Reading to your Child Boosts their Self-Confidence (and Yours)

By Rachel Castro /

It’s been another hectic morning for Jill. She is at home with her 13-month-old son, trying to accomplish all the things a parent must do every day. It’s not going well, and she is harried and frustrated. In that moment, she feels a tug at her pant leg and looks down. There is Hugh, whining a bit. He wants attention.

There are 19 things on Jill’s to-do list. Even if she works at a constant pace, it will not be done by the afternoon deadline. There is never enough time.

But she looks at Hugh’s face. A combination of remorse and affection fills her heart, and she scoops Hugh up in her arms, grabs a few books from the shelf and snuggles down with him in the cozy chair near the window. Warm sunlight streams in, and as she turns the pages, reading simple words about family and love and loyalty, Hugh begins to babble and clap and point at pictures. A feeling of calm sets in. Jill knows deep down that the list can wait. There is nothing she would rather be doing.

What can be better than sharing a snuggle and a book with your child? Time slows down; the world seems quieter, more peaceful. To a parent, the reward of spending quality time with our children is real and lasting. It is truly time well-spent.

Image: Pink Parakeet 

It is that reading to children improves their ability to learn and fosters a love for reading. Reading together can give them a real edge in school. But did you know that reading to your child also boosts his or her self-confidence?

The National Health Service in the U.K. recommends that parents read to their babies from the very start: “The time spent sharing books with your baby also allows you to bond with them and is good for emotional well-being.”

How is reading to your child good for his or her emotional well-being? Think about the scenario above. Hugh can sense his mother is busy. Still, she drops everything to hold him in her arms and focus entirely on him. As they read together, the two of them are sharing an enjoyable learning experience. He hears his mother’s voice read the words, but the message that reaches his heart is this: “You are worth my time and attention, and I’m happy to be giving myself to you because you are valuable.”

Image: Hither & Thither

Reading Aloud to Children: The Evidence, a 2008 study, reinforces the truth that reading to our children bolsters their emotional health. “Children not only acquire knowledge about narratives but also learn about their own personal narrative when sharing a book with an adult, something that is important for their self-esteem.”

Think about that statement. “Children learn about their own personal narrative when sharing a book.” There is no better way to do this than to create a custom book that features your little one’s personalized photos. As they turn the pages, they see not a generic illustration, but photos of their own family. In a tangible way, they see their personal narrative unfold before them.

The New Zealand Ministry of Social Development agrees in the power of reading together. They recommend that parents play and have fun with their children as a reward for good behavior. What is one way to do this? By creating a scrapbook. “Children love stories about themselves—it helps them feel loved and important. You could make a scrapbook or album that’s all about your child from the time they were born. Put all sorts of things in it: a handprint, photos, things they’ve said … Imagine how beautiful and how treasured this book will be to your child. They turn the pages and see a visual reminder of how important and valued they are.”

 Image: A Cup of Jo

What could be more important than reminding your child they are valued? Don’t just say it; show it! Making a custom board book for the little one in your life is fun. Visit Pinhole Press and see how custom board books are a wonderful way to remind your child just how special he or she is.

Rachel Castro

About the Author

A self-proclaimed New Yorker from the Midwest, Rachel Castro lets design and color inspire her everyday life. Designer by day and DIYer by night, you can follow all of her latest projects on Digs & DIY, where she documents her favorites from recipes to redesign.

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