Late-night bedtime stories were always the best. My mom loved to read to my older sister and I when we were kids just before we went to bed. I would argue that that's when I started to fall in love with books, and I think my mom would easily agree. Childhood is filled with blissful memories, but those nights spent reading and talking about my favorite characters were some of the best.
As a new aunt, I recently got my niece her first bookshelf and filled it with every single childhood book I could think of. And there's no greater joy I get than knowing she's being read to, and the times that I get to read to her. With a ton of studies done on the topic and proving reading benefits kids at an early age, it's practically common sense now to read to your children. It can start as early as they're born. Getting to listen to your soothing voice and interacting with colorful illustrations is just the beginning.
Books are fundamental to a child's growth and development. You probably already knew that, but there are plenty more reasons focused on why reading with your kids is so important. Reading is usually a solitary act, but it doesn't have to be. By reading aloud with children, it sparks imagination, enhances vocabulary, and is most importantly so much fun. Here are 10 solid reasons on why you should always read to your kids:
1. It Builds A Stronger Relationship
Reading together is a time focused on just the two of you — and the character's in the book, of course. It's personal, often cozy with a blanket or two, and builds trust. It's not time spent in front of the television or your iPhone, it's quality one-on-one time that allows you and your child do something fun together.
2. It Gives Your Child A Bigger Vocabulary
When I was a kid and every time I read a new book, I tried to sound like the characters I loved most by using their phrases and big words. And if you've ever worked or been around with kids often enough, you know that the moment they learn a new and exciting word, they try to use it as often as possible.
3. It Builds Values And Morals Early On
When it comes to learning how to share, dealing with bullies, and instilling honesty in children, books are one of the best teaching resources. Children's books are all about morals and values — sharing, honesty, kindness, etc. Practically any valuable lesson your child needs to learn can be easily taught through fictional stories.
4. It Could Lead To Academic Success
Multiple studies have shown that parent involvement in early literacy is key to academic success. And it's easy to see why. If kids are exposed to lessons, language, and diverse stories at an early age, they're more than likely going to be more open to learning new subjects at school.
5. Basic Speech And Listening Skills Are Enhanced
Reading aloud to your child every night not only gives them the chance to read to you, but also lets them listen to you. And when a small child can listen to you read for an hour, it shows they have a great deal of patience and focus, as well as a building trust in you.
6. It Sparks Imagination And Creativity
Unlike playing an iPad game or watching a cartoon show, reading forces you to picture it all happening in your mind. It makes children work to see what's happening by listening closely and imagining it with the information they've been given. And once that begins, it's easy for imagination to take off like a spaceship and spark new, creative ideas for your kid to enjoy.
7. It Brings The Fun Back Into Reading
Reading sometimes gets a bad rep for being boring or dorky. There was even a point in my early life where I felt like I shouldn't read because it was only meant for homework. But, by reading with your kid, you bring a fun and personal enjoyment to the act. It might even start a lifelong love of reading for your child like it did with me!
8. It Serves As A Conversation Starter
With a thousand different children's books on a thousand different topics, introducing the subject of something like becoming a big brother or sister or what to expect on the first day of school can be easily talked about with books. I know for me, the issue of divorce was brought up through a book called Dinosaurs Divorce by Lauren Krasney Brown and Marc Brown. Books are easy to relate to and can sometimes act as guides when it comes to talking about new or difficult issues with children.
9. It Can Become A Tradition
Starting a new family tradition is exciting for both parents and kids. While you might not keep up the act of reading to your kids their entire lives, it may set the tradition up for book giving at holidays or reading as a family in one room. Either way, starting a tradition as calming and relaxing as reading to your kid every day will make the both of you feel secure and loved.
10. It Becomes A New And Unique Way To Say "I Love You"
Books not only teach love, they can easily become a form of love. And when you take the time away from checking emails and dealing with family stress to spend time reading with your child, that's one special way to tell them that you love them. It becomes even more exciting when they start to look forward to the reading time, too, because that's a definite sign that they truly love you.
Images: David D/flickr; giphy (11)