And no, it's NOT another extracurricular activity.
Parents are under heavy pressure to ensure their kids grow up in a culture-rich environment.
What if I told you that you could teach your kids about fine arts, take them on wild adventures and greatly increase their odds of academic success all from the comforts of your living room? Would you believe me?
According to a recent study, there are HUGE benefits to reading to your kids out loud. Reading out loud creates an affluent and expanded vocabulary — all while sitting on your bum and connecting with your kids.
Simply Talking To Your Kids Isn't Enough
Think about that last book you read to your kids. It was loaded with descriptive new words that aren't used in everyday language. As humans, we automate for efficiency.
That means we use the same types of words day-to-day, which limits our kids' ability to expand their vocabulary.
Experiences Are Important, Too
They're wonderful and necessary, but do you think that a kid with 10 extracurricular activities before the age of 3 is going to be super far ahead of the kid who sits on his mom's lap in a park somewhere and reads? Nope.
Simple activities like reading have been lost in the mad scramble to provide one experience after another for our kids.
Sure, it’s fine to sign your 4-year-old up for soccer, but don’t forget to weave in the more traditional parent activities. We can’t keep rolling out big moments if we want our kids to find success and happiness with the smaller things in life.
Kids Need Help Nurturing Their Imagination, Which Is Difficult Today
Now that the bulk of the toy market is battery-operated, your son doesn’t have to come up with the choo-choo train sound — his toy does it for him. With tablets plaguing childhoods across the globe, instant gratification is rewarded daily.
Gone are the days that we closed our eyes in the middle of a story and picture what the author was describing. We have Netflix do it for us.
Providing, Giving, And Doing
Is this what GOOD parenting looks like? Which do you think is more beneficial long-term: the ability to sign “I’m thirsty” by six months or having a stellar vocabulary a few months later?
I know, it's super uncomfortable to sit down and read a book. We say we want to slow down and be able to curl up to a good book, but when we actually have time, it’s h*ll! Our bodies freak out with the lack of stress, and we end up finding some minuscule task that "needs" to be done.
But, the truth is, you're setting your kid up if you don't sit down and do it. By booking her Google calendar like she’s a popular CEO, you’re grooming her to be unable to entertain herself, use her imagination, and enjoy the present moment.
Be Creative WITHOUT Over-Scheduling
If your kids are older, reintroduce them to reading in a fun way.
Make it fun! Pick up the Wild Things book and read it under a bridge, or pick up a book about the invention of ice cream and have a cone under a big tree, or pick up a book about bugs and then try to catch some.
If you want your kids to have expansive imaginations, you need to help them train. Video games and TV shows turn off imaginations. (I don’t care what Nick Jr. says. It’s killing your kid's imagination — turn it off.)
Stop Trying So Hard
Retrain yourself and teach your kids how to sit and read. The power in reading to your kids is truly endless! So before you rush to check the community calendar for the next round of activities, hit up your local library and let their imaginations take them where ever they wish to go.
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