Home LearningParentingThe Importance of Reading books to your Toddler

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We at Totto Learning, have a vision of empowering parents with the knowledge, awareness, and tools to effectively engage children at home. ‘Ask Totto Anything’ is a series of sessions hosted by Totto Learning where parents post their questions to us and we get the answers from an expert in the field and post them...

We at Totto Learning, have a vision of empowering parents with the knowledge, awareness, and tools to effectively engage children at home. ‘Ask Totto Anything’ is a series of sessions hosted by Totto Learning where parents post their questions to us and we get the answers from an expert in the field and post them back in the community. We start the Ask Totto Anything series with Dr. Laura Anderson Kirby.

Dr. Kirby is a licensed clinical psychologist with years of experience providing evaluations and therapy for children and adolescents. She has also authored the book ‘Henrietta’s Thistleberry Boots’. Following is an excerpt from our conversation with her regarding the importance of reading books in children.

Emotional Intelligence
    Dr. Laura Kirby

Books can be a great tool in child development. “Reading books can be great for social, emotional development and this is what motivated Dr. Laura Kirby to write her book ‘Henrietta’s Thistleberry Boots.”Children who are a little bit more reserved or shy, often have trouble talking about their feelings openly, even with people who are close to them as their parents. A book can do is it can show the child a particular situation that they might be able to relate to. This helps children to talk about that situation through the eyes of the character rather than themselves. That’s often a lot less threatening than talking about their big feelings. The main character in her book is an animal for this particular reason. It further removes them from themselves and it becomes less threatening for children to talk about these things when it’s about another character or another person. 

Books can help children process really difficult things like their parents getting divorced or the death of a loved one or parent. There are specific books written for children in the foster care system. Reading such books to them has proven helpful. When a child sees themself reflected in a book, it can help them feel less alone. So if another character goes through something similar, they can say, “Oh, maybe I’m not the only one who experiences this” and suddenly they feel less alone and more comforted by that. When parents read these types of books with their children, it’s kind of a springboard for discussion about difficult topics. Because parents often don’t know where to start with having these discussions, and if they can read a book and kind of have a topic to talk about that helps.

Language Development

The other role that storybooks play is in language development. So there’s been a lot of research about the impact of reading with your child on developing language. What these researches show is that the more you read one-on-one with your child or with your children, the more vocabulary they have. Now that we are amidst a global pandemic, the children are being deprived of socializing opportunities. Children are not being exposed much to other children or even other people in general, for them to learn the language and develop their vocabulary. One way to facilitate this is to read a book with your child whenever you have a spare moment. This is any day better than putting them in front of a screen. This would work out best if somehow you can incorporate reading a book together into your child’s daily routine. Every night before the child goes to bed, you can have a storytime. Or you can find a time during the day whichever works for you and your child. 

You can listen to the session from Dr. Laura Anderson Kirby here. To surf through more informative conversations with early learning experts,  follow our Youtube page.

If you have any questions on parenting or child development you can ask Totto here.