Daughter and mom reading in bed

Reading Is a Healthy Habit

Your child may have a lengthy summer reading list to complete before returning to school, but the end of summer shouldn’t mean the end of reading. Ryan Grimm, MD shares why it’s so important to make reading part of your family’s routine—even at an early age.

Boost Their Brain

Reading improves memory and cognitive ability — which means it’s a healthy habit that can help kids in and outside the classroom.

Along with that improved brain power comes an improved vocabulary. “Reading to your child is a wonderful way to build your child’s language, social and emotions skills,” advises Dr. Grimm. Before you know it, your child may become a loquacious logophile with a leviathan vocabulary — then it’s YOUR turn to hit the dictionary!

Build Strong Relationships

“Talking, singing and reading to your child during the first few months strengthens the bond between baby and parent,” says Dr. Grimm. And, it’s important to continue the habit of reading. “As children grow they will become more involved by turning pages and pointing at pictures.”

And reading can also shape behavior. “There is also evidence that children with more frequent interactions with parents are significantly less likely to be aggressive or hyperactive as they approach school age,” Dr. Grimm informs us. Therefore, reading prepares your child for the classroom setting and makes it easier to build relationships with his or her classmates.

Get Away From the Screen

As kids grow, they spend more and more time on devices. Keep in mind, that screen time should be limited—especially for younger children. "For children under 18 months, screen media other than video-chatting should be discouraged.  In children over 2 years of age screen time should be limited to no more than 1 hour per day," recommends Dr. Grimm. 

Reading is an opportunity to get some time away from screens. You can get books inexpensively or for free at used bookstores or the library, and both are fun family activities to get you out of the house together.

Relieve Stress

For older children, homework, social life, sports, clubs, and school can put a lot of stress on a student. Reading a book can provide an escape, and has been proven to reduce stress by up to 68% in a study by the University of Sussex.

Promote Healthy Sleep Habits

“Developing a daily bedtime reading routine is especially useful in preparing children to sleep,” says Dr. Grimm. It can take just six minutes for your heart rate and muscle tension to relax when you begin reading. Thus, helping your child prepare for a good night’s rest.

 

With the new semester on the horizon, now is the time to invest in your child’s reading habit. If you’re the parent of a child who is too young to read, learn how reading aloud to them can put them on the path to learning.