Story time with your child
30th August 2013
As toddlers grow up they tend to become busier and less dependent upon you for their needs, but that doesn’t mean your relationship should suffer. Reading a story at bed time allows them to spend some quality time with you away from the distractions of school, nursery, meals and electronics.
This quiet time together will strengthen your relationship and give your child an opportunity to speak to you on a one-on-one basis. At this point it would also be beneficial to discuss their day, such as a high and low of the day so you can address anything which they might not have enjoyed during the day. It is also an enjoyable experience for you because they may want to snuggle up in your lap, a seldom had opportunity if your child is particularly hyperactive!
A bedtime ritual
Establishing a good routine before bed is an excellent idea if you struggle to either get your children into bed calm enough for sleep, or to stay asleep. From a young age it is a good idea to establish a routine which works for you and gets them into the habit of looking forward to going to bed. The story itself focuses their attention, and if they are a particularly television obsessed child it also makes sure their eyes get a rest from the light of the screen.
Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by electronic devices mimics that of the rising sun and can have the same rousing affect, which as you can imagine is highly detrimental when you or your children are trying to fall asleep as your brain is programmed to stay awake. A story is something they will look forward to, especially if they are allowed to pick from their favourites.
Encourages learning & participation
With the plethora of electronic entertainment available, even incorporated into nurseries and schools alike, reading has become a somewhat unfashionable pastime for even older children. Encouraging your children to read develops their skills in a number of ways.
They will have a greater level of concentration, reading ability will develop at a faster rate, and if you encourage your children to participate in story time by reading out small paragraphs they will become proficient speakers too. All of which will assist them in their school years as you have helped them to get a good grip on reading or continue to practice the skills they have learnt in school at home.
If your child is not yet forming full sentences or perhaps even speaking more than few words, listening to you speak – particularly if it is reinforced with pictures – they will become familiar with the words and associate it with the picture in front of them, helping to encourage learning and speaking. If you have let them pick the story they are more likely to remain engaged throughout and want to eventually pick up the story themselves rather than always listening to you!
For these reasons and many others, story time is an excellent learning and bonding tool. Many nurseries also have a dedicated story time throughout the day so you can be sure your child learns a love of literature from a young age!