5 Ways That Reading Helps Kids To Sit Still Longer
If your daily life is anything like mine, there’s a lot of noise, running around, and laughter. Now, you may not be the mother of a busy toddler, but I am, and a full 12-15 hours of homeschooling with one of these little guys can be exhausting!
The energy level this kid has seems hovers around 8 to 10 most days, and so finding wits and stamina to match that earns me a series of small rewards throughout the day. On a great day, one of those rewards is a 45-60 minutes long nap. But on a good day, I am eager to find a short break by simply sitting still to read books together.
Story time isn't just for the Little Readers
Though my son thinks that story time is just for him, when he is directed to the bookshelf to grab something he wants to read, a lot of the time it’s for a much-needed slowdown for both of us. Shoot, Mama needs a break!
And during those moments when he is so charged up with excitement, the version of me that prefers far less activity gently persuades the kid to join me on the bean bag chair with a book of his choosing because it’s either that or I’ll pass out from trying to keep up the entire time.
Now, I’ll admit, reading books generally puts me to sleep. Years ago, when I was young, fabulous, single, and nobody’s mama, I discovered that reading does such a wonder at coaxing me to sleep that I purposely got in bed with a book in hand. Back then, read a few pages each night of a novel or non-fiction book is all that it took to find the rest that I so often fought off.
What the experts have to say about, in my own words...
Interestingly enough, reading books has the same effect on my son. I wondered why this may be, so I did a little digging to figure out what may be the cause of this gift. The gift, that is, of relaxation that seems to lull him into conforming to a cooling down and finding his calm. Here’s what I learned from the experts that study the impact of reading on kids of all ages:
- Reading is an activity that requires a child to sit still.
To clearly see the illustrations and the words, a child realizes that they can do this best while sitting still. When you invite your child to sit with you in a nook of some sort, he’ll rest in a comfortable place. This sends him vibes of safety and security. Kids crave that. And if we’re going to be honest, a lot of us parents do, too. Bringing a book into the mix of a sit down with a cuddle is the recipe for calm.
- A child’s busy mind can focus on one thing at a time.
Sure, it’s easier said than done for an adult, but for a child, reading a book eliminates other distractions. When you sit down to read with them, they are out of options to think about what it is they believe they may be missing, or anticipating the moment story time is over.
- To kids, same as with adults, reading is the equivalent to learning.
The synapses that are firing all over their tiny little minds are eager to make new connections, otherwise known as learning. And so, as you sit and read with them, the focus required is just enough that the brain is satisfied because it’s taking in new words and images. Perhaps this is why it’s so important for kids to have variety in the books that are on their bookshelves, and their delight with having new books introduced to them.
- Reading opens the imagination, and kids welcome creative impulses.
See, every moment of every day, children observe an environment around them that helps them to increase the number of associations they can establish. The more they see, the more their brains find space for more new material to absorb and to push the boundaries of reality. , So, this also builds a strong memory bank for them as well as new possibilities. That’s a lot to process, I know, pun intended, so let’s do them a favor and make it a habit to make time to read. This encourages their minds to work the way that they’re supposed to.
- Reading helps foster a sense of discipline and increased concentration.
From my studies of neuropsychology, which became a fascination of mine during 2-years of recovery from a traumatic brain injury, I learned that reading helps increase your attention span. The ability to focus is one that seems simple, until you explore it further and realize that it’s a core building block for shaping your child’s personality.
More than words and pictures, eh?
What makes this all these ideas come alive for me is to understand that reading with your child is not merely a form of entertainment. You are not simply passing the time. Rather, you are delivering essential components of learning and helping them develop character.
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