I think, I hope, that everyone knows that reading to children greatly benefits them in many ways, from birth until you can keep them in at home long enough to spend those precious moments with them. But how does reading to your children benefit them? Let’s find out…
All the benefits below all interlink with each other in some way or another
Choices of reading material
It is important to remember that you can read all sorts to your children; fiction, non-fiction, comics, poetry, joke books, recipe books, encyclopaedias. Throughout the day there may be moments you can read shorter books to your children such as comics, small poetry books or leaflets. In the evenings, I have always found in my nannying jobs with older children that reading something that is slightly more advanced than their own reading ability is a great time to share together as a bed time story. This alone ties in with the other benefits listed below.
You are giving your children opportunity to increase their vocabulary – always stop to answer any “what does ….. mean?’ questions – it also creates a time for you to bond together over a story. Often a more advanced book is a longer book, which is nice to share over a number of days. It creates a time for relaxation before bed which can increase the quality of your child’s sleep. For both young and older children having the same bedtime routine that is finished off with a story, in our experience, improves how easy the child goes to sleep and the quality of sleep immensley.
By reading all kinds of material to your children, it greatly improves their knowledge of the world around them. For young children it can help them improve vastly on everyday activities that later occur in their lives, such as starting nursery, going to the doctors, a walk in the woods. They will often refer to a book you have once (probably more!) read to them.
Vocabulary and Imagination
By reading frequently to your children and keeping the contact varied, children’s vocabulary increases significantly. You are also teaching them how to use these words within sentences and every day life and about many subjects, as often your actions and words over a normal day are fairly repetitive. Their understanding of language also increases for example, understanding the difference between fiction and non fiction or understanding pattern of rhythm in poetry.
Whilst living in an ever increasing didgital world, it is now more than ever important to read to your children to foster their imagination. TVs and games may have their place in today’s world, but their creators have used their imagination to make them, not to make you use yours. Whereas descriptions in books create pictures in your mind and no doubt they are all different in each person’s mind. Books enable you to get lost in the story, have feelings towards the story and they take it’s readers on a journey that can create`the childhood memories that will last forever. I certainly can name a number of books that I can still hear being read out loud to me as a child.
As touched upon previously, when you read varied material to children you are immersing them in the world around them. Cultures, behaviours, feelings, places, events all occur in stories and other books and at a more rapid rate than in reality in order for it’s reader to learn about them. This fosters imagination to flourish, conversations to begin and questions to be asked by the child.
Any time! With busy lives I often keep a car box in the boots of the car, filled with small activities and books for moments of pause between pick ups or journeys with slow traffic. I keep the content wide and change it up every couple of months so the children stay interested and engaged with the selection.
When at home, ensure that there are books on offer all around the house. Take the time to notice that your child has spotted a book and is flicking through the pages and offer to read it to them, or always be ready to listen to a part they have found interesting themselves.
Reading together create great bonds and childhood memories. I fondly remember being read to before bed as a child and it is one of those things that I know I will be taking forward to do with my own children one day. Children get both the physical and emotional benefits from reading with an adult, sitting or cuddling up together with a book creates a safe and relaxing environment for children – one that they certainly thrive in.
Going back to many of us leading busy lives and binding, reading a book to your children may be the only time on a week day where you really get to spend uninterrupted time with your child. For both of you it is a time to stop and only ficus on the pages in front of you. With many children already having busy school lives and many playdates it is vital to be able to slot in this regular time to have time to unwind before bed.
We LOVE reading to our charges (and ourselves) and also review our favourite books on the blog. If your want some book inspiration for children, go to our “Books” tab on the blog…or click here!