Bedtime stories have long been known to foster parent-child bonds and prepare children for sleep
But research has shown that these stories have a far greater impact on children than we may think.
Reading to your child regularly can improve many aspects of your child’s logic skills, but perhaps the most profound benefit recently discovered, is the way reading bedtime stories can rewire children’s brains to quicken their learning of language.
Neural research has shown that there is a clear neurological difference between children who have been read to regularly and those who have not. The children who were read to showed significantly greater brain activity in the verbal processing area.
When children hear stories, particularly while looking at picture books, they begin to connect words with images and understand their meaning. This will help them develop skills to make images and stories out of words later on in life. Children who are read to from an early age become better readers because they’ve already developed the skills they need to understand the story.
Not only does reading help a child’s verbal skills, it may also stimulate creativity. Unlike TV, where the story is completely drawn out for them, books require a child to use their imagination.
Reading also lends the opportunity for a child to hear more words than when listening to people talk. When parents and family members talk, they generally use the same set of words out of habit. Books provide an opportunity to hear more “unique word types.” They contain a more diverse set of words than what might be heard in everyday conversation.
So when you put it all together, reading picture books to your child will allow them to hear more words, allow their brains to practice creating images, and help them develop skills to understand language.
The best thing about reading to your child before bed is that it happens during the context of quality, face-to-face time with one another. So enjoy getting comfortable and cozy while you tuck your child into bed, take advantage of the face-time you get with one another, and let them drift off to sleep while reading them a good children’s book.
Looking for a good children’s picture book? Check out Big Country Farm Toys’ selection of children’s books. They’re perfect to spark the imagination of your little cowboy or cowgirl.
To learn more about the benefits of bedtime stories for your child’s brain read the original article by the New York Times.