Picture this –
Your kids scoop exemplary grades in school. Their language is rich and their oratory skills dumbfounding.
They are draped in an aura of confidence like a bathrobe. Their brain is analytical; constantly dabbling in topics well above their age.
The frosting on the cake? That has got to be their social skills! They joyously interact with their peers and adults.
Who wouldn’t love such a child?
The truth is that such children are not a mirage, they exist.
Maybe you have stumbled upon them. Their brilliance has cast a spell on you.
I don’t blame you, my jaw always drops in the presence of such a child.
Are these kids merely lucky or could there be something they are doing differently?
Did they perhaps rake in some rare first-rate genes from their parents?
As a matter of fact, anyone can raise such awe-inspiring tots.
Raising a Reader
Granted, genetics and an array of other factors largely determine the abilities of a child. Multiple studies indicate that genes account for 50% of a child’s intelligence.
The other 50% is attributed to environmental factors such as family income, physical exercise, place of residence, education, parents’ livelihood among others.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter the kind of genes you passed on to your kids.
Because there’s a powerful game-changer that can skyrocket your child’s intelligence. We are talking about the simple habit of reading.
Reading is the magic ingredient that flips ineptitude on its head. It leaves no wiggle room for mediocrity. Think of how salt is critical in a meal.
It doesn’t matter if you have picked out the choicest ingredients in order to whip up your favorite meal. You still need one measly ingredient—salt.
Salt is indispensable in a meal. Without it, people will gag on both your meal and your culinary skills.
If you want to raise intelligent, creative, confident, curious, eloquent, and well sociable kids, then you need to stock up your home library with oodles of books.
And while some kids are naturally drawn to books, others may need a little nudging to read.
There are several ways to encourage your children to read. Read on (see what I did there?) and find them out:
1. Start Early
Understandably, new moms spend a lot of time gazing into their sweet-faced tot’s eyes, all the while warding off the urge to bite their chunky cheeks.
But there’s more you can do with your infant. You can usher them into the amazing world of books by reading aloud to them.
Though they may not have the slightest idea of what you are rambling on about, you are planting an invaluable seed in their lives.
Here are some benefits of reading to your child at a tender age:
- It builds their language and literacy prowess.
- It stokes their brain development, creativity, and memory.
- It strengthens your bond.
- It boosts their social skills.
- It piques their curiosity.
- It calms and soothes them.
We are however not talking about burdening your infant with escapades from a Harry Porter book. Start them off with gentle reads like lullabies and nursery rhymes.
Pick books that have repetitive sentences and more pictures than text to keep your tot fixated.
2. Lead by Example
“Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate” – Anonymous
Let’s face it.
No amount of pep talks, pleading, and cajoling will endear your kids to books if they have never caught you engrossed in a book.
The fastest route to getting your kids eagerly flipping pages is by modeling the same to them.
Which is a great thing because you will also be raking in a myriad of benefits derived from reading.
Children are like dry sponges, they eagerly soak up and replicate habits from the adults around them.
3. Shun the TV
Let’s be honest.
Parents across the globe are united on this one task. We are all constantly devising ways to shove our kids off the screens.
And it’s an awfully tough call, especially during this pandemic. Yet we press on, if only to save our kids from the unsavory effects of unregulated screen time.
How about trading the gadgets for books? That would jazz up the lives of your children.
It would be like choosing a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice over a bottle of sugar-laden soda.
4. Niche Down to Their Interests
Another brilliant way of tethering your kids to books is by enthusing them with books on subjects that they love.
Does your son relish swimming? Would he spend every waking moment in the pool if it was up to him?
Get him storybooks that have swimming escapades.
Is your daughter hooked on music? Enthuse her with books that have the music theme snuggled in. This way your kids will find reading irresistible.
5. Engage Them on What They are Reading
Ever watched a gripping movie and can’t wait to rave about it to your BFF? It’s like an itch that needs to be scratched.
Do not deny your kids this thrill. Engage them on the books they are reading and let them feel giddy as they narrate the events.
This will help them view reading as a fun activity and not a task.
6. Entice Them with Bed Time Stories
Another brilliant way of endearing kids to books is by sneaking bedtime stories into their night routine when they are young.
Ensure to read to them the bedtime stories every day. This will etch in them a reading habit that will blossom as they grow older.
7. Gift Them with Books
Which type of gifts do you lavish on your kids during their birthdays and other special occasions? Do you get them new toys, games, or new clothes?
How about getting them a set of captivating books? Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
You can also ask your friends and family to opt for books as when gifting your kids.
This will help your kids appreciate reading all the while building a fantastic home library.
8. Encourage Your Kids to Carry their Books Everywhere
Stepping out for a doctor’s appointment? Heading off on a winding road trip? Encourage your kids to tag their favorite reads along as they dash off to places where they have to wait.
As opposed to writhing in boredom, your kids will be fixated on their books, enriching their lives, not to mention making everyone’s life much easier.
9. Reward Them with a Book Themed Movie
Scour the stores for books that have been turned into movies. Let your kids devour them and when done, reward them by allowing them to watch the movie.
Watching the movie will be the cherry on top and will skyrocket their appetite for books.
10. Do Not Give Up
The truth is that your best attempt at wooing your child towards books may flop terribly like a deflated balloon. But please do not wave the white flag. Keep at it.
You can start by getting books on topics that your child already loves. If that doesn’t work, get an array of genres till you niche down to what your child finds irresistible.
But whatever you do, don’t give up on your child.
We are not merely raising children. We are nurturing a generation. Their childhood years are the foundation upon which their adulthood years spring forth.
We may or may not have passed down the most exemplary set of genes to our kids. That’s well beyond our control.
We can however enrich their lives by introducing them to the fascinating world of books.
We will not only be keeping them enthused but we will also be setting them up for great success.