Parents are often challenged with the task of encouraging their children to read more. However, as much as we wish we could click our fingers and have our children nose deep in a book, sometimes it isn’t quite that simple. You need to find innovative ways to create enjoyment from reading, and this strategy needs to be implemented not just by parents, but babysitters, nannies, and all adults the child is regularly around.
Research has shown that frequent reading has a direct effect on brain development and cognitive functions. Not only will their literacy skills improve, but through reading, they are acquiring knowledge, language skills, and even the development of empathy and social engagement. We have listed our top 10 tips to help your child pick up a book and make reading part of their daily habits.
Inspire fun and excitement about reading by creating an inviting reading nook to read together, and where your child can go independently. By building a special space that’s comfortable, quiet, and dedicated to reading, your child will be inspired to curl up with a book. Make sure to be inventive; the nook could range from a little child-size armchair in the corner with a blanket to a full-blown fort with twinkling fairy lights and enormous bean bags.
Giving your child a library card is a really simple way to empower them to read and make their own reading choices. This sort of autonomy will boost motivation and you’ll find they’ll be asking when the next trip to the library will be. Library visits will then become a fun adventure where they have ownership and responsibility. Not only are you giving them a wider reading collection to choose from, but you are making an exciting activity out of it and this is something that can be done with you as parents, their Juggle Street nanny or whoever is looking after them.
Make reading a social occasion with your little one. Being able to read with someone and discuss it will not only help their development but keep their attention. Children are curious so being able to make a conversation of it will make reluctant reading a thing of the past. Ensuring that different adults, including your babysitter, reads with your child will help them to expand their knowledge of different styles, tones, accents, voices, and the overall perimeters of reading.
Enthusiasm is key when it comes to getting your young ones on board. They look up to their caregivers and repeat behaviour so if they see you excited about what you will read next, or actively discussing reading, they will reflect that positive attitude. Getting your babysitter or nanny to lead by example is also extremely important so there is consistency in your household. This will then help to maintain the reading habit.
Put on your best Oscar performance and adopt the characters within the books when reading to your child. Using funny voices for the different characters will captivate their attention, helping them to distinguish the plot and understand the story more. It will also make them laugh and want to revisit the book to find out what happens to the characters. Experienced babysitters are fantastic at this, and it creates a strong bond.
Most children don’t like to hear the word bedtime, however, creating a cosy ritual each night where you read together beforehand will seem like a reward. Having them choose a book to read with their Juggle Street babysitter gives them a feeling of choice before bed. As well as being a good habit to lockdown, it will naturally make them associate reading with relaxation as part of their night-time routine.
To keep them interested, try to change up the reading material, whether it’s a book of poems, a non-fiction children’s magazine, or a short story. There are even apps for electronic devices with interactive stories where the children can control the story themselves. It is also constructive to try and cover different genres as they will discover the type of stories they love.
There are so many frustrations that come with learning to read. Your child may have a lot of questions or be struggling with a particular word or sentence. Be patient and open-minded so they don’t associate any negative feelings of struggle directly with reading. If you do have a concern, discuss it with their nanny or teacher so you can monitor the situation instead of making your child feel incapable.
Once you have finished the story, talk about it. Look at the pictures and decide what you think. If your child has read alone, ask them about it, be engaging, and be interested with open-ended questions. For example; “Why was the princess stuck in the tower?” or “What happened to the wicked witch in the end?”. Let them voice their opinions and elaborate on why they loved the book or didn’t enjoy it. Your little one will feel a sense of leadership in educating you.
This is a brilliant way to get your child to enjoy reading. There are many ways you can bring your book to life; you can play dress up, you can use face paints, draw the royal castle, mix potions or spend a day baking the gingerbread house from the story together. Adding sensory experiences will encourage them to read more and get lost in other stories.
Reading can be such a fun experience, and by employing the different techniques above, even your most reluctant reader will be on board. All of our experienced babysitters and nannies at Juggle Street are well-trained in encouraging your children to enjoy reading.