One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to cultivate the love of books. Both of us grew up with books being a great part of our lives and we remember sitting all day on the couch, finishing a book from front to back, enthralled by the stories. We knew that reading has many benefits but it wasn’t until recent years that scientists have proven reading rewires our brain and improves intelligence. Reading helps language skills, social & emotional development and improves attention span and focus amongst other benefits. And, it all starts from your child’s foundational years. Reading out loud to your kids through their early childhood and early schooling inspires them to become frequent readers in future years.
When we became mums, we decided that reading would become a daily routine in our homes. We wanted our girls to grow up having a love for print, especially in this era of social media and technological entertainment. It’s also a great way to spend quality time and bond with our children! Our children currently LOVE to read. Both Claire and Celyn will ask to read book after book together at bedtime, sometimes refusing to go to bed (well, a good problem...)
Here are some tips that worked for us and we’d like to share to help you build a healthy reading habit with your child at home too!
1. MAKE IT PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE
We can’t emphasize this enough. If you want to cultivate a habit, you need to be consistent at it. Even 5 to 10 minutes of bedtime reading with your child can make a whole lot of difference! Everyday at bedtime, I’d ask my daughter “why don’t you choose a book to read together?" She usually comes back with 2-3 books before we go to sleep! She sees it as part of her bedtime routine.
2. ASSOCIATE READING TIME WITH CUDDLES AND FUN
Both of us read daily to our children before bedtime, a time when we cosy up with pillows, enjoy cuddles and giggles with our books and quality bonding moments.
3. MAKE BOOKS ACCESSIBLE
We have a lot of books in the home and we make sure all the books are accessible to our children. We love front facing bookshelves which make the book covers jump out at our children. Besides, they are also very kids friendly and our children is able to easily access and choose the books they like.
4. VISIT THE LOCAL LIBRARY TOGETHER
Make library runs a regular affair! There’s something magical about being surrounded by books, choosing favourite books and then checking them out to read at home, a process that is really exciting to kids.
5. READ WITH YOUR CHILD, INSTEAD OF JUST TO YOUR CHILD
Reading doesn’t have to be restricted to the words in the books. Talk about the pictures! Ask them questions about what they see. Link things they see in the books to daily life. “Remember when we went to the zoo and saw the tiger? What sound did it make?” Make it interesting, and relate them to your child's experiences!
6. BE DRAMATIC & SILLY WHEN YOU READ
Yes! Instead of reading in a monotonous voice, slow down so your child can hear the nuances of the words, read in a sing-song manner and add sound effects! Be dramatic and fun.
7. INTRODUCE DIFFERENT TYPES AND LANGUAGES OF BOOKS