Most of us grew up playing in the parks or with our friends in the neighborhood. However, occasionally the big-ticket event of our childhood did entertain us too. This was the opportunity to spend time in front of the computer or television while playing on the PlayStation. And of course, the cartoons did catch our fancy and had us hooked to the idiot box. However, none of that let us compromise on our physical activity or learning through play. And most of us had a hobby that helped us learn something new.
But things are different for the kids of today. Most of their learning, entertainment, and playtime is on electronic devices and hand-held devices. With smartphones and tablets becoming commonplace, most children do not even venture out to play with friends. So, leave alone the question of pursuing a hobby. However, experts suggest that children need to develop the habit of reading if they were to improve their memory and boost brain health. So, is it possible to help your child develop reading as a hobby? Can you get children to read books as a source of entertainment? Child development experts say it is possible if you do it right! Here are a few tips that you could use to help your child start reading for entertainment and as a hobby!
Embrace It as a Routine
Kids thrive on routine. Make sure you start the habit early and get them to spend some time reading every day. You could start by reading out bedtime stories to them, and eventually get them into the habit of reading the stories with you if your child is too young. You could make this a routine from the time your little one is an infant, and they would soon start associating reading with the quality time they spend with you.
It will thus create a positive association in their mind and help them pick the habit sooner. However, if your child is slightly grown-up, don’t worry. It is never too late to start the habit. You could still encourage them to spend no-distraction quality time with you by reading together every day!
Don’t Make It a Punishment
The biggest mistake that most parents do is to take away the child’s gadgets and ask them to pick up a book every time the child makes a mistake. Children form associations and develop preferences based on the combinations in which an event occurs. So, if you ask your child to pick up their books and drop the gadgets, they will associate it with punishments every time they make a mistake.
This holds, even if they’re asked to study for an exam. This aversion for books and its association with punishments, prevent it from becoming a hobby or the child developing an interest in reading. Instead, make reading an excellent habit, something that is more of a reward than a punishment. That way, the child will enjoy reading when you ask them to, rather than despising it.
Let Your Child Pick Their Reading Material
While you might want to introduce your child to reading by letting them read your favorite books, it’s best if you don’t do that. Instead, take your child to a book store and let them pick their reading material. It could be a comic book, fiction, history, or biography.
Let them be the judge of the genre they would like to read. The worst outcome of it would be that they’d not like the book. But then, they will not hate the experience as they know that they picked it. It would also help them understand that this is for their entertainment and learning experience. You could also let them sit down and read a few pages of all the books they like and then buy the ones they find interesting.
Let Your Little One Watch You Read
Kids tend to learn by watching your actions more than by listening to your advice. So, if you want to see your child read for entertainment, make sure you read too. If they see you reading as a hobby, they will pick up a book too.
You could read a book, magazine, newspaper, or just about anything. This will teach them that it’s not just big fat books that they will find interesting, but everything that has words and has a story to tell!
So, go on and get started with the journey of walking your child into the world of books! Teach them that there’s more to entertainment than just movies and music. After all, books are the only way for a person to live a thousand lives and travel across time!