A Rutgers-led study, recently found that parents who regularly read with their toddlers are less likely to engage in harsh parenting and the children are less likely to be hyperactive or disruptive. Although numerous studies, including a 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics study, have long extolled the benefits of reading to young children to prepare them for school, the Rutgers study may be the first to focus on how parents benefit by reading with their children.
The Rutgers study reviewed data on 2,165 mother-child pairs from 20 large U.S. cities in which the women were asked how often they read to their children at ages 1 and 3. The mothers were later interviewed about how often they engaged in physically and/or psychologically aggressive discipline about their children’s behavior. The study found a direct correlation between frequent shared reading and associated less harsh parenting. The study should definitely be expanded to include fathers as well!
Since its founding in 2014, encouraging parent and childing bonding through reading has been part of the 1000 Books Foundation’s mission statement. There is a certain calming and bonding effect between a parent and child that can be established through reading. The daily ritual of reading with your child can have a very therapeutic effect as well. If you want to be a better parent, try reading to your child! Remember to keep it fun and enjoyable. Stories should rarely be read in a monotone voice. Bring out the inner actor in yourself. Change your voice, make sounds, and laugh. Most of all make it fun and enjoyable. Do not forget to hold your child while you read – while you are still able to (provided that she hasn’t grown too big). Always try to interact with your child by giving your child the opportunity to read along. Ask a lot of questions. Although most books can probably be read in less than five (5) minutes; lengthen the reading process. Read books about what interests your child. When your child gets older, take her to the library and she can choose her own books.
Teaching your child how to read can be one of the most rewarding life experiences for a parent and at the same time will make you a better parent. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Phonics Program provides a systematic step-by-step process that can help you as a parent achieve this goal.