Study show the benefits of play and reading aloud to children - less hyper, less anxiety, more attentive, and better prepared for school. 

A lot of parents understand the benefits of reading aloud to their young children.  It’s great quality time, it’s a great way engaging with your child, it supports healthy brain development, it aids in motivation, peaks the curiosity, sparks the imagination, and allows the children – and us – to go to faraway creative places, and the list goes on.  

Now the list got a little longer.

At the bottom is a link to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Reading Aloud, Play, and Social-Emotional Development, that shows how reading aloud, with pretend play, and talking to your young child, impacts the social-emotional development for children at school entry.  The study goes from birth to three-years-olds and preschool age to five-year-olds.

The researchers divided the families into groups and used video interaction of them engaging with their children.  They then took one group and provided positive feedback, instructions that promoted positive parenting through reading aloud, play, and daily routines, and positive reinforcement on how to interact with their children.  They returned for follow-up visits.  

The follow-up showed that promotion of positive parenting activities and daily interactions with your children resulted in enhanced social-emotional development for children in all socioeconomic backgrounds and challenges.

Reading aloud, play, talking, teaching, and encouragement showed the children in the intervention group were better prepared for school.  Their social and attention skills had increased, and they were able to sit still longer, engage better, learn better, than the other children in the group that were offered no guidance and interventions.  They supported the use of ongoing intervention from birth to school entry in primary care “to promote social-emotion development as reflected through reductions in disruptive behaviors.” 

Bottom line... let’s interact with our children, or make sure the caregiver is interacting with your child in a positive, encouraging way.  Make sure they’re being read to daily, played with, and talked to.  Studies like this is extremely important because it shows how we all need, especially lower income families with limited resources, the guidance and resources to help children in the early formative years.  If we don’t know we can’t do it.  If we don’t do it, the children suffer the consequences - they can struggle in school, have peer problems, attention problems, and more. 

We thank all the pediatricians and researchers that conduct such studies.  Let’s be kind to one another, help each other, and do our best to bring a smile to a child!



--Debbie Caldwell