How to Encourage Your Kids to Read in the Age of Social Media
Experts suggest that it has become a serious challenge to increase children’s attention spans in the age of new media. According to an article published in the National Alliance on Mental Health, exposure to a variety of information sources and devices may have a big impact on children’s ability to stay focused.
Technological overload is real and it can affect your child’s reading skills. After all, reading requires the ability to concentrate. With social media becoming skewed towards more visual content, children should take a moment to develop good reading habits and nurture their critical and creative functions.
It’s also important to ensure kids are equipped with fundamental comprehension skills, whether they are being taught how to read at home or in school. A child’s ability to understanding in their mind what they see via text will create engagement that will draw them to reading, as opposed to turning to a phone or computer screen.
Here are some of the ways you can encourage your kids to read:
1. Be a role model
Younger children see you as a template for how they should behave or act. Reading a newspaper or a good book helps normalize reading in the household. Seeing you being in the zone when your read encourages your child to follow suit. This should happen at a very early age to instill a model of reading that will continue to engage them as students in elementary school.
2. Keep a collection of materials
Apart from showing your child the importance of reading on a daily basis, you need to let them know that you have ample things to read at home. You can create a mini-library that includes a good mix of fiction and non-fiction works. Apart from children’s books, you can also stock up on encyclopedias, dictionaries, and news magazines so your child has access to a wide array of knowledge that entices them to read.
3. Have story time before bed
There is truth to the idea that bedtime stories can help foster a child’s development. It helps them relax and, more importantly, stimulates their creative fuel. Eventually, your child will pick up the habit and look towards reading as a source of comfort.
4. Write a story for your child to read
Another way you can get your child to read is to write and publish your own children’s book with them as the main character. Nowadays, it’s easy to come up with an ebook that is aimed towards children, so take the time to write stories your child will want to read. Doing so will encourage them to write as well.
5. Allow your child to read online
While new technology could reduce your child’s attention span, you can also use it to encourage healthy reading habits. While most parents try to reduce screen time and rightly so, take time to teach your child how to find useful information online for their homework or school project. Along the way, you can also help them identify bad information and nurture effective online research skills.
6. Stay engaged
As you expose your child to the wonderful world of reading, they may find the activity tedious and boring. If this is the case, you should always be present as they absorb written information. You can also encourage them to read comic books and intriguing mysteries since these genres are meant to keep readers engaged.
The more you expose your child to reading, the more they become more discerning of the information they see in social media. With these tips in mind, you can help your child develop their creative and critical skills even as information becomes increasingly instantaneous.
Read whether or not parents should interact with their child on social media.