Can Reading Make Your Child Happier?

Mental health is a growing concern in our world today. It may sound like an adult issue, but 1 in 6 in the U.S. aged 2–8 years has a diagnosable mental health condition.

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child’s emotional wellbeing. The answer lies in reading. According to a study by the National Literacy Trust, children who love reading and writing have better mental wellbeing. A child who reads and writes regularly outside school is more likely to have a high level of mental wellbeing than a child who is less engaged with literacy.

Why is Reading and Writing Good for Children’s Mental Wellbeing?

Many adults know the pleasure that comes with “getting lost in a book.” Reading helps us escape from the real world–even if it’s just for a short while. Kids can greatly benefit from the feeling of escapism that reading brings.

Parents of children who love reading say that it relaxes them and makes them calmer. It helps them escape from the always “switched-on” world we live in. Children who spend a lot of time using tech tend to be hyper and sensitive, however reading makes kids happier and more relaxed.

Reading and writing regularly also helps kids to develop the emotional literacy skills they need to gain control of situations when they feel vulnerable. Reading broadens the vocabulary and helps kids to express their feelings more accurately. Writing, on the other hand, gives kids an outlet for their emotions–whether it’s writing poems, stories, or even notes to friends.

Are Some Books Better For Children?

Any age-appropriate book is good for kids because it gives them time-out from their tech-centred lives and helps them to relax and unwind. Comics, fiction, picture books, and poetry can all improve children’s mental wellbeing.

There are many awesome fiction books that integrate mental health messages as part of the storyline. However, non-fiction books can also be helpful. For example, a non-fiction book that covers the problem a child is facing can help them understand what they’re going through and let them know they are not alone.

Picture books are best for younger children because they talk about difficult topics in a great way. Some older children may also enjoy reading them because they discuss sensitive topics in a simple way.

Should You Read Together with Your Child or Let Them Read Alone?

Many parents stop reading to their kids once they can read on their own. However,  continuing to read books together has many benefits. It fosters closeness, helps them to develop empathy, and enhances their listening skills. All these can improve a child’s mental health.

When you read books which discuss mental health and wellbeing with your child, you can start conversations about emotions they may be experiencing or struggling with. Kids who read books with a loved one feel calmer and happier.

Don’t stop reading a bedtime story for your child–even after they start reading alone. It helps them switch off from the day. They get a good night’s rest and wake up refreshed.

It’s never too early or too late to help your child become a reader. You can join online reading programs near you and help them get started on their journey to happiness.

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