Up to one in four Australian children miss bedtime stories because of time-poor parents, research shows.
While nearly three in four parents believe the nighttime ritual provides an important bonding experience and helps them connect, a quarter of Australian children read only once a week – or not at all, according to the study. from Oxford Children’s Language Australia.
Three out of four parents in the survey of 1,000 people said they struggled to find time to read with their primary school-aged children.
More than half also said they were nervous about reading to their child because of their own reading abilities.
But as a result, children are being deprived of vital skills that could put them at a disadvantage later in life, says Lee Walker, publishing director at Oxford University Press.
“It’s not just the advancement of literacy and communication skills that bedtime reading brings to children, it’s also a special time at the end of each day when parents and children can bond” , she said.
“It is worrying that these moments are currently being lost across Australia as parents struggle to find time in their daily routines.”
Annie Facchinette, an expert literacy educator, says reading with a child doesn’t have to be daunting – it can be as simple as reading the shopping list, road signs or posters on a walk.
Siblings can also help read to each other, if there isn’t enough parent time, and nervous moms and dads could benefit from a practice run to get to grips with words and more delicate expressions, she says.
But the benefits of daily storytime hours are innumerable.
“It shows your child that you enjoy reading and helps them become better readers and have more self-confidence,” says Ms. Facchinette.
“It also increases their vocabulary, opens them up to new ideas and is a great bonding time for parents and their children.
“Make it a habit that you both look forward to.”