Parenting Guide: Reading And Playing With Children Is Pivotal To Early Development
As parents, we are our children’s first educators.
While such things as motor skills are instinctual for young learners, the approach to speech and literacy is a parent-led experience. The more moms and dads speak and read to their children, the more successful they will be later in life.
A recent study, “Reading Aloud, Play and Social-Emotional Development,” published in the journal Pediatrics, found
- children whose parents read and playfully engaged with them got educational, social and emotional benefits.
- young children were less likely to act out aggressively or have attention-deficiency and hyperactivity.
- they had an easier transition when entering school for the first time compared to children who do not experience regular reading and playtime with parents.
The study used data from the Video Interactive Project, an intervention initiative that focuses on parent education. It aims to help low-income urban families in New York improve parenting skills and boost children’s academic success.
How the study worked
Parents who participated in the study were video-recorded while playfully engaging and teaching their child, and most were surprised by their kid’s response to the interaction.
“We try to highlight the positive things in that interaction — maybe they feel a little silly, and then we show them on the tape how much their kid loves it when they do these things, how fun it is — it can be very motivating,” Adriana Weisleder, a contributing author of the study and assistant professor at Northwestern University, told The New York Times.
How to incorporate more reading and playtime
Finding time to wholly enrich children’s lives can sometimes be a challenge outside of providing basic needs. All The Moms knows parents are the dragon slayers of multitasking, so we’ve provided a few creative ways to incorporate reading aloud and playful moments with your the little ones.
- As you and your child prepare for the day, create a fun game about brushing teeth or getting dressed.
- Sing and dance to educational music videos on YouTube, like this one from Sesame Street:
- Tell stories or ask your kids about their day during mealtimes. Let playful discussion and improvisation occur.
- Play water games during bath time and sing songs.
- Download children’s audio books to your phone or tablet and play them in the car — or anywhere you are.
- Bedtime stories still rock! And a good old fashion pillow fight, before the lights go out, can create long-lasting memories for both parent and child.
Hopefully, this quick list will spark ideas for you to start guiding your child to literacy and social success.