Once upon a time, a long time ago, there were no screens or devices to distract us, just words and pictures in a book to ignite our imaginations, introduce us to vibrant characters and take us to distant lands. There are no age restrictions on when books should be introduced because you are never too young to experience the wonders of the literary world.
There are so many educational and personal benefits to sharing daily storytime with your baby and/or child. Here’s just a few of them.
Firstly, in such a fast-paced world, making sure to enjoy storytime with your child at least once a day is a great way to switch off from technology and spend quality time together. TV before bed can be quite stimulating for little ones, all the loud sounds and bright colors are likely to prevent them from going to bed.
This is why bedtime is an optimum time to read together. You can remove all distractions and use the sound of your voice to help relax your little one before sleep.
However, storytime can be enjoyed by both child and parent anytime, anywhere! Next time you are preparing to take a trip to the dentist or travel somewhere, pack your child’s favorite story to make the time fly and turn a boring wait into a special moment together.
Research shows that reading and sharing books with your little one provides opportunities for them to build important foundations for language development.
The rhythm and rhyme of stories written for young children helps to encourage speech, broadens vocabulary and introduces early literacy skills, even before they are reading themselves.
So, as a parent, guardian or family member reading to little ones even before they can even speak themselves will help them become familiar with the phonetics and sounds of words, preparing them for later in life.
By fostering a love for books through storytime at a young age, your little one will also develop the ability to focus their attention on a topic for longer periods of time, working on their patience as they follow the story with you. Whilst simultaneously nurturing their natural curiosity and inquisitive young minds, as your child will begin to think ahead to what may happen in the story and the consequences of the character’s actions.
Therefore, it is important to make sure your little one can see the pages of the book and your face to follow the story, discussing the picture and watching your expressions to understand the emotions connected to the words.
As your little one grows, encourage them to join in with storytime by reading some of the words or dialogue, describing what is happening in the pictures and selecting the story they would like to read. By doing this, you are also ensuring they are engaged and enjoying the experience, promoting the benefits of storytime by learning through play. However, younger children do learn best through repetition – so be prepared to read their favorite story over and over!
Books, especially those written for young children, usually contain an overall message or moral to the tale. By reading a variety of both fiction and non-fiction books with your little one, you will be able to explain and show them the difference between ‘real’ and ‘make-believe’.
Storytime can be used to broach life lessons and behaviors in a way a child can understand. From being kind to one another and honest, to even early first aid and internet safety for preschool children.
As a parent, you can continue to discuss the topic with your child, having the characters and storyline from the book as an easy reference point both you and your child can talk around.
Sparking your child’s imagination at an early age through storytime is a magical experience! By sharing stories together and encouraging them to join in, you will promote their self-esteem and confidence to speak out loud. Allow them to explore their creativity by following themes and even pictures from their favorite storybooks. As well as strengthening their imagination to create their own stories, whether through role-play or writing later in life.
Storytime holds so many benefits, from instant entertainment, preparation and developing skills to flourishing interests and talents later in life that can be found rooted in their early love for books.
Written by Kiddi Caru Day Nurseries, experts in childcare for babies and children aged zero-five years old.