We live in a technology-driven era where kids are digital natives. They were born when technology was already changing the world and grew up with it.
Technology is woven into their lives; it has changed how they learn, interact with friends, get entertained, behave in the society and even affected their creativity level.
For instance, it facilitates the interaction between your kids and teachers in the classroom. It has improved effectiveness and engagement of learning in the classroom. At home, tablets and YouTube have become companions for your kids.
You’ve probably even used technology to babysit your young ones. Ranging from interactive educational tools to engaging games, technology has kept your kids busy.
However, kids are increasingly spending more time using gadgets. More screen time means your kids spend less time outdoors and engaging less in other activities such as physical fitness. Unlike kids born in the 1990, kids today use more technology.
According to the results of a Kaiser Foundation survey, kids and teens use technology 4 to 5 times more than the recommended frequency.
Other downsides of increased use of technology on kids include reduced creativity, lack of social skills and poor etiquette and mannerisms. Additionally, your kids over rely on technology, get addicted to using gadgets and become lazy.
They just want to be on their screens!
It’s time for your kids to break the habit of over-depending on technology. That would improve their health and quality of life. But, how can you help your kids out of this problem?
According to Psychology Today, tech addiction can stress the body and damage the brain. However, evidence-based strategies such as exposure to nature, routine exercise, sleep hygiene, engaging in creative activities, and reading books can help reduce screen time.
Book reading improves brain connectivity patterns, according to a study carried out by the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation. It supports literacy and healthy brain development.
With that said, most kids don’t have interest in reading. Therefore, it’s your role as a parent to ignite that interest in your child and reduce screen time or help fight technology addiction. Here’s how to go about that.
Top 4 Tips to Helping Your Kid Develop Interest in Reading
Tip 1: Use Interactive Books and Make Reading Fun
Make sure your home is stocked with enough interactive books for your kid to read. They usually come with pull-out facts and sound buttons to make stories sound realistic. You can also read a story aloud to your kid and let them follow the words to make your reading sessions interactive.
Ask questions at the end of each chapter or after reading an entire book to engage your child and further make reading interactive.
Choose books written specifically for your kid’s age. Opt for books with texts published creatively to make reading fun. Read to your kid in varying voice tones to keep them engaged and interested in the story.
Set up a mini-library or a small reading tent in your child’s bedroom to encourage them to engage more in reading. Pop-up books can also make reading fun to your child.
Consider introducing a podcast or audiobook in your reading schedule. That would see your child look forward to each reading time, atop enjoying each session.
Tip 2: Lead by Example
When was the last time you read a book? Kids often see their parents as role models and mentors. They like to emulate what they see their parents do. If you engage in book reading often, your kid is likely to be motivated to do the same.
Read books and magazines a few times a week or as many times as you can to impart in them the eagerness to read and develop a habit of reading.
Show interest in reading to set an example for your kids to follow. It’s one way of creating a home environment that supports or allows for that.
Kids are naturally eager and curious to read if they feel motivated to do so. It’s up to you to motivate your kid to engage in reading and spend less time watching on the screen.
Tip 3: Let Your Little One Choose a Book to Read
Reading won’t just help your kid reduce the time spent in front of a screen, but also improve school performance. Helping your child develop interest in reading is key to raising a life-long reader.
Avail age-appropriate books in your house to allow your kid to select what they’d like to read for the day. It’s also important to engage them in book selection at your local bookshop or library.
Letting your child choose a book they like makes them own the reading process. They won’t feel that you’re forcing them to do something they don’t like, but love being part of the reading process.
Your young one is likely to immerse themselves in the book, enjoy reading it and even retain the information read.
Tip 4: Show Interest in What Your Kid is Reading & Give Positive Feedback
Show interest in whatever your child is reading. Take part in reading to show interest in what your child is doing. Sometimes, let your kid read the story to you aloud and praise them each time for doing well.
Say something positive to your kid each time they read well. That’ll motivate and encourage them to even read more and look forward to reading again.
Once in a while, give them a gift for exemplary performance in reading. Just like giving positive feedback, they’ll feel motivated to continue reading books instead of staring at screens for hours each day.
Hidden Benefits of Reading for Kids
Book reading has several hidden benefits for you and your child. The time spent reading itself is a priceless experience. Reading with your child can:
- Build and strengthen the bond and relationship between you and your kid.
- Help your child do better than other kids of the same age. It increases your child’s likelihood of being successful later in life (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic & Social Research study).
- Build your kid’s vocabulary to gain an advantage over other kids who don’t read.
- Improve your kid’s communication skills, self-esteem and thus self-confidence, especially when interacting with peers (Gemm Learning).
- Improve your kid’s attention skills and your cognitive ability (Great Schools).
Make sure your kid has access to books of different genres, including kid magazines and cookbooks to intrigue their curiosity and help them learn new things.
You can also visit a local library together, develop a routine to read each night and sign up to a book club in the neighborhood.
The key here is balancing activities for your kid. Schedule time for creative play, physical activity, and family fun, not just book reading.
Ultimately, your kid is bound to gain more from reading than just reducing screen time and improving school performance.