Reading and storytelling is a significant part of children’s learning and development, but did you know, spending around just 20 minutes a day doing with your child also brings a host of other positive benefits?
Dad-and-child reading has also been shown to support the bonding between you and your child, to develop their imagination, to give you both some de-stress time AND its special too, as in general, dads read to their children in a very different way from mums…
So here they are, Dad Info’s top reasons for why reading to your child is important…
Numerous studies have shown that children who experience reading activities before preschool are more likely to do well across their education. Throughout toddlerhood and preschool, your child is learning critical language skills, and just by listening to you read, your child is reinforcing the basic sounds that form language as well as learning new ideas and words.
The Fatherhood Institute also found that children whose dads read to them, were more likely to have better behaviour and concentration too, even if at first it doesn’t seem like it! Toddlers will at first squirm and become distracted during story time, but over time, they will learn and want to listen for the whole story. As you read to them, they are developing a stronger self-discipline, longer attention span, and better memory retention, all of which will serve your child well when they begin at school.
As your children grow, they’ll be on the move—playing, running, and constantly exploring their environment, so snuggling up with a book will enable the two of you to slow down and talk. Research has also shown that reading the bedtime story is one of the strongest forms of ‘bonding’ between fathers and sons, as it becomes a nurturing activity that brings you closer together.
Supporting the development of their imagination
Reading is wonderful because it introduces your children to ideas, experiences and concepts that they might not otherwise experience. It provides fuel for the imagination and the seeds of new ideas. It helps to stimulate imagination and creative thinking when you read books with exciting adventures and experiences.
Early reading for toddlers helps them view books as a fun activity too. Children who are exposed to reading are much more likely to choose books or imaginative play, over computer games, television, or other forms of ‘screen time’ as they grow older.
Giving both you and your child, some de-stress time
The bedtime story is well-known as being powerful for its part of a calming routine in preparation for sleep time… but did you know that it also has a similar effect on the adult reading the story too?
Research by the University of Sussex research shows that reading is the most effective way to overcome stress, reducing muscle tension and decreased heart rate, and when you are reading for your child, you both get these benefits!
Dad’s read stories differently to mums!
Studies also suggest that children benefit in different ways when their dad reads them a bedtime story, from when mum does it.
When mum’s read, they often focus more on the feelings of the characters and the story itself, while dads are more likely to initiate discussions or turn the story into a game. Both are beneficial to the child of course, but the male instinctive focus is more cognitive which can specifically help to further support language development.
So, there you have it! Books have the power to benefit your children in many different ways. So why not grab one from the bookshelf and start your reading relationship with them today? Whether it is an old favourite of yours, or something completely new, it is never too late to start.
For ideas of books you could try, why not check out:
Dads Inside the Pages – for a range of books which include dad as a main character.
Or for some of the most popular books for dads to read to their little ones: