Amazing Benefits of Reading Bedtime Stories to Kids That You Might Not Know AboutThu, 17 Jun by Kunal
Reading bedtime stories to children is one of the best activities that parents and children can do together to improve their bond. But the benefit of reading bedtime stories is not limited to that. Reading to children at bedtime even before they can start understanding letters and words has several other benefits, such as setting up a strong vocabulary and phonics foundation, developing critical skills, improving communication skills, etc.
Let’s understand the importance of reading bedtime stories and why you should begin reading to kids early on.
It Contributes Significantly to Brain Development
The biggest and the most critical benefit of reading bedtime stories to your children is brain development. When children listen to stories just before they go to sleep, brain areas that support imagination and comprehension get activated. According to a study from the journal American Academy of Pediatrics in 2015, bedtime stories are correlated with neural activation in the left side of the brain that supports semantic language processing. This means that children who listen to bedtime stories start understanding sounds, words, and visuals, which contributes to their ability to learn and comprehend language even before formal literary training.
It Inculcates and Improves Communication Skills
Communication skills improve significantly when you talk to your child about things they can relate to. And what better can kids relate to than children’s stories that they hear every day? While reading bedtime stories to your child, you can pause and explain the meaning of new words in context to help them improve vocabulary skills. To encourage them to use words they learn, you can ask them to guess what’s next. To help them with pronunciation, you can use funny voices and teach them about the sounds of vowels. Building conversations and creating fun moments around a story is an easy way to get children to learn and communicate without any hesitation.
It Lowers Stress Levels
One of the biggest yet underrated importance of bedtime stories is that they lower stress levels in kids. Just how reading reduces stress levels in adults, bedtime stories help kids’ minds wander off to places they’ve never been before. This takes their attention away from the stress. Moreover, cuddling to read bedtime stories together reduces cortisol levels, helping kids relax.
It Improves Logical Skills
Kids often ask parents to read their favourite stories again and again. And with repetition, they start to notice patterns, such as rhyming words. They may also be able to pick up clues and predict outcomes of certain scenes in the stories. This helps significantly in developing logical skills in kids, which later on plays a major role in their academic performance. For example, they may be able to skillfully observe patterns and understand the logical sequences in math problems. Moreover, the exercise of logical skills also helps kids with good reasoning.
It Encourages Love for Reading
One of the greatest benefits of reading bedtime stories is that it builds a reading habit in kids. If your child is handed books a little later in life only to learn from them and perform well academically, chances are they will start looking at them as work. But when they are introduced to books early on, reading becomes a part of their playtime and one of the things they genuinely enjoy. This habit, which is created in their early years, will encourage them to continue reading even after they grow up. Just make sure to keep introducing your child to new books and genres so that they can decide for themselves what kind of books they like reading.
It Creates an Outlet for Empathy
Toddlers often find it hard to understand and display emotions. But if their favourite character in one of the stories goes through a tough time, they can relate their own emotions to it. This also helps them use the right words to express their feelings. And as a parent, you can take advantage of such situations and help your child further regulate their emotions. For example, if they are angry when their toy breaks, you can remind them what their favourite character from the fictional story did to express its feelings. Moreover, while narrating such scenarios from a storybook, you can encourage your kid to share their feelings about times they felt overwhelmed. Make sure they know that their feelings matter.
If your child is too young to comprehend stories, make sure their bedtime books have a lot of colourful pictures. Looking at pictures will stimulate their brain and create a genuine interest in books, which would eventually accelerate their overall development.