Why dads should read to their children

by beagooddad on March 21, 2007

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It seems that in a lot of houses things like reading to the kids, art projects and other of gentler interests default to the mom. Give the kids a basketball and dad is all over it. Ask him to read anything mentioning a sparkly pony and dad can not be found. It is a stereotype and if the reading to the kids role is reversed in your house, then just change the dad to mom in the title.

In reality, both parents should read to the kids. In fact, any adult or sibling that you can find should read to the kids for several reasons.

Variety of voice

When I studied Arabic at the Defense Language Institute, each class was taught by a group of native speakers; people from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc. They tried to mix each teaching team to have each teacher for a class be from a different country and to have both male and female teachers. The reason was to force the students to get used to hearing the language spoken with different accents, tones and paces. It is very easy to get used to understanding the way almost any one person talks. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why you always have to explain what your two year old said when your neighbor is around. We all get used to certain tones and accents. Having as many people as possible reading to your kids will broaden their ear and increase their comprehension.

Double reinforcement

If mom thinks reading is cool, the kids might decide it is worthwhile. When dad also jumps on the bandwagon, the kids start to really think there must be something to this reading thing. The more people that seem interested in reading will keep reinforcing that reading is something important and enjoyable.

Keeps dad involved

Literature is hugely important to kids. They love nursery rhymes and silly lines in Dr. Seuss stories. They also like to use those lines during the day. If you are not reading those stories with the kids, you are not going to know why it is so funny to growl the word “Rrrrrusty” and you will be delegated to an outside observer of an important part of your kids’ language development.

Bonding moment

In addition to just knowing what your kids are talking about, reading stories is a bonding moment. The physical closeness of story time and the cuddling are going to bring you closer to your kids. You will end up tickling them more often. You will end up hugging them more often. You will stroke their hair more often. That’s called bonding and your kids will love you for it.

Teach kids how to be calm

I read an article a while back about one of the important roles that dads teach their children. Dads are the one who normally wrestle with the kids and tickle them until they beg for mercy and toss them in the air. Dads get kids riled up. When the playtime is over, dads show their kids how to calm back down. Ask any kindergarten teacher how important and how difficult of a lesson this is to teach to a young boy or girl. Reading is a very sedentary, calm event. If the guy that just had them giggling and gasping for breath can now sit still with a book on his lap, your kids are going to learn how to do that, also.

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