While reading to our children is fun and a chance to spend some quality time together, what many parents don’t realise is that this activity is providing far more benefits to their children than they could ever imagine. The benefits of reading to your child are limitless but for the sake of this article, we’ve listed the ones that we think are most important.
The benefits of reading to your child
1. It nurtures the parent and child bond
As your children grow, they spend their days exploring and discovering non-stop until it’s time to wind down for bed with a story. Many children look forward to storytime as it’s their special time with you where they have your attention and they feel close to you. In time, you’ll find that reading to your child gives them a sense of intimacy, one that improves your communication and helps you bond with each other.
2. It provides routine and stability to your child
One of the big benefits of reading, especially if it’s at a set time in the day such as cuddling up with a book at bedtime, is that it provides routine and stability for your child. As children are constantly learning new things day in and day out, routine and stability are essential for your child to learn to take a breath within the busyness of the day to recharge and wind down. If you do this every day, reading will become a nurturing activity rather than a task or a chore.
3. It sparks their imagination
As we read, our brains translate the descriptions that we read of people and places and things into pictures. For young children, not only does this allow them to engage in the story but it also fuels their creativity when they bring this knowledge into their everyday play.
4. It forms strong foundations for their learning abilities
If you read to your children often, you are exposing them to a wide range of language and vocabulary as well as multiple environments and experiences that they will learn to relate to. The benefits of this is that it leads to children developing skills a lot earlier than children who don’t read, skills that are essential to learning and life such as:
- Communication and listening skills
- Basic speech skills
- Thinking skills and logic
- Literacy and numeracy skills
By reading to your children, they learn to understand cause and effect, the consequences of actions, and the basics of what is right and wrong. It is also essential for their language development! Studies have shown that 8-month-year-olds who were read to often as babies have higher “receptive” vocabularies (meaning the number of words they understand) of 40% compared to children of the same age who were not read to (16%).
5. It helps them perform better in school
It’s probably no surprise that one of the biggest benefits of reading is that children who read more tend to have a higher academic performance. When you thihnk about it, it makes sense:
- The intimacy of reading with your children every day makes it a pleasurable experience.
- This fosters a positive attitude towards reading and learning.
- Reading also enhances concentration and self-discipline.
- Children who love to learn tend to have longer attention spans and better memory retention which help them perform better in school.
- Reading and communicating to your children exposes them to a larger range of vocabulary which helps them communicate and learn in school.
- Reading often also helps them to develop a higher competency for learning in multiple environments so they are more prepared to adapt easily to each day in school.
6. It helps them to become more accepting
Helping our children be more open-minded is something that will set them up for life. Reading does just that as it teaches children about empathy and about different cultures. From a young age, children will lose themselves in stories but as they grow, they soon learn about different cultures and customs and they start to relate to characters and imagine how they would feel in certain situations. Empathy and an open mind are both essential to help them communicate with people and to make positive changes in the world around them.
7. It helps them to conquer the fear of a classroom and become less anxious in general
Have you noticed that reading calms your children, especially when they are distressed or restless? Many children, as they grow, become nervous about new experiences or situations especially if it’s something that they find scary such as the first day of school. By reading books that are relevant to them, this can help relieve their anxiety considerably as they now know what to expect. Over time, you’ll soon find that they learn to cope better with these negative emotions too.
8. It makes them want to keep on learning
One of the best benefits of reading is that the learning never stops, no matter how old you are! When our children are babies, they develop their senses by feeling tangible materials and listening to sound effects. As they grow, they then learn the basics of reading a book (such as reading from left and write, stories continue when you turn the page etc) as well as words, numbers, colours, shapes, sounds, and concepts. As they grow even older, children expand their chain of knowledge and become motivated to find out even more about certain things that they are interested in. Even as adults, there’s always something to learn by reading!
9. It helps build confidence as well as positive life habits
Reading at home every day teaches your children that this activity is fun and not a chore. It also gives your children the confidence to be able to read out loud in a classroom full of people. While these may not seem like incredibly important traits, this simple activity sets them up for life. When it comes to reading books to study for exams or presenting to a class full of teenagers when they are older, your child will have the confidence to go ahead full steam. Not to mention that reading will become a pleasurable (and healthier) habit for them too, to wind down when the day is done!
Is reading a part of your routine?
As you can see, the benefits of reading to your children are vast. Not only is it essential for them to develop as individuals but it also brings you closer together too!