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Read Across America Day is March 2nd. If you haven’t gotten into the habit of reading to your children, it’s the perfect day to start. I can’t stress enough the importance of reading books to children. Actual books.
Remember those? The ones with covers you hold in your hands, pages you turn with your fingers and words that require your voice to bring them to life? I know, I know, I’m old school and maybe out of touch. But there’s science behind me. Here’s why.
Studies show that engaging in tablet-based reading may be difficult and not as beneficial to children. Toddlers demonstrate less interest. They are more likely to squirm, push parent’s hands away, and disengage. Parents and children talk less and therefore have fewer opportunities to relate the content to real-life experiences, which hinders learning. And electronic books with audio functions replace the parent's role altogether and limits those relationship-building interactions that are vital to a child’s development.
The shared experience of sitting next to each other, holding the book, turning pages, and reading out loud helps strengthen the parent-child bond. This intentional time spent together signals to the child they are important, valued, loved.
“The shared experience of sitting next to each other, holding the book, turning pages, and reading out loud helps strengthen the parent-child bond.”
That’s because these types of interactions are just that—interactive. Parents and children feed off each other’s cues and reactions to the stories and pictures which help build a child’s cognitive, communication, and social skills. Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child calls these “serve and return” interactions and deems them vital to building the architecture or wiring of the brain. Serve and return interactions are also the basis for achieving Erikson’s first stage of emotional development; the building a sense of trust in the world. In the very young, these interactions stimulate learning because they activate the senses. This sensorimotor learning is one of the hallmarks of Piaget’s cognitive learning theory.
I get the allure of digital/audiobooks. But the act of sitting together and reading an actual book is something I don’t believe you can replace. Besides, haven’t we all had enough screen time this year? I guarantee the time spent cuddled up with your little one reading will end up being some of your favorite memories…and theirs, too.
Here are some of my favorite books:
Books For Self-Esteem
Books For Potty Training
Books On Friendship
Books On Feelings
Be kind to yourselves and others.
Until next time,