One of the things I love most in this world is watching my husband interact with our daughters. Bedtime has quickly become one of my favorite times of the day, simply because I love watching them as they pile in his chair and read a story each night. My girls look forward to this special time with their father and are benefiting from more than just the bond that they’ve created.
We have been adamant about reading to our children since they were very young. Reading to your children early in life can not only help with enhancing your child’s vocabulary, but it also introduces them to components of stories. It stimulates their imaginations and provides them with information about the world. It also promotes positive parent-child interaction.
While it’s important for anyone to read to your children, there are special benefits if fathers read to their child. When fathers are actively involved in the education of their children, they are more likely to receive A’s, to participate in extracurricular activities, to enjoy school and less likely to repeat a grade. Taking the time to read to kids shows them how much you care. Fathers who are more caring and involved have children who are more confident and feel better about themselves.
When children are young, it doesn’t matter what you read to them. Read the newspaper or your favorite magazine. Even if your kids don’t understand all the words, hearing your voice, watching your face, and being close to you are important.
When you read, there’s no pressure. There is not a “right way” or “wrong way” to read to your child. Our two-year-old is not likely to sit through a book with a lot of words. Rather than stress over reading all of the words on each page, we will look at the pictures and make up the story as we go along. Each time we “read” the book, the story is different, and she loves to make up the adventures as we go. You can also engage your child by asking them questions as you read along. What did the characters do? How did they feel? What was your favorite part of the story? Doing this helps them comprehend what they are reading and can lead to interesting conversations with your child.
Reading can also be done at a distance. If you travel or if your kids live with someone else, try reading to them over the phone. If you both have a copy of the book, your kids can follow along as you read it to them. The important thing is making the connection!
By reading to your kids, you can do what nobody else can do – set your kids on the road to a bright future. And you’ll be a hero to the most special people in the world – your kids.