Parenting Principle #3: Read, Read, Read
What are the parenting principles for raising happy, well-adjusted children? Here the focus is on the power of reading.
You know that reading to your child is important for the development of language and cognitive abilities. But there’s a lot more that happens.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed reading to babies, not just toddlers and children. Why is this is great idea?
Reading to babies is really talking to babies – and talking to babies is one of the most important things a parent can do. Talking yields much more than cognitive benefits. It’s a primary way to ensure social bonding. Reading offers the platform to express emotions which pique babies’ interest. And the act of moving your lips and conveying meaning in your eyes provides an endless stream of visual information that is fascinating to babies. So … in the first years of life reading is like dedicated talking and delivers a very rich payoff. And it’s also a way to make sure parent and baby are not preoccupied with screen time (we all get plenty of that now and reducing it here and there is a good thing).
In the toddler years, reading takes on an additional layer of importance in terms of providing a foundation for literacy. Again, the profit comes from not just reading but engaging your toddler. Interacting with them – by, for example, asking them to point to a picture, expand on an idea, answer a question, and even acting out the story – enriches the broader sense of communication skills and in fact promotes pre-reading skills.
As kids get older, and they are reading on their own, setting aside time for parents and kids to read in parallel sends the message that reading is important to you – and ensures that kids are reading. Don’t be afraid to let kids read books that interest them even if they don’t seem like they are books they “should” read. Reading is reading. Any reading is good. And parents and kids do well to read, read, read.
More in This Series
- Parenting Principle #1: Be Positive
- Parenting Principle #2: Talk, Talk, Talk
- Parenting Principle #4: Reduce Electronic Noise
- Parenting Principle #5: Cultivate Exploration
- Parenting Principle #6: Focusing on Others
- Parenting Principle #7: Embrace Intervention
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