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Here’s Why You Need to Read to Your Older Children
There are many reasons why school-aged kids still need a bedtime story. Some are to do with sleep, and others to do with their educational achievements and laying the foundation for a life-long love of books.
Setting a Sleep Routine
School-aged children need about ten to eleven hours of sleep per night. The trouble is that school work, TV, and electronics can get in the way. However, even small amounts of sleep deprivation can lead to big problems.
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep results in lost productivity, emotional issues, and even accidents – sometimes serious ones. A daily routine you stick to every day, even at the weekends, can go a long way towards having productive days and getting your child ready for sleep at night.
Evenings should be set up in such a way that they signal the lead-up to sleep. A good dinner, homework, and a small amount of TV or gaming will let them know the end of the day is near. However, they should not watch or do anything over-exciting for at least an hour before bedtime.
Having a bath or shower, getting into sleepwear, brushing one’s teeth, and so on, are all signals for your child that sleep is drawing near. But the biggest lure of getting in bed might be the bedtime story.
Reading a bedtime story is a shared activity that can create close family bonds. Also, stories are ingrained in our culture. We share them all the time in different forms, such as movies and TV.
However, books will also help your child improve their reading skills, add to their vocabulary, and capture their imagination. They can learn about history, art, nature, science and more through the books you and they choose.
Studies show that parents who read to their children regularly are making a significant impact on their child’s educational achievements. Every subject, even math, relies on your child having good reading and comprehension skills. Even ten minutes of reading six nights a week can add up to an extra hour of teaching and learning. Just think what you would have to pay a tutor per hour these days, and you can see the time spent reading can be well worth it.
A Love of Books and Learning
One study argues that parents should continue reading to children up to the age of 11: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11864664/Children-tell-parents-please-dont-stop-bedtime-stories.html
Other studies have shown that 66% of six-year-olds who were read to express a love of books, but the same group of children one year later whose parents had stopped reading to them showed that only 44% expressed an appreciation of books.
In addition to the educational boost, bedtime stories are a great way to lull your child to sleep and to share experiences and quiet moments with each other, without being on the go all the time.
Chances are children who won’t remember every toy you gave them or every video game they played, but they will remember you reading to them every night.