I have many hopes for my son. I hope that he never loses his sense of imagination or adventure. I want him to win as graciously as he loses. I hope he reaches for the stars but remembers to enjoy the journey there. I hope he will be confident, kind and thoughtful. I hope he is intelligent and never ceases to thirst for knowledge. But like a plant can not grow without water, sunlight or soil, a young person will never reach their full potential if it is not fostered. From the moment Whistler was born, I have strived to foster that potential.
No matter how much time you have with your children each day, or the amount of money you make, every parent can foster that potential with one simple act – read together.
As our children develop mobility, we find that the time to cuddle and snuggle with mom gets put on the back burner while they instead discover their surroundings and new ways to keep us on our toes. Making reading a part of your bedtime routine gets them to hold still, slow down and spend time with you. Those moments foster a sense of security and confidence within your relationship. As a toddler, kids begin learning critical language skills that will eventually develop into reading. By reading to them each night not only are they listening to the way sentences, paragraphs and stories are formed; they also begin picking up the basics of how to read a book. I strongly believe that the greatest gift we can give our children is a passion for reading, and the books overflowing our bookshelf make it apparent. One of the newest books in our collection is based on one of Whistlers favorite TV Shows (he is kind of obsessed about it), Peppa Pig.
In the newest book Peppa Pig and the Muddy Puddles there is so much rain! After being tucked into bed Peppa, and her little brother George, dream of all puddle jumping they will do the next day. But when they wake up in an island surrounded by water a whole new adventure begins.
We were already well verse in this particular episode before the book arrived, as it is one of Whistler’s favorites. Every time he sees puddles, he yells “muddy puddles!” before jumping into them. He also often declares that his favorite character is Peppa’s little brother George. In fact, he names everything George – from his first pet fish to his future baby sister – everything is named George. He was so delighted at the talking Fisher-Price Hug ‘n Oink Peppa Pig Doll that arrived with the book. She declares her love of hugs with every squeeze and is the perfect reading companion.
Each night we read together, first I read the story in it’s entirety and then we read it a second time where he read tries to “read” the story back to me, using the pictures and what he remembers to put the story together. This simple act encourages imagination, communication skills, concentration and logical thinking (ie cause/effect, order of events). The wonder of it all is that it’s simply wrapped up in this comfortable, cozy environment of spending time with mom (or dad). Even I sometimes forget how much he is truly learning until it’s all broken down before me. It is also proven that children who have been read to before school age are more likely to excel in their education.