Enjoy this blog post about the benefits of reading stories to children at bedtime by Super Mum and Freelance Writer, Serena Assih.
Once this has been completed – inclusive of appropriate character voices, you’re gently warmed from within by the feeling of satisfaction at successfully closing another day. At this point, your little one drifts off into a peaceful sleep and you silently tiptoe out of the bedroom and head downstairs for some much needed adult time.
While this may be an idealised version of events, there is real evidence that nightly reading to children has many positive benefits. As a mother with three little darlings at home, it’s reassuring to know that my efforts are helping my children in multiple ways, apart from just trying to get them to sleep. Due to their ages, currently six, four and seven months, this is an activity that we’ll be engaged in for several years to come.
The Benefits Explained
So how exactly are you aiding your little cherubs by sharing stories before bed?
Exposing children to a wide variety of language gives them the opportunity to add new words and expressions to their own speech. Reading enables this process of language acquisition and development to happen more quickly. Stories also allow them to gain knowledge about concepts which are not part of their everyday lives, for example, polar bears, penguins and sea lions.
Improves Logical Thinking
While reading the same books over and over again to our children can be tedious for us as adults, it’s quite the opposite for youngsters. When encountering a story for the first time they do not catch all the details. Each time they listen to it being read they notice new things. Eventually they learn to recognise patterns and will begin predicting what will happen next. This ability stays with them as they move through school and can help in several subjects such as maths, music and writing.
Learning how to turn the pages of a book gives children the opportunity to develop their motor skills, starting with chunky baby friendly board books all the way through to weighty tomes with wafer thin leaves.
Better Attainment at School
According to research, attainment at school at age eight has a lot to do with how quickly that child was able to process words when they were two years old.
Emotional and Social Development
A child who progresses well through primary school is said to be more likely to continue onto higher education, have better employment prospects, stay married and be less likely to go to prison.
An important part of children’s development is learning how to cope with stresses, such as moving to a new school, being bullied or the arrival of a baby sibling. During times like these, the body produces the hormone cortisol which is responsible for ‘fight or flight’ response. If there is too much cortisol present, it can stop a child from learning, but snuggling up in bed being read a favourite story can actually reduce stress levels. That also goes for parents too.
Because I’m Happy…
The benefits of reading bedtime stories to your precious little angels are quite substantial. Each day’s investment of a few minutes of time is creating a greater chance of raising a happy, balanced and well-adjusted young person. So read on Mums and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunties and Uncles and be encouraged that you’re doing a great job.
Sereena Assih is a freelance writer at finerwords.com