A little bit of everything from a scatter-brained, book-loving Mom.
Doesn’t have to ALWAYS be children’s books
There is a lot of research out there that shows the importance of how many words your young child hears per day. By just talking to your kid, you help them develop obviously their vocabulary, but also their overall language skills like listening, memory, speaking, and socialization skills.
It is preached to all parents: READ to your young kids as often as possible, starting right away as newborns. Everyone assumes this means children’s books.
My mother happened to be in a college physics class when my older brother was a baby. In order to get her homework and studying done while bonding with and taking care of a baby, she would read her physics text book out loud to my brother. Him being a baby, he was just happy to hear her voice and be held by her, he didn’t really care what words were being said as long as there was love in her voice. The vastness and complexity of the vocabulary in a physics book along with the amount of reading being done out loud meant (without my mom even realizing it at the time) my brother was hearing way more words, and complex words at that, than most children his age. As soon as he entered school, he quickly got transferred into an advanced curriculum school and has proven to have advanced cognitive, memory, verbal and socialization skills throughout his life.
Now, I know the majority of us are NOT reading physics books on the regular, and don’t happen to be in an advanced type class when our children are babies – but we do read! I mean, that’s why you’re reading this magazine, right? So why not read the books that you want to read out loud to your young children sometimes instead of just the same old children’s books with the same super simplified vocabulary.
I am not saying don’t read children’s books to your child – do that too. But when you want to get a chapter or 2 in of your own book of choice, it doesn’t hurt to get that in out loud with your babies or young children listening. I guess this advice is given that your book isn’t excessively violent or doesn’t have too adult of content if you catch my drift. But if it’s appropriate enough – exposing your child to the extra words could be highly beneficial to their long-term intelligence and skills. I mean it couldn’t do any harm really right?
Also, it is beneficial for your young children to grow up seeing you read. In a world that is so driven by technology, it’s becoming rarer for young kids to grow up with parents that read books, not just social media posts on the regular. If your children grow up seeing and hearing you read regularly, it becomes more of a norm for them. Your child will become far more likely to pick up a book on their own and read when they are able to and carry that with them as they get older. Again, it couldn’t hurt could it?
Let’s keep the joy of books and reading alive in the generations to come, while potentially increasing our children’s vocabulary and IQ, opening up their imagination, and setting good examples for hobbies to take with throughout life. The amount of words your babies and young kids hear daily matters. Your mental health and sanity matters. Kill two birds with one stone and read your babies the books you want to read, along with the books they want to read.
About the Columnist: Megan Lord
I am the mother of an adventurous and exhausting but amazing toddler boy that runs my life. I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading mind numbing children’s books over and over again because he has his select favorites… But when I do get time to read (or listen) I love reading and listening to a variety of genres. I get the most time to indulge in books of my choice during what I like to call “wind-down baths” once a week.
Article originally Published in the February/March 2020 Issue “Short Stories”