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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

9 Reasons to Read Bedtime Stories to Your Children

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It's never too early - or too late - to start reading to your children. When they are babies, you can snuggle them after their bath and enjoy quiet moments with a sweet picture book. Once they get older and start reading themselves, don't give up on bedtime stories. Reid Lyon, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, stated "Neural research shows that when parents and caregivers interact verbally with children - which includes reading to them - kids learn a great deal more than we ever thought possible." Children get so much out of being read to by their parents. So, after a long day of activities and spending time outside getting energy out on playground, here are nine great reasons to make books part of your family's bedtime routine.

1. Children get to spend more quality time with you, which is so important.

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After a long day of activities and spending time outside getting energy out on playground equipment, children need quality time with their parents, and reading together nightly makes for excellent quality time. Your child gets the predictable routine of reading and yet each night provides a new adventure via a new story. Cheering the book's protagonists and booing the villains also provides bonding moments. And when your child shares their thoughts about the characters and plots? You gain valuable insight into how your little one views the world.

2. Children develop stronger reading skills, even if they are unable to read the books themselves.

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Children learn expression, punctuation, and pace from the sound of your voice. Reading to children exposes them to language, literary conceits, grammar, and the idea of how books work. As you pause for punctuation marks, raise or lower your voice to match the story, or speed up or slow down to reflect tension they are picking up on all sorts of literary conventions.

3. It can help establish a quality bedtime routine that children look forward to instead of fighting.

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Bedtime battles are a familiar issue for many families. Getting children used to reading books they like as part of their bedtime routine gives them something to look forward to each night. Making bedtime something they look forward to instead of something they dread should cut down the amount of fighting over beginning their nightly bedtime routines.

4. A variety of books can expose children to diversity and different viewpoints. Try graphic novels, news articles, books from authors around the globe, etc.

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Reading opens new worlds for readers, and this is especially true for children. Choosing books written by a variety of authors of different races, genders, religions, and parts of the world will expose your children to a variety of worldviews. As they get older, choosing a variety of book types will expose them to even more viewpoints and a wide variety of literature. So, just like you challenge your children to try new things out on the playground, like new play equipment, challenge them to try a new book that they might not have thought of before.

5. It can help infants develop language skills.

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The more words a baby hears encourages their brains to build a richer language network in their brains. Children who are read to and spoken to often know more words by age two than children who live in less language-rich environments. Reading regularly to pre-verbal children lets them have more words to copy, and will improve their vocabulary.

6. It helps children develop sharper focus and attention span.

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Researchers have found yet another reason to make reading a nightly habit in your home. Babies who are read to on a regular basis, and children whose parents indulge in make-believe games with them, have fewer disruptive behaviors and attention deficit related issues than children who were not read to regularly.

7. Reading to children helps them become good writers.

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Good communication skills are a key part of having successful school experiences and even having wide career options open once your children reach adulthood. The best way to help them develop great communication skills? Reading. Not only will they develop a rich vocabulary, but they will also learn what good writing looks like.

8. Children who are read to develop an appreciation for literature.

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We live in a time rich with the written word. Books, short stories, comic books, graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, and web content abounds. Some of it is of higher quality than others. Children who develop an early relationship with books develop an appreciation for well-written and well-crafted literature.

9. Reading relieves anxiety.

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Reading is soothing for both children and adults. A recent study by Sussex University shows reading just six minutes a day reduces stress levels by upto 60%. Reading to children also teaches them that reading is a self-soothing behavior, so when they are older they can turn to a book in an anxious moment.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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