Research Suggests That Reading To Your Toddlers Will Improve Their Behavior

There’s a new study that suggests the more you read to your toddler, the better chance that it will reduce harsher parenting and enhance child behavior. A team of researchers at Rutgers University found that parents who read regularly to their children often had kids who were more well-behaved than those parents who don’t often pick up a book and read a bedtime story to their child.

According to Science Daily, previous studies found that parents who frequently read to their kids help build their language, literacy and emotional skills. However, this new study found that the benefits of shared reading between a parent and a child go beyond academics or developmental skills. It also helps with a child’s behavior. The study was published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

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The study was led by a team at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. They focused on how shared reading affects parenting and found that parents who read to their kids had children who were less hyperactive. There were also fewer attention problems in the kids and a better parent-child bond, too. The study looked at over 2,000 mother and child pairs from about 20 large cities across the country. They were asked how often they read to their children, most of which were between the ages of 1 and 3 and how often they engaged in discipline. Those mothers who read more often to their children were more less likely to engage in harsh parenting or aggressive disciplinary methods. That’s because the child was more likely to listen to their parent, mostly because of the strong bond they shared.

Lead researcher and author Manuel Jimenez, an assistant professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's department of pediatrics, and an attending developmental behavioral pediatrician at Children's Specialized Hospital, says that it’s all part of the routine. Making reading part of a parent and child’s daily routine not only helps boost academic success, but many benefits beyond the classroom.

Jimenez explained, “For parents, the simple routine of reading with your child on a daily basis provides not just academic but emotional benefits that can help bolster the child's success in school and beyond. Our findings can be applied to programs that help parents and caregivers in underserved areas to develop positive parenting skills."

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The study also looked at factors such as parental depression and financial hardship, as both can contribute to a child’s disruptive behavior.

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