Having kids can be exhausting, so when it’s time for the kids to go to bed, parents often breathe a sigh of relief about having some quality ‘me’ time.
But, there could be one thing you’re forgetting, if you’re hurriedly putting the kids to bed in anticipation of watching the latest episode of your favourite show, or thinking about that evening glass of wine that is calling your name, and that’s reading a bedtime story.
Not only does reading a bedtime story to your little ones instil a passion for reading and creativity, allowing them to shine when it comes to writing creative stories; it also means that their vocabulary is increasing without them, or even you, realizing it. An average four year old will ask 437 questions a day, so it’s more than likely that your child will ask you what that new word means, or will even lead him to question the deeper meaning of the story you read him.
All too often, we dismiss books in the home, instead favouring electronic gadgets such as the iPad to keep our little ones quiet while they play videos and games, but it only takes ten minutes to read a story which will help your child flourish in the future. As the Daily Mail argues, “Not only do they (books) contain rich and varied language that fires the imagination, but children are required to work their memory to follow the plot”.
If you read a bedtime story to your child from an early age, research has shown that this habit will increase the ability to process words in a child, freeing up the brain to think about the next word in a story, or even the plot development. This is not only useful for their literary skills, but will help your little ones in their life, as they become more aware of the world around them, becoming more curious and open as a learner. As Psychologist Dr. Fernald writes, “You are building a mind that can conceptualise and imagine, and think about the past and think about the future.”
The most important thing of all about reading your little one a bedtime story, is the bond it gives you. As you work to spend time reading a bedtime story together, you can engage in conversations about the characters in the story, and get to hear your child’s opinions about the problems the characters may find themselves in, as well as thinking of ways to solve it before you continue reading. Reading a bedtime story helps you to get to know your child and his way of thinking, and when you get to come home at night after a stressful day, there is nothing better than relaxing with your child through the world of creativity.