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Why is it important to read to your children

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

We are always told to read to our children but do we really know the WHY?

Parents are always told to read to your children, but why exactly is that and does it matter when, what or how we read to our children. Of course it makes sense to read to your children and help them learn to read, as well as develop a love for reading, however the benefits of reading to your children from a young age goes far beyond literacy skills. Reading to your child also helps a child's development in many other ways.

Reading and sharing stories can:

  • Spark your child's imagination and curiosity

  • Helps develop your child's brains attention, ability to focus, concentration, social and communication skills.

  • Help your child to distinguish between "real" and "make believe", or fiction and non fiction.

  • Assists your child to develop new skills to understand how to deal with new or emotionally triggering events.

  • Help your child to understand their cultural background or the cultural background of others

Read to your children

Books can help to teach your child empathy and learn how to deal with challenging feelings

In our practice we often use books to teach our younger children about helpful and unhelpful emotions. We teach the child how to deal with big emotions like Anger or Sadness. For example - "have you ever felt angry like the girl in this book"? or "what would you do if you felt angry like this girl in the book"?

Connectedness and the Parent - Child bond

In today's busy world, we often struggle for any time for real connection with our children. Sitting with your child and reading to them is not just about the activity of reading. Even a few minutes of reading time before bed, gives you and your child a chance to slow down, disconnect from devices and spend a few minutes together connecting. This is also a sensory experience with your child sitting with you, relaxing and hearing your voice. This will help making learning easier and more enjoyable.

Read to your children

What to read...........The million dollar question?

The answer is simple. What to read depends on your child's developmental stage in life. When your child is a new born, read whatever you want to read. This time is more about the close cuddle and the sound of your voice whereas when your child starts to get older the content starts to matter more. It is always important to develop your child's love of reading by reading something they enjoy. When they are a toddler this can be something with bright pictures, sensory add ins like fluffy tails on a cat or dog. Don't be concerned by them wanting to read their favourite book over and over again. This is very common as children love repetition - this same repetition is how your child will master language.

As your child moves into primary school you might want to use the book as a bridge to discuss something that the child might be experiencing themselves like bullying.

As your child grows older and more independent, you do not have to lose this connection of reading, you may want to reverse the reader. Have your child reading to you. This allows you to hear their vocabulary expanding, ensuring they understand what they are reading by asking them questions afterwards and most importantly.....extending that valuable connectedness for a few more years

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