Reading is one activity that never gets old, and what’s more, it is a prime opportunity for some quality bonding time with your child. But books aren’t just for those who can read them on their own – even before your kids start school or even begin to grasp the concept of a book, reading aloud to your little one can be very beneficial.
If you’re looking for some enjoyable activities for toddlers, here’s why reading should be at the very top of your list.
Reading to your kids can help them gain valuable language skills
When you’re thinking about fun activities for toddlers, you might dismiss reading as something for older kids – but by starting early, you’ll really be helping them to develop crucial language skills. Listening to you read a book aloud will get used to the sound of language even before they can form proper sentences themselves. Reading aloud is essential for language development; the more words your kid is exposed to, the wider their vocabulary will be. Make sure to encourage them if you catch them imitating you and “pretend-reading” a book aloud, imitating the sounds you make.
Reading aloud during the first years can set kids up for success at school
The first few years of life are a crucial period of development, but reading aloud to your young kids has more positive effects than simply shaping their language – it teaches them many skills that will come in handy throughout their education. Reading aloud can improve abstract thinking skills, and following a story line will help children understand the idea of logic and apply it to other areas in school. It can also enhance your toddler’s concentration and listening skills, and if you turn story time into their favourite time of the day, these positive associations with books will make the transition to school a lot more appealing.
Reading teaches them that learning is fun – and therapeutic
While you might look forward to a holiday away or an event to treat yourself, it doesn’t take that much for your kids to have a special time – something as simple as reading to your kids can have big impact. Discovering new stories together is a lot of fun and a great opportunity for you to have some quality bonding time with your toddler. It can also have a therapeutic effect on kids. If your toddler is anxious or struggles with new experiences such as attending nursery for the first time, reading books dealing with these topics will help them get familiar with these new experiences. It also shows them that it’s normal to get a little stressed, at a time when they cannot rationalise these feelings themselves.
How to make the most of your reading hour
There are a few things to keep in mind to make reading time as fun and valuable as possible for both of you. Try to vary the books you are reading from, but be patient if your child has a favourite book they want to listen to all the time, and try to understand where this passion comes from. Always keep in mind that your toddler won’t understand the concept of reading at first – explain to them that these words on the page have meaning and are telling a story. Remember to point to the print when you are reading to differentiate it from pictures, and explain to your children how sentences work.
It might be difficult for them to grasp at first, but they’ll soon become transfixed by the comforting sound of your voice. Then, as they grow, it’ll become one of those activities for toddlers that turns into a habit for life.