It's hardly a parenting secret that encouraging a love of literature in your children is hugely beneficial. We all understand that literacy is key to their success in the wider world, but when living busy modern lives, we often leave what they read and how they read to the educational system.
Below we've highlighted why reading to your child remains a magical and crucial experience. Beyond filling their heads with knowledge, it helps reinforce the unique bond you share and helps their imagination soar!
Imaginative thinkers help shape the world around us and inspire change daily. Those willing to approach life in a different way than expected are the ones who discover exciting new paths and often find success along the way. You'll often read how people at the top of their fields are avid readers, continually feeding their brains with literature. Do a quick search on the favorite books of some of the world's industrial and political leaders, and you'll soon find many fantastical novels included.
Reading forces your child to create characters and places inside their head that they've never encountered, to descramble intricate situations, to utilize critical thinking, as well as help nurture their emotional understanding. When the barrier is between 'real’ and 'pretend' is forgotten, the possibilities are endless. As Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
By sharing a book with your children, you are showing them that reading is not only fun but something that can be enjoyed at any age. Those who continue to read regularly into adulthood improve their chances of success and are given the tools to combine ideas and information from a host of different sources.
Of course, it's not all work, work, work - promoting a love of literature provides your children a wonderful hobby, a way to escape the world when they feel like it, and a welcome silent break for busy parents. While films, music, and videogames can equally inspire, reading puts the world-building aspect entirely in their hands. Without them, they'd simply be lifeless words - they imprint a bit of themselves on what they are imagining.
Luckily the past half a century has seen an increase in the time parents spend with their children. Childcare techniques have evolved far past the 'seen but not heard' ethos of older generations, and allowed families to forge far stronger bonds. Despite this change, it's still sometimes a struggle to find time outside of meals and weekends to grab those precious moments with your children.
One-on-one reading offers a real sense of intimacy and interaction, and it doesn't just have to be at bedtime. While there's nothing sweeter than seeing them head to the land of sleep as you narrate, a good book can be put to use at any time of the day and practically anywhere. It's also a great way to remind your children that books are always there when they need them - and not just related to schoolwork or falling unconscious.
Reading to your children is a two-way street, and should be treated not as a formality, but an opportunity for you to relax too! We're all guilty of switching our brains off and staring at the TV or aimlessly scrolling through our phones, but reading is far more beneficial.
In recent years we've all read about the importance of cutting back on our screen time, a lesson we should really be imparting to our children from a young age too. Parenting can feel like a never-ending to-do list sometimes, so why not embrace a few moments where you too can sit back, relax, and let your imagination go on a ride? If the book allows you to try out various characters' voices, you'll also be rewarded with a sense of play often missing in adult life.