Most of us are used to witnessing our children falling asleep on the living room couch while watching TV. The practice of reading bedtime stories to your child, which before technology and gadgets took over our lives, was the traditional way of indicating to children that they should be shutting shop for the day and get some much needed rest. The art of bedtime story reading seemed all but a lost cause, given the hectic pace of modern life and the resulting lack of time.
Good news is, the practice is being revived, partly due to the concerns arising out of children’s overdependence on modern gadgets and electronics games. The other major concern is a lack of communication between children and parents, especially if both parents are professionals spending a large amount of time away from home.
First, let us look objectively at some of the pre-conceived notions held by us adults about children and see for ourselves if there is any truth in it.
- Children have short attention spans: Not always true. In fact, one could keep them engrossed with right content and narrative. We have definitely come across children who prefer such activities as reading and painting to TV and video game consoles.
- Children like ‘modern’ entertainment: Not correct. Children will always remain children. Curiosity is what differentiates them from adults. Grownups are partly responsible for making them rely on gadgets, television and electronic games.
- Children must be tech-savvy: Most parents feel the real indicator of their child’s development is the child’s ability to operate gadgets. While this ability has its benefits, the real education is about getting your child to THINK – positively and creatively.
So, let us examine the benefits of making reading with your child a bedtime routine and how it can contribute to the overall development of your child.
- Fire up their imagination: Great ideas are products of the power of imagination. Constant exposure to visual media can sometime hinder this ability. Don’t let their ability to visualize weaken. Reading with your child gets them to use their imaginations.
- A chance to bond: Reading with children at bedtime is great for bonding. The last memory before they fall asleep should be a pleasant one as it makes them sleep better. Getting plenty of sleep is key to your child being active and energetic during the day.
- Encourages love of reading: When children are read to, they may not always understand everything that was read to them. Their curiosity will lead them to do further research. At some stage, parents’ help is sought and these interactions are always good.
- Give them attention they deserve: Children love attention and the lack of it may lead to insecurities and behavioral problems. Reading with children is your way to show you care and that the child will always remain the center of your affections.
- Reinforcing moral values: Reading with your child at bedtime is a great to way to initiate a dialogue between the parent and child. Discuss a few scenarios in the narrative to know what the child thinks about a particular action or situation. Parents can guide them to follow the right path by explaining to your child the reasons for it.