By: Dr. Stacy Meyer
As the weather has gotten colder these past few days, it has really gotten me thinking about the months to come with a preschooler and a toddler stuck in the house. I am always looking for new things to do indoors with the kiddos during inclement weather, but one household favorite is a winner for everyone…READING!
Even as young as 15 months, BusyBee loves to sit down with a book. Reading to toddlers helps them to develop their natural curiosity, improve their vocabulary and gives them confidence building, uninterrupted, “me time” with mommy or daddy. Picture books are great for this age as they are an interactive way for young toddler to enjoy reading. As early as this young age, children are learning information not only from the books’ written story but also the basics of sounds becoming words and representing concepts.
At the age of nearly 4 years old, reading with Sprout has become even more interactive and engaging. At this age, kids can start to anticipate the story and really become involved with “what’s happening next.” They may also start to memorize sections and lines in the books and really enjoy chiming in and participating in the reading. This memorization and participation is great for confidence building. Books also promote increased imagination and teach children about cause and effect in an enjoyable way.
The benefits of reading to your child are not only apparent today but have benefits long into the future. Studies have shown that children who were introduced to books prior to preschool have increased enjoyment in reading and children who “read for fun” have been shown to have higher reading scores in school. Unfortunately, with increasingly available electronic stimulation children who report “reading for fun” have been decreasing in numbers. (A study complete in 1996 showed that already the percentage of seniors who “read for fun” had decreased to a mere 9% from 16% in 1984. I wonder how much lower that number is now!)
So as the weather turns colder, and we all look to curl up on the couch with our children…let’s make an effort to reach for a good book instead of that television remote.
Also, if you are looking for some great books as gifts for your kids this holiday season, be sure to check out the Charlie Brown books at Kohl’s! When you purchase one of these items, you are not only providing a great gift for your child but you are also supporting your local children’s hospital like Dayton Children’s!
Dr. Meyer is a pediatric endocrinologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital. She is the mother of two boys who she lovingly refers to as “Busy Bee” and “Sprout!” As part of the “Dr. Mom Squad,” Dr. Meyer blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. Meyer!