My daughter is now seven years old and one of my parenting regrets is not reading to her enough as a child.
However, it’s never too late to foster a love of reading in your child!
Recently, I began reading Peter Pan to her at bedtime. There’s something about watching her fall asleep to a good story that makes my heart swell.
Also recently, she had a hard time falling asleep. Her first inclination was to read a book until she felt tired!
No matter your little one’s age, you can start helping them develop a love for reading. It all begins with creating the habit and demonstrating to your child the love of reading.
Keep reading to learn why reading to your child is important and tips on how to get them to love reading:
Why is Reading to Your Child Important?
1. Improved Language Skills
Reading to young children, even starting in infancy, can help them acquire language, communication skills, social skills and literacy skills. Reading to your child encourages development in the part of the brain that helps them understand language.
Plus, reading aloud to your children introduces them to important aspects of written language such as grammar.
2. Improved Imagination
While children will naturally develop an imagination, reading to them helps them to explore situations beyond their own experiences.
By helping them stretch the bounds of their imagination, they are also developing more creative skills that can benefit them not only in school but in work and life as well.
3. Better Concentration
Reading to your child can help increase their concentration, teaching them how to sit and pay attention for longer periods of time. Even toddlers will stop squirming when they are distracted by a good story.
Therefore, reading to your child can lead to strong self-discipline, a longer attention span and better memory retention.
4. Bonding With Your Child
From breastfeeding to babywearing, there are many ways to bond with your child – and reading is one of them!
Curling up with a book and sharing a story together gives your little one a sense of intimacy and well-being. It’s the type of positive attention children need in order to grow and thrive.
How to Get Your Child to Love Reading
Include Reading in Your Routine
Bedtime seems to the most popular time to read to your child. It’s the end of the day and all other activities are completed and out of the way.
Try to include reading into your child’s bedtime routine along with baths, brushing teeth and bedtime snacks.
Reading can also help reduce stress and better prepare your little one for sleep.
Build Up Your Library
Having a variety of books available for your child allows them to explore the types of stories and genres that interest them. Be sure to diversify the collection with age-appropriate material as well as joke books, graphic novels and magazines.
As your little one gets older, you’ll want to start encouraging them to read on their own, so having “libraries” available around your home to help develop the habit of reading.
Be a Role Model
Children learn through imitation so the more they see you reading, the more likely they are to pick up a book.
Perhaps you’re not an avid reader of fiction, but even seeing you read a magazine or cookbook is motivation enough for your little one to want to follow suit.
Once your child is at the age where they can read on their own, create some “reading time” where you both curl up with a good book.
So often parents are quick to distract their children with tablets and phones during activities such as grocery shopping or long car rides. Instead of defaulting to a screen to keep your little one busy, give them some books!
For example, my daughter picked up a Dog Man book in the grocery store one day. She held that book up and down every aisle, reading as we went along.
When she received a Would You Rather book for Christmas (the “gross” edition, by the way), she read it aloud to me during one of our drives.
Keep a few books on hand when you and your child are out and about. It’s a far healthier distraction than screens.
Sharing Books With Your Children
By sharing books with your young child, not only are you helping them develop necessary language skills but you are also planting a precious memory that will last a lifetime – for both you and your little one.
A world of experiences and ideas are waiting for you to introduce to your kids through reading!
What is your child’s favorite book? What was your favorite book from your childhood? Share with us in the comments below!