5 reasons why dads should always make time to read to their kids
There is no better way to instill a love for learning early on than to find time in your busy day to wind down and share stories with your kids
Many children look forward to bedtime stories. Snuggling with their mum or dad as they hear stories in a calming voice, lulling them to sleep but also inciting their imagination.
Sadly, many parents are too exhausted or preoccupied to find the time at the end of the day to read storybooks, no matter how much they want to.
According to a recent poll by Book Trust, which included 1,000 mums and dads, younger parents are reading less to their children as opposed to parents who grew up in older generations.
Though mums make excellent storytellers, new research out of Harvard suggests that children benefit more when their dads reading to them.
The research found that fathers spark more “imaginative discussions.” Research also found that the way fathers read to their kids encourages language development.
The study, helmed by Dr. Elisabeth Duursma, took place over the course of a year.
It was also found that girls benefited more when read to by their dad.
“The impact is huge – particularly if dads start reading to kids under the age of two,” explains Duursma. “Reading is seen as a female activity and kids seem to be more tuned in when their dad reads to them – it’s special.”
Here are five reasons why dad should definitely end each day with story time.
1. Dads focus on a different side of a story
While both mum and dad should come up with a schedule for shared book reading, mothers tend to focus on more abstract concepts of a story while dads tend to dwell on more concrete things.
“Dad is more likely to say something like, ‘Oh look, a ladder. Do you remember when I had that ladder in my truck?’” explains Dr. Duursma to the Telegraph. “That is great for children’s language development because they have to use their brains more. It’s more cognitively challenging.”
2. Boys also benefit from dad’s tales
Though the mentioned study focused on dads’ positive influence on girls, previous research (link: Why Fathers Matter to their children’s literacy by National Literacy Trust) also claims regular storytime builds stronger bonds between father and sons.
More great things about a storytelling dad on the next page!
3. Books make behaved kids
According to the fatherhood institute, those kids who are regularly read to by their dads turned to excel in school because of improved concentration and better behavior.
Even if the parents are separated, kids who are encouraged to find a meaningful bonding experience in reading
Even in families where childcare has been disrupted by divorce or separation, the influence of dads when it came to encouraging their children to read has been found to be a key factor in the ongoing educational progress of boys especially.
4. Bedtime stories lead to better ones in real life
Recent research by the British Journal of Education Psychology found that fathers who read to their kids at a young age influenced their future educational attainment greatly and found that "a positive relationship between the amounts of literacy fathers engage in for their personal use and their children's reading test."
Dads who are always reading (even if it’s not aloud) has a positive effect on his kids who see how much he enjoys reading.
5. Storytime destresses dads
It’s not only children who benefit from stories before bed. It is also an effective tool for dads to wind down after a long day. Reading aloud, when done regularly, becomes a relaxing routine for both parents and kids.
Previous studies back this up: the University of Sussex recently found that reading is the most effective way to overcome stress.
To add to these findings, the Literacy trust also claims other benefits for dads who read aloud at night. These include greater confidence, self-esteem, and skill acquisition. As well as a better father-child relationship, and an increased love for learning.