This is the 21st century and as we all know, the internet and technology are at the heart of it. A survey conducted by SellCell (1135 parents in the US) found that 4 in 10 kids are at the age of 6 or under when they first come in contact with a cellphone. You can find kids as young as 2 years old already experts at scrolling and swiping. The same survey revealed that 57% of kids mainly use their phone for gaming. Now this is a cause for alarm.
While this is definitely raising a lot of eyebrows, I’m of the standpoint that more attention should be paid to what the kids use these mobile devices for as opposed to the level of usage of the devices. We’re in a time where the use of technology is almost as important as breathing, so to be honest, it would be unrealistic to expect these kids to not use their phones as much, when everyone else around them is doing the same thing.
Instead, what parents can do to salvage the situation is to regulate the amount of time kids do spend on their phones and then ensure that they mostly use their phones for things that will have a positive impact on them, one of which is reading.
WHY IS READING SO IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN?
Despite all the amazing benefits of reading, it is sad to see that reading amongst children is on a steady decline. We hope that as we remind you of some of the benefits of reading, you will make the decision as a parent/guardian to guide your kids back to the path of education, open mindedness and enlightenment.
Books provide a vast amount of information, experience and information. Reading remains the number 1 way to gather knowledge and understanding about so many topics. Books educate us about other people, cultures and their experiences. Books also inform us about our own history, religion and pretty much anything in the world at all. Encouraging your kids to read will broaden their minds and expand their view of the world, which is so beneficial to them at a young age.
Reading books will drastically improve your kid’s language skills and help them broaden their vocabulary. Even if they do not know the literal meaning of most words, they can likely decipher the meaning from the context they see it being used in the book, and begin to use it in everyday life. I can personally attest to this as I have a son who had a speech problem at the age of 3. His grandmother read stories with him for two hours every single day. As a young man of 12, being asked to take a break from the video games to read a book is not as problematic as some would think. Reading is engrained into his soul. Because of his grandmother’s persistence, reading is and will always be a part of who he is.
So many pieces of research executed and commissioned by BookTrust have discovered the outstanding benefits of reading for a child’s development. One of the studies conducted highlights the effects of reading on later literacy skills, encouraging interactions between adults and children and then enabling children to interact with the world around them in a different way. It also describes reading as a ‘stable source of information’ throughout a child’s life. This stability is especially beneficial for children being brought up in challenging circumstances.
Reading allows kids to develop warmth and compassion for people/situations different from what they know. When reading books, we tend to put ourselves in the story and feel as though the happenings in the story affect us too. This allows kids to develop empathy as we experience the lives of other characters first hand. Children will transfer this empathy to the real word and empathize with other people and their stories. It also helps them gain better insight of their own emotions and those of others which is so beneficial for their social development.
Reading regularly with your children is a good way to strengthen your relationship. What better way to bond with your children than over a good book? It opens up to questions and conversations that will help both parent and child understand each other’s way of thinking. Reading provides parents with a frequent shared activity that both the parents and children can look forward to. This also goes along to provide kids with feelings of attention, love, and reassurance which is key for the nurturing and wellbeing of your child.
HOW TO READ WITH YOUR CHILD
Reading with your child at home is a great way to augment what they learn at school. Given the state of the world in the pandemic and with most schools being closed, it is even more important that you as a parent make reading with your child a daily habit. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
1. Start young – The earlier you start reading with your kids, the better. However, if you missed starting early it’s not the end of the world. You can still start now!
2. Make it a routine – Reading becomes easier for the child to do once it becomes a routine. Try to read with your child at least once a day at a regularly scheduled time and try not to miss it. If you do miss it, it’s fine. The key is to be as consistent as possible
3. Discuss the story with your child – Depending on their age, having conversations with your child about characters or events in the story is a good way to keep the story alive. Ask questions like: “Did you enjoy that story?”, “Who was your favorite character?”, etc.
4. Join an Online reading program – Given that the pandemic has drastically changed our normal way of living, and kids are mostly at home throughout the day, online reading programs have now become more beneficial than ever. It is a good way to help your child experience reading differently by reading together and having interesting discussions with their peers.
Here at Fixing Fathers, Inc., we have an amazing reading program that your kids will absolutely love! It’s call the Fly Guys & Fly Girls Reading Club. Last month the young men met for the first time on Zoom to discuss our book for the month, Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon, a heart-warming story of friendship and adventure. It was such an amazing experience! The young men were really engaged and we at Fixing Fathers, Inc., loved being there with them even more.
We welcome you to donate and support the work we do with these amazing children! Donations will go to the purchase of books for each of member of our reading program along with a snack gift card.
To enroll your kids or donate, please visit our programs page. You can also contact Dr. David Asbery at [email protected] for questions and enquiries about our other programs. Please note that Fixing Fathers, Inc., is dedicated to guiding our kids back to the path of wholesome development by providing opportunities for our children, one book at a time.