By Jak Burke,
According to a recent government census report for 2014 a whopping 64.8% of workers have children under the age of 6. For many workers a long commute home and attending to immediate needs like serving dinner, organizing baths and supervising homework can lead to skipping a bedtime read but according to leading experts – that might prove to be a big mistake.
U.K newspapers The Guardian and The Daily Mirror both recently featured an article based on the statistics and findings of two leading market research groups TomTom and Settle Stories. These studies support the idea of parents continuing to read a child a bedtime story beyond that child’s basic literacy ability. It also highlighted that between 60-30% (depending in which study is viewed) of parents do not read to their children at night at all.
“A survey by Settle Stories, an arts and heritage charity, of more than 2,000 parents with children aged four to 10 claimed that only 4% read a bedtime story to their child every night, with 69% saying they did not have the time. In February a study by TomTom of 1,000 parents of children aged one to 10 found that 34% never read a bedtime story to their children, with 29% blaming late working and 26% the daily commute.”
What are the benefits of reading to our children before they sleep?
“Child Psychologist Dr. Richard Woolfson explained the benefits of reading to children before bed. He said: “A bedtime story can be so rewarding for young children. It relaxes them before sleep, boosts their development, stimulates their interest in reading and enhances the parent-child bond.”-“
For older children, the experience of being read to by a parent nurtures not just a close emotional bond between parent and child but a life-long positive association with reading books – especially more complex works.
Children’s author Michael Rosen was fortunate enough to have both of his parents read to him through-out his entire childhood. It was a habit that taught him the pleasure of total escape and adventure in more sophisticated books, such as Great Expectations. Rosen also laments the rise of TV’s in kids’ bedrooms – and I would add to this: lap tops, tablets and smart phones – stating that they are the “killer of bedtime stories”. At readings as many as 50% of Rosen’s audience (kids) respond that the TV is what they use to fall asleep to. With some kids staying up longer than prescribed one can only imagine what images and concepts they fall asleep to?
Research revealed that the average bedtime read took just 16-minutes. Adults also felt the benefits of the nightly reading ritual with 53% of those engaged saying that they felt more relaxed, 44% felt happier and 26% felt ‘less stressed’.
So parents – that bedtime read and snuggle is worth the extra effort – for your child and for you!
The study was conducted to mark the launch of TomTom’s GO 5000 satnav and children’s book promotion. TomTom is offering parents the opportunity to redeem a complimentary children’s book, Alfie’s Story, written by award-winning author Miriam Moss with busy mums in mind.