We have all heard that reading to our children from the time they are infants is important, but do you know why? At the youngest age, infants listen to your inflection and pauses and the rhythm of your reading. Even at this early age, their brains are mapping out how language works and what it sounds like. Before children can read, they must understand that letters represent spoken sounds, and reading allows them to make that connection. As you read to your young child, you help them build their attention control and memory. These skills help them become reading-ready. We all know how fun it is to read the same book night after night, but did you realize this is also super important for your child’s reading readiness? Hearing the same book repeated allows the child to see the connection between the printed and spoken words. It will enable the child to anticipate what comes next, and they may even begin to “read” along with you. Reading along with your child is also important. This allows the child to start to feel mastery in reading and will spur them to continue to discover what they can understand next. Providing books, playing rhythming games, and sharing the reading experience builds a positive and rich reading environment that will help the child well into grammar and high school.
As our children get older, parents need to provide a place where the child can try to master new skills. The ability to master new skills allows the child to realize that they have the ability to learn and to keep learning. Children that are allowed to work on skills and are praised for their efforts develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset will allow a child to experience success and failure and learn from both. When one has a growth mindset, they believe they can continue learning and doing well. They are not paralyzed by failure. But instead, they have the ability to learn from it. No one likes to fail or wants to struggle, but teaching a child the value of struggle will allow them to build what experts call “grit.” Grit is courage in the face of difficulty. Adolescents that possess grit face adversity without giving up. It gives them the courage to learn new skills, even if it means they fail or struggle while learning. Individuals that discover they can stay in the battle even when it is difficult to push themselves to try new challenges. This skill allows them to try new careers, learn new things and continue to grow in knowledge and experience.
Parents have a unique and fantastic role in developing their children’s love of learning. It can be a gratifying and sometimes frustrating job. But have fun doing it, explore the world with your child, and learn new things together. Make learning a lifetime activity, and the two of you will never be bored.
Is your child struggling in school? Are they having relationship problems with teachers, friends, or siblings? You can seek help at Olive Branch Counseling Associates. We serve the Chicagoland area. Call today to schedule an appointment. 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 W 167th Street in Tinley Park.
Written By: Christine B., Masters Level Intern