Enjoy 5% off with discount code STARTCURIO5.
Back to Library

Let's dive into the age-old debate: reading vs. screen time.

As parents, we all recognize the importance of fostering our children's growth and development. Yet, in today's digital age, the choice between reading and screen time can sometimes be challenging. However, why should we prioritize reading over screen time for our children?

Here are compelling reasons for reading:

  1. Language Enrichment: Books enhance vocabulary and language skills, laying a solid foundation for academic achievement.
  2. Cognitive Enhancement: Reading stimulates critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, sharpening focus and concentration.
  3. Igniting Imagination: Books ignite creativity and empathy by transporting children to diverse worlds and perspectives.
  4. Broadening Horizons: Reading exposes kids to a wide array of topics and cultures, expanding their knowledge and understanding.
  5. Social and Emotional Development: Books cultivate empathy and emotional intelligence, which are essential for healthy social interactions.
  6. Strengthening Bonds: Shared reading strengthens family connections and creates lasting memories that are cherished for years to come.

On the other hand, excessive screen time can lead

  1. Increased Anxiety and Stress: Research indicates a strong link between excessive screen use and increased levels of anxiety during adolescence
  2. Disrupted Sleep Patterns: Screen use disrupts circadian rhythms, which can result in fatigue and irritability due to inadequate sleep.
  3. Decline in Academic Performance: Extended screen time often correlates with decreased academic achievement, increased in bullying and negative peer relationships in older kids. 

How do we cultivate a love for reading?

  1. Build a Mini Library: Keep a variety of books accessible to kids. Transforming a corner of the room into a mini library with kid-friendly bookshelves is a simple way to do this.
  2. Make It Routine: Set aside dedicated reading time every day. For us, it's the 45 minutes before bedtime when we unwind and read together.
  3. Engage & Discuss: Encourage conversations about books to enhance comprehension. I'll be sharing more about this in a follow-up blog post. There are many ways to make the most out of a book. Explore the illustrations and ask your kids questions like, "What are they doing here?" or "Can you count how many...?" After reading, discuss the story with them and relate it to their own experiences. When kids connect books with their lives, they understand the story better and develop a greater interest in reading.
  4. Follow Their Lead but Offer Variety: Let kids choose books that interest them but also provide a range of topics. During our reading time, I let each of my kids pick two books, and I choose two books. This way, we read a total of six books. I know my son usually picks books about cars, trucks, and trains, so I intentionally choose a variety of topics like nature and geography to spark his interest in other subjects.
  5. Be a Role Model: Show your love for reading by reading yourself (and keep the phones away!). If we want to reduce screen time for our kids, we need to lead by example and put our phones away during family reading time.
  6. Library Trips: Explore new books and attend library programs together.
  7. Get Creative: Incorporate fun activities related to books, such as crafts, cooking, worksheets, or even visiting a museum after reading a book on a specific topic to deepen your child's understanding and desire to learn more.

Starting early and setting good habits can make a big difference.

Remember, outdoor play and family time without screens are crucial for healthy development. Choose books over screens, and watch those little minds flourish!

Appendix: References
Cambridge Study on Early Childhood Reading: Read Study
Research on Screen Time and Child Development: Read Study
NIH Study on Screen Time and Cognitive Tests: Read Study
Study on Screen Time and Brain Cortex Thinning: Read Study
Impact of Screen Time on Mental Health: Read Study
Study on Emotional and Psychological Effects of Screen Time: Read Study
Study on Screen Time and Cognitive Performance: Read Study
Effects of Screen Time on Child Health: Read Study

    Feel free to use these links as references for further reading and exploration of the topics discussed in the blog post.