract you. Spend 15 minutes reading together. Then, you may be sure that you really have quality time together. Your daughter or son will feel that you are nearby and will be able to let go of their worries and enjoy listening. Even children who don’t seem to be fond of reading or listening to someone else read books will look forward to this daily ritual.
10 bonus reasons to start reading to your kids before bed
Joint evening gatherings with a book in hand have many advantages. Let’s talk about some of them.
- Prevent speech problems
Reading to babies from the first days of their life is preventing speech issues and developmental delays. As stated in one of the articles by MD Heidi M. Feldman, by active talking even with babies and reading them fairy tales, you provide them with a rich lingual environment. This, in turn, is a preventive measure to avoid speech issues. Read more about the works of this Professor of Pediatrics at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7236655/.
- Falling asleep faster and sleeping better
It has been proven that the use of gadgets and screens in the evening harms both children and adults. Reading and listening to books before bed, on the contrary, soothes and helps to relax and fall asleep faster. Research shows that children who are read to before bed have fewer problems falling asleep and sleep better and longer. Sometimes, a kid falls asleep in the middle of the story, without waiting for the end.
- Rich vocabulary
As a rule, children learn to speak by imitating the language of their parents. By listening to and reading fairy tales, they learn new words and expressions that are rarely heard in everyday communication. And that’s why their language becomes richer and more interesting. The Ohio State University conducted an interesting study, determining the average number of words in children’s books, which buyers choose the most often. Then researchers calculated: if parents read 5 children’s books to their little one every day, then by the time the child reaches the age of 5, they will hear 1.4 million more words than their peers who did not have such an experience. An incredible number, isn’t it? Just imagine how much more vivid your son or daughter’s vocabulary will be if you start a tradition of daily reading. Whether it is an encyclopedia of dinosaurs, funny poems, or a collection of educational fairy tales – each book has its own special set of words that will have a positive impact on child development.
- Helps fight stress
Reading before bed is a soothing activity that allows relaxing, forgetting about all concerns and everyday worries, and immersing yourself in the interesting world of fairy tales. It has been proven that such leisure activities reduce stress levels and help get rid of anxiety. Children also experience lots of concerns, which may sometimes seem not serious to us, but kids feel differently: what looks like a little thing to adults, can be a tragedy for children.
- Teaches life skills and morals
From a good fairy tale, children can learn a lot of information they might need in life: how to resolve disputes, be polite, make friends, and what to watch out for. In the books, they will find different life situations and patterns for solving the same problems. Therefore, carefully choose children’s books to be sure that these stories bring lots of benefits.
- Stimulate communication
When you read with children, you have a good opportunity to stimulate communication with them. You can discuss the characters and their actions together in a relaxed atmosphere and ask simple questions. This will produce a positive effect on their ability to think about what they heard and express their opinion.
- Develop imagination and creative abilities
In the world of fairy tales, real miracles can happen, and unusual things become possible. Here, you will find fairies and characters’ supernatural abilities. All of this has a very good effect on the development of children’s imagination and fantasy. These abilities are essential and will be needed in the modern world, which increasingly needs non-standard thinking and new ideas.
- Instil the love for books
Most parents want their children to love reading, to be well-versed in various things, and inquisitive. This is where you can become a kind of reading PR manager who will develop this passion in children. If your child sees mom or dad reading, and you have a tradition of reading before bed, you have every chance of raising an inquisitive reader.
- Help in case of speech delay
Reading to children can help even when a child’s speech development is delayed. Not all situations require treatment, each case is individual and requires consultation with the specialist. Sometimes, a specialist can recommend contacting a speech therapist, using special programs for encouragement, communicating as much as possible, and reading much, because all these activities, taken together, give wonderful results. More advice can be found in the medical article at https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2011/0515/p1195.html
- Develop attention and memory
When a child listens to fairy tales, they train their memory and attention, as they need to grasp the idea and keep the plot in their head. It requires more concentration than watching a cartoon. The ability to focus and concentrate will later help a child do better at school. And you can develop these abilities in your little miracle from an early age.
How to get the most out of evening reading?
We have collected some more simple tips, for this bedtime ritual to bring maximum benefits and pleasure to both you and your kids:
- Choose books based on the child’s age. For the smallest, cardboard books with beautiful illustrations and very small text will work just fine, while for older children, you can take longer stories. Do not forget that everyone, even adults, likes incredibly beautiful pictures in books.
- If you come across a word in the text that may seem complicated for your little one, stop, explain the meaning and give an example. After all, if your kid does not understand the meaning, then they will want to distract themselves and switch their attention to something else.
- Reading before bed should be associated with coziness, warmth, and hugs, rather than some difficult task or punishment. So don’t rush and set ambitious goals for the number of chapters or pages read – better enjoy the process. Then, this activity will have every chance to become a favorite family tradition or relic.
- If you aim to quickly put the child to sleep, choose calm stories that set the mood for sleep.
- Take your time when reading, so that the child loses neither the storyline nor interest. Articulate all sounds and words clearly, because by listening to your language, the kid enriches their own vocabulary and hears how words should be pronounced.
In addition to books, all kinds of interactive games and programs will help develop speech and practice the pronunciation of sounds. One of them is Miogym, a mobile app, which makes speech therapy an exciting game. It includes a variety of tasks that will compel your child, encourage them to pronounce the first sounds, as well as facilitate mastering such difficult sounds as [r], [s], [l], and many others. You can download this miracle assistant app by following this link: https://apps.apple.com/app/id1384886803.
May it be easy for you to develop a friendship with your children and implement warm family traditions, and for your children – to pronounce even the most difficult sounds and explore the world!