Why We Should Read to Our Kids at Night
By Sandy Schroeder
With busy schedules that often spill into the evening, it can be hard to fit kids' storytimes in, too, but making the effort can be important.
Child Development and Parents focused on this issue recently, citing research that shows reading and numbers skills increase significantly when children are read to three to five times a week. Here are some of the other special things that happen when we make time to read with kids.
Bond with your kids - Story time at bedtime can be a unique way to grow closer to your kids. As the house quiets down and kids wind down, reading a story and talking can be a reassuring way to stay in touch with your child, building trust and feelings of security. When kids have problems, this can be a time to confide, too. Let them choose their favorite stories and lead the discussion.
Fuel their imagination - Helping them do well in school is important, but opening the door to imagine what might be out there can be magical. Providing a great mix of storybook creatures, and real time animals and people, books can take them wherever they want to go. When they read with you, they may begin to realize just how much books can offer.
Learn to love words - Starting with beginning story books and continuing on with special interests as they grow, reading to them can help them learn more and more new words. As their vocabularies expand, their love of books and confidence in school may grow too.
Teach real values - Simple stories when they are little, and more complex plots later, can carry messages about right and wrong that kids may want to talk about. Sometimes that can be an easy way to talk about things that happen at school or in the world, helping kids form their questions and sort through things that they may not fully understand.
Enjoy the fun - As they grow older, books can be a special pleasure for kids that they can enjoy wherever they are. Discovering how much fun books are when they are little may plant a seed for a lifetime of reading.
Broaden their world - If you have wondered around a children’s library, you know there are books on almost everything. This can be an opportunity to broaden their world, introducing books about countries around the world, topics on health or science, all sorts of animals, and countless other topics, whatever you think might interest them.
As you settle into a comfortable reading time each evening, savor the opportunity. This is your special time and theirs. Make the most of it.
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