Reading or telling stories to children is a very common custom in many families.
Sometimes, it becomes kind of a ritual, between mothers or fathers and children: in some houses, come night time without a story being read, one cannot even imagine going to sleep.
Children love to listen to stories because it emotionally involves them, stimulates their imaginations, and at the same time helps them to understand and categorize the reality that surrounds them.
Moreover, story telling is a incredibly valuable educational tool: the child, who identifies himself with the characters, compares himself to them, and is led to wonder what is right or wrong in dealing with concrete problems and learn from the consequences of certain actions.
Not everyone knows, however, that it is not only advantageous to tell stories to children, but also to newborns…
It’s never too early to start
From 6 months on, the newborn is able to hear a story, although without fully understanding, of course, the meaning of the words that are pronounced.
The child, nevertheless, from an early age, perceives the difference between a dialogue and a narration and is very likely to be entertained by the latter.
Early reading is recommended not only because the child appreciates it, but also because it helps him to develop his emotional and interpersonal skills.
In addition, research conducted by Suzanne M. Egan and Aisling Murray of the Institute of Irish Economic and Social Research, has shown that reading to newborns helps improve cognitive development even in the first few months of life. According to the study, 9-month-old babies who have fairy tales or stories read to them at such an early age eventually get higher scores on cognitive development tests.
In summary, if we think that reading is a healthy habit that children should have, let’s keep in mind that the sooner we start to make them passionate about reading, the better!
If a parent’s story-telling is perceived as an act of love
Another reason why reading at a very impressionable age is encouraged is that the adult-child relationship is strengthened by this act.
The child perceives the parent’s story telling as a gesture of love. The time spent reading, if repeated constantly, perhaps at the same hour and in the same place, becomes an important ritual – a special moment during the day.
Reading aloud to children: an activity that reinforces trust
According to Dr. Rossella Benedicente, Psychologist-Psychotherapist-Sexologist , by reading, “adult and child come into mutual harmony in an intense and pleasant communication made of emotion, complicity and trust that strengthens their emotional bond. From the emotional point of view it allows you to explore your most intimate emotions in the company of adults who can comprehend them, reassure you, and provide explanations. “
However, even if the child is too small to understand the story, it is not too small to appreciate the attention it receives.
Therefore, although it may seem a little impractical to read a story to someone who does not understand what is being said, remember that it is much more important for our children than we can imagine… and, why not?, it is important for us to disconnect from routine and immerse ourselves, at least for a while, in make-believe worlds, where there is no place for our problems…
And you readers, do you have any experience in this field? Do you usually tell stories to your children? How do you carry out your “reading time”?
This article originally appeared in Family and Media and s reproduced here with permission.