Reading is Back on the Menu
But first, I have a confession.
To my mother’s dismay, I didn’t like to read as a child. I was spending the luxury of my carefree time outside, rather than curled up discovering the tales of fictional characters and their fantastical journeys to faraway lands.
Since then, many years have passed (not that many) and I have fallen in love with awe-inspiring literature. I just wish I had embraced its grace and generosity earlier. I read a book a month. It relaxes me, it’s built a critical mind, I’m having better conversations, and I feel like I’m giving my brain a workout. Most of all, it helps with my emotional stability and overall sense of well-being.
And it’s not just me, it can do the same for everyone — including children.
It can be frustrating trying to understand where children get their amusement from. For children in the 21st Century, new gadgets are coming out from every direction, every industry, every year. There are many modern ways of entertainment competing for a child’s attention. You can almost feel traditional methods of children’s enjoyment and education joining cave paintings in their place in history.
So where do books come into play nowadays? It almost feels we are on a prolonged but inevitable goodbye to black print on white paper. There are more innovative ways to tell stories now — more in line with modern times — however, despite years of new solutions and new distractions, books are still being sold, stories are still being told.
And it’s a good thing too.
This is where I get to the good part: reading has been proven to increase your child’s happiness and emotional stability. Masterminds at the National Literacy Trust were behind this great study observing the connection between children and their reading habits and have published results showing bookworms with a great appetite for reading show higher levels of mental well-being than those who don’t.
Great! It makes adults happy, as well as their children — it’s a win-win.
“Children and young people today face a multitude of pressures at school, at home and in their social lives. It is imperative that we do everything we can to enable our children to develop the resilience they need to cope with life’s challenges — and our latest research shows that the joys of reading and writing can be hugely beneficial” .
– Director of the National Literacy Trust, Jonathan Douglas said when presenting part of the study’s consensus.
Here are some ways reading can help your children be happy and healthy.
- When children are reading, they are learning. They are learning new words, new ideas, about people and how to handle certain situations. These lessons can be adopted into their everyday lives as they grow up, building confidence and success.
- Even if a child is dependent or independent with their reading abilities, reading as a family can build stronger bonds. Having time to read as a family is rewarding and can initiate an exciting time to discuss day-to-day life and events that are happening at school or with family and friends.
- Having a soothing bedtime routine can help children sleep. Something as simple as spending 10 minutes settling down with your little one to read helps them feel connected and safe. This helps them wind down and fall asleep — and we all know that results in a cheerful child at home and in school the next day.
And let’s take into consideration the personalised children’s book. These are books customised and edited with a specific child in mind, with their loved ones as characters, and familiar places as settings.
I did some research on how this method of storytelling can help children with their reading and I found some interesting results from the Manchester Metropolitan University.
It turns out these personalised books encourage children to speak, interact, learn unfamiliar words quicker, get excited, share, and build their confidence. These books essentially create an environment which develops a child’s language and love of reading.
So even though, yes, we can’t hold back modernisation, books are always going to be there to help children become more confident and happy.
Children’s minds and imaginations are the canvas upon which anything can come to life. Their imaginations are playgrounds. The cross-fertilisation of ideas and inspirations that go through their heads are what creates their identity. It’s empowering to know that something as generous and easy as reading can evoke these attributes within children and shape their happiness, well-being and emotional stability.
We can’t let that go.