Reading with your child builds strong bonds

As digital media continues to become more and more popular, it’s easy for parents to forget the importance of reading aloud with their children. Reading with your child goes beyond learning about the words on the page. It helps wire their brain to be better learners and develop social and emotional skills.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, pediatrician and medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin, says that nurturing adult-child relationships are key to a child’s development and that “confident, capable, caring adults” are better than any toy, DVD or app for supporting their growth. Reading with a child is an opportunity for a parent to support their language development, encourage a love for learning and build a loving parent-child relationship.

Of course, energetic young children who can’t read yet can be tough audiences. This is where serve and return comes in. When a parent responds to an infant or young child’s communication or action, whether it’s looking where a finger is pointing or responding to their babble with eye contact or words, they are helping their child develop communication and social skills.

Serve and return can be utilized when reading with your child to keep them engaged and have positive interactions with your child. You can practice serve and return when reading by treating it as an activity and not focusing on the book itself. Your child might want to ask questions, turn the pages themselves or have a conversation unrelated to the book. Let them! Using their creativity and communication with you supports their development and builds a love for consistent reading with their parent.

All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care.  Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article.  You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance.  Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.