“Again! Again! Again!” The familiar cry of a toddler at bedtime pierces the peaceful evening air. Whether it’s Pat the Bunny or Hop on Pop, parents will soon have the story memorized as children beg for more. What may seem like stalling to stay awake just a few minutes later is actually a vital learning activity for little ones. Parents, this time it’s ok to spoil your kids and feel good about it too.
According to Dr. Mercola, reading to children, especially at an early age has a great effect on brain development. When an adult reads aloud, a child’s brain lights up with activity and imagination. This stimulation leads to more advanced language skills, better motivation, active curiosity, and improved memory. A child learns how to cope with stress and emotional events while listening to a story. An activity that is relatively simple and free exposes children to new situations and ideas. For families, it’s a “no brainer;” reading is good for kids.
Reading is fun
The more kids read, the more they want to read. Parents should aim to create life-long reading habits in their children by reading aloud. Even after a child can read to him or herself, reading aloud increases the chance that the child will continue to enjoy reading into adulthood. Reading aloud is a special time to share between children and caregivers. Memories of such times are likely to be cherished and lead to a healthy literary appetite.
Avoid the obstacles
On the path to literacy, a child encounters many obstacles. Adults can help children navigate these waters by avoiding three things: processed foods, physical inactivity, and excessive screen time. Children who eat a diet of primarily fresh whole foods tend to have higher IQ scores than their junk food-eating counterparts. Physical exercise also plays a role in IQ and task efficiency. Adults and children can both benefit from the brain-boosting rewards of cardiorespiratory fitness. Finally, screen time should be limited for budding readers. The effects of too much computer gaming and cell phone use are wide ranging and negative toward behavior, emotional health, and sleep habits. What better way to avoid screens than with a good book?
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, or teacher, you can help a child by reading. Adults have the privilege of modeling good habits for children. Reading to a child and encouraging a healthy lifestyle to support literacy impacts a child’s life and brain development forever. So, indulge in a little Goodnight Moon. Your time and efforts will be rewarded!
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