Do you like green eggs and ham? Have you fed the very hungry caterpillar? Is it time to say Goodnight Moon?
Taking 20 minutes per day to read to your child might not seem like much, but this activity can have a significant impact on your kid’s life. There are countless benefits to your child’s growth, development, and education that come from creeping through a spooky Goosebumps book or laughing during a goofy Dr. Seuss tale.
If you’re looking to connect with your kids, check out these seven benefits of reading with them and then head to the library to pick up a book!
Reading Helps You Form Close Bonds
Reading together helps build many psychological bonds. You feel the same fear and relief as the hero when he vanquishes a dragon, and these connected emotions can last for several hours after the book is done. Cuddling together to read also helps form close physical bonds while building trust.
Interestingly, reading together in younger years can also help parents when their kids become teenagers. One mom shared her story of her kids who are 23, 21, and 19. Her kids still text her about the books they are reading and they have a small book club together. Kids who feel connected to their parents are more likely to approach them with problems and be honest about issues with school or their relationships. The bonds you form when your child is five will help both of you throughout their lives.
Reading Builds Cognitive Development
Cognitive development is “the ability to think and understand,” and is essential in both children and adults. Children who form strong cognitive development at an early age can become critical thinkers. They can learn to look for patterns and question why certain things are the way they are. In school, these skills are essential. Many math, language, and scientific principles are based on patterns. The sooner students can identify and apply these patterns, the better.
Reading gives kids a chance to flex their brain muscles, especially if you are asking them questions about the character, the plot, and what you think will happen next.
Reading Improves Behavior
The more kids read, the better they will be at focusing on one task and concentrating. These are two traits that most parents want in their kids and most kids need to succeed in school. When kids are better able to sit still and focus, whether they are reading a page in school or listening to a lesson, they can absorb more of the material and remember it in the future. Small steps during their younger years can set them up for a successful academic life until they graduate.
Reading Exposes Children to New Ideas and Cultures
When kids read, they can learn about what it is like to grow up in Japan, experience the sinking of the Titanic, and understand why their classmate has two dads. Books provide information to students that they otherwise would only get through the television or the Internet. In less than an hour, your child can explore a new culture or idea and better understand mysteries that leave them confused.
Books are the best friend of parents with kids in the “why” stage. If your child can’t stop asking “why” about a specific topic, head to the library to find a book that can help them.
Kids Are Introduced to New Words
Reading helps your child learn new words and concepts that they would otherwise only encounter in the classroom. The average adult knows between 20,000 to 35,000 words, and they learn an average of one new word per day until they reach middle age. Vocabulary learning starts young. Studies have found that the average five-year-old knows 5,000 words, while the average eight-year-old knows 10,000 words.
Reading together helps reinforce words and phrases learned in school, so your child remembers the meaning and can apply it to daily life. If your child is exposed to new words in books, they will be familiar with them when they are presented in a classroom setting. You, as an adult, can also keep sharpening your mind with words and phrases you might have forgotten.
Practice Makes Perfect
The more kids read, the more they will enjoy it. They won’t feel nervous reading in front of the class at school and won’t ignore their reading homework. Taking a few minutes to read with your child each day can help foster a love of learning and curiosity about stories out there.
Reading is a skill that kids will need throughout adulthood. Kids grow up and need to know how to think critically when they read the news or infer directions when they are at work. The better they are at reading, the likelier they are to succeed.
Reading Isn’t Expensive
You don’t need a cable plan or internet provider to get the books you need. Many libraries are open late and on weekends to accommodate families. Plus, most schools have extensive libraries with age-appropriate books. Reading only costs you your time. If you carve out half an hour each day for your child, you can foster positive memories and a love of reading that can last a lifetime.
It is easy to feel exhausted with the stress of life, work, and an endless pile of bills. However, taking the time to read to your kids can help you relax after a long day while giving your child the keys to succeed.