Snuggling up together with a book at bedtime is not only fun and bonding, but paves the way for becoming emotionally intelligent adults. While reading with children at any time of the day is beneficial, a bedtime story is invaluable in creating healthy attachment and bonding between father and child, paving the way for forming positive relationships all through life.
Adding reading to your bedtime routine also cultivates a positive habit that does not only help calm young minds at the end of a busy day, but will soon become a lifelong habit of approaching sleep in a calm and peaceful manner. When you start reading with your children as babies, you’re making a valuable investment – not only regarding these benefits, but also in your future relationship with your children.
Snuggling up with a book at the end of the day when your child is tired and ready to go to sleep is a perfect time to gently explore your child’s feelings. Young children do not always know what they are feeling and how to name their emotions. A picture book with lovely illustrations is an ideal way to get a welcome glimpse into your child’s inner world by gently exploring his or her understanding of the story and characters.
For example, you may ask, “I wonder how the bear felt when he was lost in the wood?” or, “How do you think the bear will feel when he finds his house again?” In this way, your child can safely explore his or her own feelings through the story and the characters in the book and learn, with your help, how to put names to their feelings. Additionally, by associating with and relating to the characters in the story, your child will learn to empathize with others; an important tool in becoming an emotionally intelligent individual.
Such precious moments will leave your child feeling heard. They will also learn that it is safe to express feelings, which in turn, leads to forming a healthy attachment and bond with you as their parent. The ability to safely voice emotions is a valuable tool in times of stress and a skill that will be carried forward into adulthood, and ultimately into parenthood.
In short, reading a picture book together with your child is a feast for the senses which builds positive brain pathways, leads to healthy attachment and bonding and installs essential life skills. These priceless, early childhood experiences, such as reading together at bedtime, are irreplaceable building blocks in forming positive relationships and in helping develop emotionally intelligent individuals with empathy for themselves and the world around them.