According to a recent article in the journal of Pediatrics, reading to your kids can improve behavior and attention. The article is entitled on “Reading Aloud, Play and Social-Emotional Development”.
The researchers showed that parents reading aloud and playing with their young children could have a long-term, positive impact on their children’s behavior. In other words, there are great benefits of early reading to your child.
Benefits to Starting Reading Early
The study, known as the Video Interaction Project, started with low-income urban families in New York. The researchers conducted the study during clinic visits from birth to 3 years of age. The ‘intervention’ was caregivers playing or reading with their child during the clinical visits.
Previously published data showed that the 3-year-olds who had received the intervention, as opposed to the control group who did not receive the intervention, had improved behavior and were less aggressive or hyperactive.
The study went on to show that the same children were still less likely to manifest those behavior problems. For example, aggression, hyperactivity, difficulty with attention — when they got to school.
All in all, the study showed the power of parental attention to help children flourish.
Benefits to Reading Early
“Reading aloud and playing imaginative games may offer special social and emotional opportunities”, said Dr. Mendelsohn. “We think when parents read with their children more, when they play with their children more, the children have an opportunity to think about characters, to think about the feelings of those characters” he said. “They learn to use words to describe feelings that are otherwise difficult. This enables them to better control their behavior when they have challenging feelings like anger or sadness.”
The lesson learned here is to start reading out-loud as soon as your children are born for the maximum potential impact to their social emotional growth.
Never Too Late
However, starting a reading regime with your children, at any age, can foster a special time between parent and child that would last a lifetime. If your children are tweens or teens, even reading in the same room together can establish an emotional connection.
All in all, spending more time with your children and engaging with them during younger years has valuable implications. Books often show life, and its challenges. It appears not only does reading act as a teaching tool in learning to overcome said challenges, but also as a way to foster emotional and social engagement during the very act of reading too.