Are they even listening?
We MUST read aloud to our babies and young children. Countless studies have determined that there is very important brain activity occurring when babies and toddlers are being read aloud to.
To quote Meghan Cox Gurdon in The Enchanted Hour,
By a child’s third birthday, his brain has completed 85 percent of all the growth it will have... By the end of the first five years, a child has passed through all the most rapid stages of development involving language, emotional control, vision, hearing, and habitual ways of responding.
When we read aloud, not only are our children acquiring important language skills, they’re also learning about the world around them, they’re learning about a variety of different situations and emotions through the stories, and they’re experiencing a unique opportunity to bond with us. After all, picture books can hold some of the sweetest language, some of the best words to go in our babies’ ears.
But, I know many of us wonder, “Are they even listening?” A 2015 study at the University of Arizona, Flagstaff proved that reading board books to babies is actually better for them than either traditional or electronic toys. Reading to our children provides them with language they don’t normally hear in our daily routines.
I find that reading aloud also helps me to remember to find time, every day, in this crazy life to just sit, to be still. To relax with my little blessings and soak up the moments we have together, the calm in the storm that is large-ish family life.
It’s easy to forget how special and impactful these moments can be. Take your time with your little ones. As you cherish your read aloud time with them, remember that while it seems like you’re not doing much of anything, you’re making a world of difference in their growing brains.
Children are only young for a little while... Surround them with lots of lovely words, and all manner of good things happen. (Meghan Cox Gurdon)