It is easiest to help your child develop healthy habits when he is below eight years of age. If a child is made to do a certain task on a routine basis he will eventually become habitual of doing so and will then continue following the routine over the course of his life.
It is very essential to encourage children to read for at least twenty minutes a day. Such a habit ensures that children have a good command over the language(s) they speak. Additionally, children who read have a better vocabulary than those who do not have a habit of reading. Reading also breeds creativity and increases imaginative powers. Most importantly though, it helps children be more aware of the world and develops their cognitive skills as well.
If the habit of reading is a daily bedtime routine for children it has an added benefit of inducing a relaxed frame of mind, which promotes better sleep and rids the mind of worrisome thoughts that tend to occupy one’s mind after lying down in bed. Bedtime reading is also a very healthy way of reconnecting and bonding with your child. Listening to a parent read a story with them every night not only comforts children but also creates nice childhood memories, which will be treasures that they can cherish forever.
Old habits die-hard and if the habit of bedtime reading is deeply ingrained in the youth of today, then it is sure to continue flourishing not only in the child’s own life but also in the following generations as the same habit will be passed down by your kids to their own offspring. Since every avid reader of today is concerned that reading is a dying habit, reading with your child every night is a good strategy to ensure that the tradition is carried forward.
The difficult thing about cultivating this habit in kids is that in today’s world, children have a lot more interesting things on their mind and may not take to reading with the enthusiasm that you wish them to. They may want to play computer games or update their status and share pictures on Facebook instead, which could be quite a challenge if you are determined to instill the habit of reading in your child.
Every child is different and the same strategies of persuading your child to read may not work in all cases; however it is best to let your child indulge in an activity of his choice first, for a pre-decided time limit, after which he should be gently instructed to get ready for bed. Once he has brushed his teeth and settled down in bed, covertly introduce a good children’s’ book and spend about twenty minutes or half an hour reading to him emotively. Make it interesting and explain difficult things to him so that he does not feel confused and is able to relate to what is being read. Depending on his age, encourage him to participate by allowing him to read certain passages. Do make the experience an enjoyable one by allowing your child to be inquisitive and expressive about his thoughts on what is being read.
Some children genuinely love this activity and take to the habit without any pressure from their parents while others need to be tactfully brought towards taking an interest in books. It may be difficult, but it is definitely worth it as it is for the betterment of your child and his future.