Published Date: 05/24/19
We all know that reading to your children is important, but did you know that reading to them actually affects how you parent?
A study led by Rutgers University found that regularly reading to your toddlers makes you less likely to engage in harsh parenting, and an added bonus, your children are less likely to be hyperactive or disruptive.
We already knew that reading with your children helps prepare them for school, improves literacy and language, and develops emotional skills, but this study by researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is the first to tell us the impact on parents.
“For parents, the simple routine of reading with your child on a daily basis provides not just academic but emotional benefits that can help bolster the child’s success in school and beyond,” said lead researcher Manuel Jimenez.
The Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics published the study along with a video abstract. Researchers found that shared reading develops a stronger bond between parents and children, and those children have less hyperactivity and attention problems.
Jimenez added, “Our findings can be applied to programs that help parents and caregivers in underserved areas to develop positive parenting skills.”
Researchers reviewed data on 2,165 mother-child pairs from 20 major cities in the United States. Mothers were asked how often they read to their children at ages one and three. Two years later, those women were interviewed again and asked about the frequency in which they engage in psychologically and/or physically aggressive discipline. The were also asked about their children’s behavior. Control factors that often contribute to harsh parenting and disruptive behavior in children were controlled, like financial hardship and parental depression.
Results of the study showed positive, long-lasting effects of shared reading. Frequent shared reading with children at age one was associated with less harsh parenting at age three and frequent shared reading at age three was associated with less harsh parenting at age 5. The mothers who frequently read with their children also reported fewer disruptive behaviors, and this may partially explain the reduction in harsh parenting tactics.
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