From the beginning of the lockdown there was much debate around the importance of completing homework online. Many argued it was vital to maintain as much routine as possible and to progress with the school curriculum as a minimum. Others suggested we should take the opportunity to spend more time with our kids, as well as with each other, and to nurture a sense of all-round wellbeing, not just educational.
Of course, these two positions are just the extremes in a much wider argument, and it is far too simplistic to split the debate into two polar camps. There are so many factors to consider, from the age of the children and timing of exams, to availability of parents and accessible tools. After all, not every child has a computer at home.
One thing most experts have agreed on since long before the lockdown is that reading to and with your children is one of the best things you can do for them. It might not be curriculum-based homework as such, but it ticks both the educational and all-round wellbeing boxes at the same time. This is particularly true for young children who obviously need more help, care and attention from parents and teachers alike.
It may sound obvious but reading with children helps to develop their language skills. It opens up a wider range of vocabulary and subject matter that would not ordinarily be discussed on a daily basis. It also exposes them to a greater breadth of knowledge, which is important for their growth. The earlier you start reading to your children the better as it sets them on a steady path from the start and gives them a foot up even before they begin school.
Reading also helps to focus a child’s attention, provides vital exercises for the brain and encourages a thirst for knowledge. As children grow older reading also leads to greater curiosity, creativity and imagination. They learn to ask relevant questions, which is an essential skill that helps them navigate life more effectively.
Many studies have also found that reading with children helps them to develop empathy as they often see themselves in the story, which leads them to identify and relate to the emotional journey of the characters.
Sharing the magical memories of reading with your child also builds an emotional bond between you that lasts forever.
So, whether you lean more towards the importance of education or all-round wellbeing, reading with your children more than ticks both boxes. Let’s call it a win win!