It’s International Book Day on Saturday, 23rd April. Did you know that? I’m sure you got a clue, given how all our social media time lines are being filled by kids this week, dressed up in their favorite book characters. No different in our home either. Ava went to school dressed as Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians today and when we were checking out her dress up costume yesterday and still discovering the joys of Snapchat:
Do you read to your children? I started reading to Ava when she was still a little baby. It was part of our sleep routine that we incorporated from the time she was very young and we’ve stuck to it all these years. And the routine sleep signals have worked wonders in our house to help getting our kids into bed without a fuss. They just know how their evening will pan out, by 19h30 everyone is in bed. Then we have story time and then it’s sleep time.
End of story.
As a result, we have collected about 100 kids books over the years so there is always a story to be told.
I feel kind of bad for Hannah though. Because she’s always been the easy child when it comes to bedtimes, she’s missed out on a lot of story times. Because for her, I can just put her in bed, kiss her goodnight and leave her. She will NEVER EVER get out of her bed or monkey around. Sleep time is sleep time.
Not so with stubborn Miss Ava. She will do what she wants to do. Monkey about, find a million reasons not to go to bed, like needing the toilet, needing water, not tired, can’t sleep, lie with me, etc etc every single night and so she has had story time from very little.
Hannah has been having some speech issues and we’ve been researching ways, aside from Speech Therapy, which starts next month, but more on that later… and one of the things that keeps coming up is the importance of reading in speech development. So we have recently instituted story time every night for Hannah too and she LOVES it.
Here are some of the benefits I’ve discovered about reading to my child:
- It builds a bond. It’s special, quiet time one on one with my children that encourages bonding between us as well as extra special cuddles because I lie in bed with them while reading stories.ti
- It encourages discussions because we don’t just read, we also discuss the pictures. And I hope will stand my girls in good stead when they’re older to discuss and debate and share thoughts and opinions.
- It encourages imagination, especially at Ava’s age because she will now embellish on the stories being told, adding in her own twists and turns to the stories.
- It increases concentration.
- It increases vocabulary.
- It fosters a love of reading, as an avid reader myself (I’ve read 40 odd books already this year) I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how trashy the novel, there are always new words to be learned and this has been hugely benefited and broadened by own vocabulary.
- It calms and settles my children prepping them quickly for bed and transitioning them to sleep easily.
- It encourages curiosity and a love of learning
- It builds listening skills
- It can increase their IQ
- It broadens their horizons and helps them think outside the box by exposing them to characters and situations different to their own.
- And most simply, on the days when we have extended power outages, it’s a great way to keep the kids entertained for a little while. Heck, my Kindle and running head lamp are what keep me going in the dark at night, during a power outage.
The most amazing thing of all is that I’ve learned that reading to my children needn’t be a tedious and long activity, even if it’s just 5 – 10 minutes of reading a night, the benefits are outweigh the time it takes.
Do you read to your children?