Do you remember stretching your tiny toddler arms as WIIIIIDE as they could go just to prove that “I love you this much”? Or giggling along when someone exclaimed “STOP! You must not hop on Pop!”? How about ending every night by saying “goodnight moon”? If these sound familiar, you probably had a loved one read with you before you fell asleep. What you probably didn’t realize at the time was that a silly story about giving a mouse a cookie wasn’t just about the mouse or the cookie. These stories had neurological and social benefits that helped your development throughout life. Check out our compilation of 6 surprising long-term benefits of reading bedtime stories.
1. Stimulates Brain Development
In a 2015 study the American Academy of Pediatrics advocated that parents should start literacy promotion beginning at birth. Reading bedtime stories helps activate the region of the left hemisphere of the brain known as the parietal-temporal-occipital association cortex. More easily understood as the area of the brain that develops understanding language and semantic meaning. Dr. Hutton, one of the researchers said, “It really does have a very important role to play in building brain networks that will serve children long-term as they transition from verbal to reading.”
2. Creates Building Blocks for Words
Before your child learns to speak in full sentences, he has to learn how to speak words. But before he can understand words he needs to understand phonemes, aka the 44 sounds that exist in the English language. G. Reid Lyon, Ph.D., chief of the child development and behavior branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD explains “When kids hear the word cat, for example, they usually hear it folded up as one sound (cat) instead of three (c-a-t), but when asked to say cat without the c, thus deleting the cuh sound to make at, they’ll more easily understand that words are made up of individual sounds.”
3. Helps You Relax & Reduce Stress
After a long day out your child (and you) will need some time to decompress. Reading bedtime stories to your loved one is the perfect opportunity for everyone to relax. Neuroscientists suggest that reading with a parent helps alleviates stress hormones in children. Research from the University of Sussex showed that 6 minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%. Dr. David Lewis explains that reading isn’t a simple distraction, rather it is an “active engaging of the imagination… [that] causes you to enter an altered state of consciousness.”
4. Sparks Creativity, Independence, and Imagination
Listening to someone read aloud activates a creative hub of the brain. As you’re listening, your brain creates all of the imagery in the story. The texture of the wood, the chill of the water, the vibrancy of their eyes are all imagined by you. Dr. Hutton thinks that showing a video to children instead of reading short circuits that creative process. He wondered “Are we taking that job away from them? They’re not having to imagine the story; it’s just being fed to them.”
Actively involving children in the reading process helps them build self-confidence. Asking children to choose a book, or to predict what will happen next, or to help make the story interactive helps them form stronger language-based neurological pathways.
5. Healthy Routines Increase Brain Power
Reading with your child as part of a nightly routine establishes the importance of reading early on in their life. Reading has innumerable benefits for people of all ages. Adjust literacy professor for Dowling College and elementary special education teacher, Krista Granieri said that reading aloud strengthens memory and analytical skills. Other benefits include an increased sense of empathy and boosting brain power to slow down Alzheimer’s disease and other aging-associated mental decline.
6. Most Importantly, Quality Time
Spending time with your child isn’t something that can be quantified. Reading together gives both of you an outlet to help you better understand each other. Michelle Anthony, Ph.D., said “Because you enter [their] world through the safe avenue of a third party- a character- you’ll have more insight than you ever would by asking ‘So, how’s life?’” Looking back you will cherish snuggling up together. Years later you may see the moon and think of each other as you end the day by saying “goodnight moon.”
What’s your favorite bedtime book? Share it in the comments for a chance to win our new Storytime Huxley, the interactive story bear. (ARV $35.95)
Children will fall in love with this charming companion as he reads five classical bedtime stories whenever they want; play it, pause it, or even change the volume with a simple squeeze of a paw. Kids can also follow along with an illustrated storybook written just for Huxley, and they’ll love snuggling up to their cuddly friend for a good night’s sleep.
UPDATE: Congratulations to our lucky winner, Lisa W.! Thank you to everyone for participating — watch our blog for our December giveaway launching soon!
In the comments below, share your favorite bedtime book.
OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:
- Sign-up for the Cloud b Club newsletter
- Like Cloud b on Facebook
- SHARE the giveaway on Facebook and use the hashtag #CloudbGiveaway
- Follow Cloud b on Pinterest
- Follow Cloud b on Twitter
- Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter and use the hashtag #CloudbGiveaway
- Follow Cloud b on Google+
- Follow Cloud b on Instagram (@Cloud_b)
For each additional entry, leave a separate comment letting us know what you’ve done (and what your profile name is where relevant). If you’ve already done any of these in the past, just leave a comment stating so. You can enter up to 9 times by taking all of the actions listed above and the more entries you make, the more chances you have at winning!
One random winner will be selected on November 30th, 2016!
No purchase necessary. Must be US resident, 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Click-through for full sweepstakes rules.