Do you know what your toddler can find in the pages of a book? They can find new friends to play with, travel to new places without leaving their room, explore the blasts of dimsums in their mouth, and find out how Namibia’s indigenous tribes dress up. All these and more adventures are hiding in the pages of a book.
Research shows that children who read have better language and communication skills. They are more confident, better at problem solving and generally more aware and knowledgeable. Then there are the obvious benefits like doing better at academics and bonding with the family. Those who read together build strong bonds as children get undivided attention from their parents and care givers.
Reading opens up the mind and lets imagination soar. When children understand how stories work, it helps them gain life skills. Reading for pleasure is relaxing and a way of discovering more about oneself as well.
Yet, research says that reading as a habit is decreasing among the younger generation as the appeal for the digital world grows. Like Dr Suess, we at Shumee believe that your children will become a more creative, more imaginative and well-rounded person if you give them the gift of reading. Here are some ways to introduce your children to the joy of reading and build a lifetime of memories and a good reading habit.
While the first day may not be possible realistically speaking, try and get into talking and reading to your child as early as possible. Say when they touch three or six months of age. Children love to listen to their parent’s voice and stories create new worlds in their minds. Even if you don’t get time the whole day, take 15 minutes out at sleep time to read to your tots.
To the little ones, illustrations are as good as words. Choose books with colourful illustrations which catch the young one’s eye. You can always add some words yourself and build up new stories around the same artwork.
Let your kiddos see books and learn to recognise them in everyday life. Select books with texture or pop-out books for the ones less than a year old.
Read everything to your child, making up a story. The menu in a restaurant signboards on the road, grocery items, or just names of streets, but involve children by reading aloud things to them. It will help ramp up your creativity as well.
Ask children what they feel about the book, the story and the people/ places/ things in it. It will pique their interest further.
Not everyone likes all books. So experiment with different kinds of books for the toddler to check what it is that they prefer. For all you know, your child might like an instruction manual more than a storybook!
This is an important one. You can start as early as you like, but be sure to have realistic expectations and pick books according to the age of your tot else they may lose interest.
Just because your friend’s child or even another child in the family reads at a particular level does not mean every child will. Be patient and they will find their groove. The moment you force reading as a habit, it becomes akin to eating vegetables for your kiddo, i.e work and not play. (Though we do hope you've found a creative way to feed veggies to your toddlers.)
Let toddlers and little children see you read. Newspapers, books, magazines; it does not matter what it is as long as you enjoy reading.
You can find your own unique way to engage with a book and get your child excited about it. We at Shumee have launched a curated list of books for your little ones. So go ahead build that bridge of words to that enchanted world and let your child discover the magic of books!