We already know the benefits of reading for children in terms of critical and imaginative thinking, in language development, in writing and even math and science skills. Reading is a vital part of our child’s early learning and development. What about social interactions, however? Many people don’t realize that reading—nominally a solitary activity—can in fact make a child better at social interaction. Learn about how reading improves your child’s social skills and what you can do to better foster this process.
Improve Your Child’s Social Skills
If you want to improve your child’s social skills, there’s no better way than to engage in reading with them. The more you talk with your child about feelings, beliefs, needs and desires both of others and their own, the more they are able to handle social situations. Child psychology experts believe that teaching empathy is one of the most vital aspects of early development. It enables children to interact with others and understand why people react to things as they do.
The Vocabulary of Feelings
Many children’s books are specifically written to teach life lessons and proper codes of morals and behavior. Reading these stories with your children and talking about the events therein helps your child build a vocabulary of feelings. This means that they have a broad range of understanding different social situations and the reasons why people react to them as they do.
They understand, for example, not only why people are sad when a loved one leaves, but that they are not the only ones who feel that way. This sort of empathy is vital to their ability to function in society. They come to understand that bullying is wrong—not only is it socially unacceptable, but it makes the victim feel bad, and making others feel bad should make them feel bad as well.
It’s important, however, to do more than simply read stories to your child. You must help them to process and understand the deeper meaning behind the words. It is vital that you spend time talking about what you’ve read with your child. Ask them what the characters are going through. Ask them what they think the characters are feeling and why. Have your child put themselves in the place of the characters and explore how they would feel and what they would think and do.
Kids learn through technology these days. Applying strategies like interactive eBooks, which combine animation and engaging storytelling, can enhance the reading and learning experience for your child and subsequently tie it to their other hobbies, like playing games. If you are interested in how an eBook can help your child learn better social skills, we can help. Read a few of our free online offerings, and then explore the rest of our fun early literacy tools to expand your child’s horizons today.