The reason why it's so important to read to your children every night
One of my very favourite parts of parenting is bedtime.
Not so much the battle to actually round them up and convince them that yes, it is indeed time for bed. Or the pyjamaing and the teeth brushing and the seven million rounds of "I'm thirsty/I can't find my teddy/I think I need to pee again."
No, the bit I really love is our storytime.
Ever since my little girl was very little (too small to understand what we were reading at all, really) we have ended our day with a bedtime story. Or, correction, two. Because she was always allowed one story in English and one in Norwegian, as we were raising her to speak both languages, and this was a great way to incorporate both at bedtime as well.
And ever since our little boy joined the family too, we are still sticking with the two stories (one each) every night. This is our snuggle time. When we all crawl into the big bed and read, first his book of choice for the evening, then hers.
I love how my four-year-old now often picks books his sister loved at four too. I love reading stories over and over again until we all pretty much know them by heart. I love seeing how this very routine is so important to them and how, hopefully, this will spark a life-long love of books and reading in them both.
And while our little bedtime routine is very much a thing we do because we enjoy it, it is also a comfort to know that study after study shows that reading to children has all sorts of benefits too. In fact; research has shown that early reading with children helps them learn to speak, interact, bond with parents and read early themselves.
And don't even think about stopping reading to your kids just because they at some point learn to read for themselves. Why? Because studies have shown how reading with kids who already know how to read helps them feel close to caretakers, understand the world around them and be empathetic citizens of the world.
Here is what Liza Baker, the executive editorial director at Scholastic, which just released its Kids & Family Reading Report had to say to Washington Post recently:
“It’s so important to start reading from Day One,” Baker explains. “The sound of your voice, the lyrical quality of the younger [books] are poetic … It’s magical, even at 8 weeks old they focus momentarily, they’re closer to your heart.”
As they begin to grow, Baker says families should make sure books are available everywhere in the home. And that reading to children should not end when kids begin to read on their own. “As they become independent readers, we tend to let them go, but even kids in older demographics love nothing more than that time with their parents,” Baker says. “We’re blown away that kids time and again said the most special time they recall spending with a parent is reading together."
Tell us, mamas; do you read to your children? What age are they? Did you always read to them, or have you found yourself reading less to them as they get older? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie