The benefits of reading to your child are well-researched and new benefits are being found as studies continue. Reading to your child can be one of the most important things you do for your child to help with their development. I have two children, 12 years old and 5 years old, and every night either my husband or I read to our 5-year-old at bedtime and when my husband is home, he still reads to our 12-year-old. My 12-year-old loves it when my husband lays down and reads to him because he knows that is his uninterrupted time with his dad and I can tell that after a stressful day, they both appreciate and enjoy that quiet time together.
Here are a few reasons why bedtime reading is important for children:
- Reading to your preschooler increases their reading ability and language skills later on. These are two skills that your child will need throughout their school years and beyond.
- Reading to your child encourages a love of reading and learning new things because they will see it as fun and not just a requirement when they start school.
- Allowing your preschooler to help turn the pages improves their motor skills. My daughter has always loved turning the pages. When she was younger, around 2, she went through a time when she would NOT let me turn the pages.. I guess turning the pages made her feel very special.
- Reading the same books multiple times improves a child’s memory skills. Your child will remember what happened the last time you read the book to them. This will help them with memorization on tests and quizzes in school.
- Reading stimulates a child’s imagination and curiosity. Your child will be interested in learning new things because of the stories they read. As your child encounters new situations and new environments in the stories, they will learn about things they may never experience on their own.
- Reading improves a child’s attention span. Children are drawn into a story and want to know how it ends, which makes it easier for them to sit still longer and continuing reading. This will be beneficial when your child has to focus on a subject in school or study for a test.
- Reading helps preschoolers bond with their parents. It becomes a special time that you spend together; It will create memories that will last. This has proven to be true even with my 12-year-old son. He still enjoys bedtime reading with my husband.
Tips for bedtime reading:
- Have a set bedtime ritual and stick to it! We have dinner, then bath time, brush teeth, then snuggle up in bed and read 3 or 4 stories.
- Read to your child even when you are stressed or have other things you feel like you should be doing during that time. I often find myself thinking that I could be emptying the dishwasher, answering emails, starting laundry, vacuuming the living room, or taking a shower, instead of reading to my daughter but for me it is a fact that reading to my 5-year-old calms me down just as much as it does her. I benefit from the quiet, relaxing time just as much as she does and I get more done after she’s asleep since I’ve had a few minutes to relax and read.
- Have an older sibling to read to their younger sibling every once in a while. My 12-year-old son will occasionally read to my 5-year-old which is a miracle considering they usually don’t speak to each other as if they are related. Once my 12-year-old gets into the book he’s reading to her, this time becomes fun, and reminds them (and me) that they can get along and learn from each other.