More than just a simple reading of a bedtime story, this cosy ritual has more benefits than you think.
WORDS SAMANTHA TAN
Reading a bedtime story – this is a great nightly habit to cultivate with your family and the role of the storyteller is one of the best and rewarding parenting privileges. Well, if you have not started this tradition with your little one, it’s never too late! Here are some benefits that reading bedtime stories bring.
Wind-down After a Hectic Day
As you should already be well aware, children have limitless energy and are constantly bouncing off the walls. It is necessary to have some wind-down routines in place so that they go to sleep without fighting, screaming and refusing. This is when reading a book helps as it is an excellent way to get your little one to calm down. Sitting or lying down to read a book together is rather soothing and this helps their heart rate to slow down. It is also a good way to relieve anxiety by relaxing her mind and body as the story takes you away.
Creates an Opportunity for Individual Time
If you have more than one child, reading a bedtime story together can be another way to spend some quality time together one-on-one. Try to do this for each child alone as this ensures that your child gets your full undivided attention for at least 15 minutes.
Nurtures Your Child’s Imagination
Now that visual stimulation is so prevalent in the form of tablets, television, mobile phones and more, it is rare that children get to tap in their imaginations.
One way to provide some stimulation for your child to use their
imagination is through reading a book. Together you can go on fantastic journeys,
explore new worlds, go back in time, scale mountains or discover jungles —
all without even having to step through your front door.
Encourages Love for Reading
For now, reading is a pleasurable activity and when you make reading a pleasure, you’ll never have to encourage your kids to read, they’ll just do it naturally. Thus, by reading to your kids, this turns them into readers which will eventually become a lifelong habit. Later in life, reading may open the door to writing. After all, we can't write if we can’t read.
Improves a Child’s Vocabulary
Children can comprehend higher level vocabulary and follow a more complex plot long before they can read it on their own. Bedtime stories, especially once you advance to chapter books, is a chance to expose your children to a wider range of new words. By allowing them to infer the meaning of those words in context, you will have expanded their spoken and contextual vocabulary immensely. A mistake that parents often make is assuming children will only pay attention to picture books with bright and colourful illustrations.
Provides an Opportunity for Learning
Not everything has to be an educational opportunity but learning does happen all the time. Reading aloud at bedtime is the perfect time to capitalise on that. Reading a well-written historical fiction or novel set in the time period allows children to absorb facts while being captivated by an engrossing tale. Other than that, reading a book about aeroplanes will inevitably lead your children to pick up interesting facts about aeroplanes, pilots and more. It can also help to express their individuality by aiding them in discovering interests that may not be covered by their school curriculum. It can also be a good time to impart some life lessons to them by discussing events that took place in the book.
Develops Communication Skills
Story reading helps in the development of your baby’s oral communication skills, listening abilities, memory, and language recognition skills. You can start to strengthen their vocabulary and different sentence structures from a very early age and in time, your baby shall learn to communicate through body language, verbal methods, listening and written words just like you.
Reading to your baby exposes them to all the sounds in our language
and so by the time they turn one, they would have heard all the
sounds required to speak their native language.
Stimulates Cognitive, Social and Emotional Development
Long before your child is able to speak, they are already absorbing information about language by listening to the stories you read. This will certainly be helpful when your child starts their education. In fact, babies as young as 10 months are able to learn when to turn the pages and recognise new words. In addition, as your little one continues to grow, they would learn the art of reading from left to right. When they are around one year old, they start to develop their problem-solving skills by listening to bedtime stories. Through reading, children can also develop social and emotional skills. How so? Illustrations and stories go hand in hand, and this allows your child to develop ideas and thoughts about different toys, animals, birds and so on. Soon, you will find them using new words to think, feel and express their feelings.
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