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As a parent, there are many things you do for your kids, but what you may not know is that reading together should be high at the top of the list. Studies have shown that starting as soon as possible, even when your child is still in the womb, is an excellent way to bond. But there are so many more reasons why reading together can enrich both of your lives, especially your little ones.
Advantages to Reading with Your Child
There are plenty of advantages to reading with your children. As a matter of fact, there’s no reason not to. If you’re not yet convinced, here are just 10 of the ways reading together can benefit your child:
- Reading exposes your child to your native language and helps to grow their vocabulary.
- It educates your child and helps to prepare them for school.
- Learning about the world through books exposes your child to places he or she may not know exist and helps the child to understand them, notably different cultures.
- Reading helps the imagination and creativity grow.
- Reading together is also a fun way to pass the time, especially on long car rides, late sleepless nights, or when you’re waiting for an appointment.
- If you read to your child as early as possible, you will most likely foster a love for books and learning that sticks with your little one for a lifetime.
- By reading a book together, your child learns to settle down, concentrate, and focus on an activity.
- Depending on the story topic, your child may learn about science, history, nature, business, and so much more. Reading can even pique your child’s interest in a subject that leads to more learning, a hobby, or even a future career.
- Reading to your child can be comforting, especially in the earlier years. A parent or guardian’s voice is typically soothing to an infant or toddler.
- When you read together, you teach them that reading is a good thing and can be an enjoyable hobby, not just something you’re forced to do in school.
How to Make More Time to Read to Your Children
Of course, in today’s busy world, it’s sometimes hard to find time to take care of both you and your children’s many needs, much less add additional reading time. Luckily, it’s not too hard to squeeze in a few moments with a book every day when you make a little extra effort.
Keep books in your diaper bag, car, or purse. If you’re ever stuck waiting at the doctor’s office or in the car, you can pull it out and read right there.
Make it part of your bedtime routine. Brush your teeth, put on your PJs, and choose one book to read each night. Mix up the types of books you buy or check out. Instead of epic stories, pick out some short ones to share as well. Read a little at a time. Look for books with short stories or chapters so you can break up your reading time and not do it all in one sitting. Put down your phone. Your Facebook feed will be there forever, but your child is only young once. Make a library or bookstore visit a part of your weekly or monthly routine.
More Tips for Reading with Your Kids
Now that you’ve made time to read, it’s essential to have a little fun with it. Try reading in cozy spots or even creating a special reading nook, tent, or chair. Talk to your child about the book as you go along. Point out pictures, and praise your little one when they read a word on their own or guess what is going to happen next. After the story is over, talk about it. Ask questions, such as what you would do if you were in the main character’s same situation.
How To Get a Child Who Doesn’t Like to Read Interested in Reading
Unfortunately, not every child is going to show immediate interest in reading. Don’t give up hope just yet. If you find yourself in this situation, look for books and stories that focus on your child’s interests. For example, if he’s into dinosaurs, search for stories with dinosaur characters or even nonfiction books about the topic. Also try letting your child pick what you read, even if that means going to the library or bookstore for new material. Find other ways to make reading fun. Add a related craft project or use special voices when you read out loud. You may even find books based on favorite TV shows or characters.
The best way to encourage a lifetime love of reading and learning is to start early. Read to your child, even when he or she is a newborn, and keep it up over the formative years. Eventually, your child will begin to read on their own, but keep reading together as long as they are interested. If you didn’t read to your child as an infant, it’s never too late to start developing a young reader.