June 7, 2020
By March 2020, almost everyone around the world were instructed to stay home and “Shelter-in-place”. There might be a baby boomer generation coming out of Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020 in many developing countries such as Indonesia and Philippines. As the birth of these babies are most likely unplanned, it’s important for the parents to start planning for their future and cultivating a love of reading for your children since they are young.
Most kids love their mobile phones more than books. It’s sad but undeniable. It happens sometimes even in a well cultivated family. Psychologists blame the overwhelming of distractions in gadgets, video games, and chat apps for this. Teachers are extremely concerned about this because reading improves the children’s literacy rate and develops speech from the young age. Of course there are some apps for learning which is good as well such as Duolingo. However, reading habit is the setting stone for the kids’ knowledge acquisition rate. So how can we instill a love of reading in the younger generation?
Today we will share 8 tips to help you with cultivating a reading habit in your child:-
Most children started to speak from 10 months old, with the barely distinguishable sound of “Papa” or “Mama”. From 2 to 5 years old, they started to know more words such as calling the brothers, sisters, aunt, uncle, etc. Their attention span is short (average around 4 minutes) and can only learn single words. From 3 years old, they then started to form sentences such as “I want to.. eat / poop..”, “I am hungry / full” etc. That’s when their attention span increases to 20 minutes or so.
Our advice is to let the kids learn to read simple words in multiple languages (Your language and English) as early as 10 months old, i.e. when they first started speaking. Some parents might be wondering “Why should a little child read so early? They probably doesn’t speak or listen well at that moment?” The opinions are divided. However, it’s important to know that habits are cultivated since young. The earlier you start, the more likely that you will sow a seed of love for reading in your child.
Your kid just mastered the Roman characters ABC to Z? Now it’s time to show the child that reading is one of the most useful skill in real life. It’s not about the endless repetitions of telling them “read more and you will be smart”. When we were kids we always heard these from our parents but these were meaningless, until we find out from our real life experience. So what do we suggest parent to do? Ask questions to your kids. Why do you think you should learn this? Who do you like? What characters do you like? Why? Would you like to be like him/her in the future? Questions will make the kids think as early as possible. They will read and find out the answer. Turn reading into a game.
Talk about game. You can start a simple game with your kid since they are young. Going out for a meal with the family? Give your child a menu and ask him to find his favorite dish – chocolate, sweet, cake, whatever. No finding from the menu, no order. Games and rewards will always give the motivation to the kids. Make full use of that.
Nope not between books and mobile phone. The kids will choose the mobile phone without second thought. Our suggestion is to always buy 2 books for the kids to choose. One could be a superhero theme and another could be a cartoon theme. Let them choose. Next time going out. turn to the bookstore and ask your children to pick one book he/she likes and get it. One interesting phenomenal is that you will find your children constantly re-read the books he/she likes, which is fine. You can slowly let them choose a new book and see if they read the new book more or if they go back to read the old ones. Basically, observe. Don’t interfere. Even if your child love reading about dinosaurs, aliens, monsters, try to calmly respond to the addictions of the child. Remember, reading habit is the key. The content, topic, and taste of their reading will change over time, but the love of reading remains, once cultivated.
If the child often sees you with a book, then he himself will be more willing to pick up books in his hands. In families where the parents do not read, the baby quickly understands “If mom and dad do not read, and they are fine, why should I read?” Your child should see you with a book for at least 15 minutes a day.
Some people read for 1-2 hours every morning. Some read before sleep. Some read with a mug of coffee or tea on hand. Some read when it rains. Some read by the window. Basically, there are many situation which triggers you to read and even make you enjoy that. Form your own rituals of reading and help your kid to form his/hers. You can be reading in separate corner and still be together as a family. This might be the most harmonious family ever.
It’s good to form reading rituals and have individual reading time. But it gets boring if these content are not discussed. Always discuss what you read and what the children read together after individual reading time. Firstly you can let the child summarize the topic she/he read about. Find out if the child understood the text. Then ask him/her suggestive questions such as “What do you think will happen next?” or “Would you like to visit the place of the main character?” If the child ask you question about what you read, do not ignore. Share your emotions and thoughts together. Remember that in reading, meaning is more important than the process itself.
With the new gadgets such as laptop, kindle, iPad etc, more parents turn into eBook for the kids instead of the physical book. Our advice is to use the gadget moderately. Despite being the inventors of most of the modern gadgets and technology we are using such as iPhone, Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his kid plays with iPad. Most other technology leaders also limit the screen time for their own kids. Why shouldn’t you? The wrong book format might hinder your child’s mind growth and deprived them of sleep. Reading from electronic media inhibit the production of the night hormone melatonin according to the research by the sleep foundation. Instead, use eBooks as supplementary and interactive reading such as finding more pictures etc.
When your kid gets slightly older such as 6-8 years old, it’s time to introduce the meaningful sayings, poetry, and phrases into their lives. This is the most optimal period. At this age, children literally catch everything on the fly and memorization is easy for them. It’s also the age which they started appreciate the beauty in life. Learning these meaningful phrases will help with their memorization. They memorize everything beautiful. This is the best time.
Cultivate a love of reading for your child from childhood, and in the future he / she will thank you for that.
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