15 minutes that will stay with your child forever

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It’s a tough gig being a parent today. When baby boomers and Gen X were growing up ‘parenting’ wasn’t even a word you heard used much, let alone a thing. Now it’s very difficult for any parent to escape an avalanche of articles and advice about parenting, and the judgement that often accompanies them, sometimes in a subtle way, sometimes not. Meanwhile you’re trying to keep up with changing curricula and the tyranny at the school gate, where parents are more likely to exchange anxieties instead of pleasantries. 

A short time is a still a good time
While educational fads come and go, it’s easy to forget the things that are proven.  Like reading with your children.  A recent UK study found only 20% of parents regularly managed a bedtime story.  We know the realities of juggling work and family. So, we’re here to make it easy: you don’t have to spend an hour or even half an hour reading, if you do it regularly. 15-20 minutes a day is all it takes yet the benefits to your child’s development last a lifetime. 

They’re not just learning words.  They’re learning how to think

  • For babies, hearing your voice develops concentration, listening and imagination.

  • For toddlers and preschoolers reading is the springboard to their school life. It’s not just about language and literacy: books teach children about the world, introduce them to new topics and fire their imagination.

  • Reading advances critical thinking which is essential for everything they learn and will learn. 
  • Books provide security and characters in a book will often feel like trusted friends which makes a child more likely to seek out more books

  • When a child is facing an anxious moment like starting school or moving to another house, there’s always a book that makes it easier for them and you to smooth this transition. 

Bonus: You don’t even have to do all the reading

Ok, so you’re so tired you can’t even talk. No problem. Let the child select the book and open it where they want to. Order isn’t as important as fun.

  • Point to words or pictures and ask them to tell you what they see.

  • Start a sentence and let them finish it. Even if they can’t read, the act of making up stories is enriching for their development.

  • You’re tired, they’re tired so ham it up. Have fun with sounds and make a game of it.

  • If they keep picking the same book, ask them to tell you in their own words what happens on the next page.

  • Don’t worry about correcting a pre-schooler too much if they mispronounce a word. If they ask for help in sounding a word, it’s good to help but don’t fret about them always getting it right at this stage. Just move on. 

At the end of the day it’s the perfect bonding experience

The simple act of cuddling up together with a book makes a child feel safe and creates intimacy. For you, it’s a great opportunity to take a deep breath after work and get lost for a while. Whether it’s a dose of Dr. Seuss, a fairy-tale or a book of farmyard sounds it might be the perfect therapy to dissolve the murky pall of office politics.


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