Reading is one of the most enjoyable activities that parents can do with their child. This is an opportunity for them to have fun in peace and spend a moment of intimacy together. When it is done regularly, reading facilitates the acquisition of the language and it allows the child to develop his capacity for listening and concentration.
Here’s how the Comfort, Play and Teach approach can help you enjoy the benefits of reading with your child.
Enjoy reading a story to spend beautiful moments one-on-one with your child. As you read, he snuggles against you, he feels your warmth and he hears the comforting sound of your voice. All this promotes the development and maintenance of the bond of attachment between you.
Integrate reading into the daily bedtime routine. Reading to children at bedtime relaxes them and reassures them, no matter how old they are. For your toddler, sticking to yourself while reading his favorite story is a nice way to end his day.
Pay attention to the pages or books your child begins to prefer. If you take into account what catches his attention, he will understand that you value what he likes.
Describe the emotions expressed by the illustrations or characters. For example, tell your child, “Baby Bear looks sad. Do you think he needs a hug? Toddlers need to hear and learn the words that describe emotions. This helps them to better understand the emotions they feel.
Use the books to help your child live better with certain experiences. For example, it can be comforting for him to listen to and comment on a story about daycare entry, day one in kindergarten, pet loss or a quarrel between friends. Thus, he can see that he is not the only one to live this kind of situations and learn how to face them.
Read books that your child can handle. Babies like to explore rigid cardboard or plastic books with their fingers and mouth, while older children enjoy discovering interactive books. Invite your child to feel the textures, listen to the sound effects, pull the tabs, lift the flaps, etc.
Take the time to talk about the story together. Tell your child, for example: “I wonder what will happen now” or “What will the little girl do in your opinion? This simple conversation stimulates his imagination and creativity. If he does not speak yet, ask him to point to what you are talking about, for example: “Where is the cow? You can also ask him questions like “What is it? Do not answer the question immediately. Give him some time so that he understands that you are waiting for an answer and then give him the answer. He discovers that communication is a two-way relationship.
Change your tone often and play with the expressions on your face to emphasize what you are saying. For example, whisper when a character is asleep or take a deep voice to talk about something awesome. Your child will be captivated by the story. He will also learn to observe your face and listen to your voice to better interpret emotions.
Escape together in an imaginary world. As you read the story, let your child give free rein to his imagination and comment on the whimsical illustrations that turn reading into play.
Re-read favorite stories by skipping words or phrases. Your child will be happy to complete your sentences or repeat the rhymes he loves, or he will take the opportunity to tell the story in his own way. This will make the reading very interactive.
Enjoy reading to talk about the color, shape, and size of objects. Your toddler will take some time to correctly name these abstract concepts, but the books will make it easier to understand.
Discover new places without leaving your home. Reading is a good way to teach your child things about places and otherwise inaccessible experiences. Let him discover the ocean, space or cultures and distant lands. Books can also awaken him to new ideas.
Prepare your child for reading by reading stories. He thus discovers how one manipulates a book, for example, one opens the pages from the right to the left and one looks them in order. By listening to you, your toddler also learns important storytelling elements, such as “once upon a time”, “and suddenly …”, “that’s how …”, which mark the beginning, turnarounds and the outcome of a story.