3 Reasons Why You Should Make Reading Part of Your Daily Household Routines
March 17, 2023
These days family life feels incredibly busy and full. From working, managing the home, dealing with military life, to raising children in various stages of development, the last thing on the mind of most parents is adding yet another responsibility or guilt-inducing habit to their already full plates.
However, there is one new routine you should consider, reading time to your daily schedule. Below are three reasons you should add a reading routines.
1. Reading is a quiet, calming activity.
In an age where everyone from the oldest to the tiniest member of the family is constantly inundated with screens, reading is a wonderful alternative to the constant noise and overly visual stimulation of television or digital games. Not only does reading put your brain into a different state, it is also an activity that can calm the body.
With a quiet activity like reading, it gives children (and adults) time to power down, process, and internalize information they have received throughout the day. Babies and toddlers can get these benefits from looking at picture books, and children, teens, and adults gain these benefits from reading a variety of materials. In fact, it doesn’t so much matter what you read, as much as it matters that you read.
Reading reduces stress, increases your ability to relax, and allows an opportunity for your brain to single-task. Create a quiet reading routine in your home by reducing or eliminating screens in childrens’ bedrooms, setting a family reading hour in the evenings or on weekends, or helping your kids create a reading nook in a shared space or their bedroom. When you set the tone in your household that reading is valued, your kids will likely follow suit with their own interest in getting lost in a book.
2. Reading is a mind-expanding activity.
Perhaps you have heard that reading makes you smarter or even that it makes your brain bigger. According to one study from Carnegie Mellon, scientists reported that in a six-month daily reading program, the volume of white matter in the language area of the brain actually increased.
Others have often cited that reading is like taking your brain to the gym to workout. It allows your mind to stay active as you process words and meanings. It lengthens your attention span and it works out your occipital lobe allowing for greater creativity, imagination, and decision making abilities.
In order to maximize these mind-expanding benefits, make sure you are providing accessibility to a variety of reading materials in your home. From actual books and digital downloads of stories either in e-book or audio book form, magazines, graphic novels for young children and teens, to your college alumni journal or a volume of crossword or sudoku puzzles, reading and letting your brain play with language is time well invested.
3. Reading is a bonding activity.
If the promise of quiet and calm or improved cognitive functional fitness weren’t strong enough reasons to include a reading habit into your day-to-day life, consider the interpersonal benefits. When done together as a family or with a group of like-minded friends, reading has the potential to solidify relationships.
Whether you are a parent and child in close physical proximity reading a bedtime story, a parent of a teenager laughing together on a car ride enjoying a shared audiobook, a service member far away who is able to share story time with your kids back at home with the United Through Reading App, or a group of friends who meet monthly for a book club, the activity of reading enhances closeness, strengthens emotional connection, and can create opportunities to discuss family values and feelings.
Incorporating reading routines into your household can be as easy as placing books in convenient spots all around the house, setting up small bookshelves for children in their bedrooms with a reading light, making a regular book run to your local library or favorite book store, or having a standing time at home when everyone powers down and nuzzles in with a good book. However you choose to read, it will be an investment for your family.
Our Literacy Tips are presented by Reader’s Digest Foundation.