There’s no question that parents are spending more and more time with their kids these days. COVID-19 has forced almost all parents to take a step back from their jobs and their commutes and focus their energy on the people at home. With all of this extra time on their hands, parents who are working from home and spending more time with their young children might be wondering what sorts of edifying activities including a solid reading resource they can give their kids to do while the parents are working or taking care of other business around the house.
The Problem: Too Much Screen Time
It has become increasingly common for parents to put their children in front of a screen for entertainment. But even when kids are watching or playing an “educational” show or game, the time they spend with screens in front of them can begin to have negative effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children ages 2 – 5 years old should have less than 1 hour of screen time every day and that parents should be monitoring what their child is watching during that time. An excess of screen time for children can affect their sleep patterns and even hinder their cognitive, language, social, and emotional development.
Luckily, there are free educational resources for children that can be just as entertaining as a screen – they’re called books. Remember those?
The Solution: Books, The Ultimate Reading Resource!
Books have always been – and likely always will be – one of the best resources that parents can use to educate their children. Even children that cannot read can learn from books. They can begin to identify shapes, colors, animals, and letters in the alphabet. Studies have shown that parents who read to their pre-k children 3 to 5 days a week can boost the child’s reading and cognitive abilities about 6 months ahead of the curve.
Now more than ever is it important for parents to spend time reading with their children. Limited social interaction can have negative effects on the development of young kids, and spending time with a book can help to revive the imaginative areas of a child’s brain that have been dormant for a little while. Parents should also be looking for ways to make reading fun for their kids! Even though most libraries in the Los Angeles area are closed due to COVID-19, parents can still take trips to the library with their kids for sidewalk pick-up. Kids and parents can pick out their books together online, and then enjoy the excitement of picking them up in-person.
In this chaotic time that we’re living in, parents can use books as a reading resource to educate their children on important subjects. One great book that we use in the classroom is It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr. This book teaches children that all people are special, no matter their shape, size, or personality. Reading books like this to your kids will teach them lessons that they will take with them throughout their lives.
Let’s Get Some Books!
We here at La Cañada Preschool will soon be taking a walking field trip with our pre-k kids up to the La Cañada Public Library to apply for a library card of their own. Having a library card can not only open up a world of books to your child, but it can also teach them about the responsibility involved in renting a book, taking care of it, and returning it in time. If you’re looking to buy more books for your child, now is a great time to do your research and support small businesses. We recommend Once Upon A Time in Montrose, CA for the best selection of children’s books in town. ThriftBooks is also a fantastic resource if you’re looking to buy used books and save a little money during this time. When the world opens back up again, we encourage you to also look for books at thrift stores, yard sales, and book sales at your local library.
There is something undeniably special about reading with your child.
When you do, you open up a world of imagination to your child that helps their creativity to grow. When you read a good story, anything seems possible. And when you read with your child, you give them a gift greater than anything money can buy.
Debbie Ficarra, owner and director of La Cañada Preschool, has been teaching preschool for 33 years. She has a bachelor’s degree from Pacific Oaks College in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Human Development. She has also raised three daughters, and she now has two grandchildren. Her passion for early childhood development can be seen in everything she does. In this article, she speaks about the appropriate ways to discuss with children the frightening pandemic that has impacted our world this year.
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