There are many activities that parents can do with children, but I personally found one of the most significant and rewarding was the time I spent reading my son a bedtime story. It seems to have become a common practice in today’s age to allow children to be babysat by the television. It is a convenient way to keep the youngsters occupied while we parents get to the many chores that we are faced with on a daily basis. This may be a quick fix for the time being, but it really has some negative consequences.
Based on personal experience and what I have noticed over the years, here are some of the consequences to allowing a child to be lulled to sleep by the television and the advantages of taking some time out to read a good old-fashioned bedtime story.
Advantages of the bedtime story
1. Time for bonding It is a one-on-one-time scenario. I found my youngster got just as much pleasure from just having my undivided attention as he did from the actual story itself. It is a time where you as the parent can form that special bond with your youngster because there is no outside activity taking place to distract your attention from him.
2. Time for discovery Reading a bedtime story provides a time where both parent and child get to really know each other. I discovered things about my child, at an early age, that were important to him just as he discovered little things about me.
3. A healthier lifestyle Provided the proper reading material is chosen, it gives the little guy a chance to relax before going to sleep, which provides a much better atmosphere for getting restful sleep. Most often when children fall asleep while watching TV, it is out of exhaustion while they are watching some action-packed program.
4. It stimulates cognitive skills During a bedtime story, there is someone there, being you, to answer all those exciting questions that arise from the story that are stimulating the child’s mind. Many times with the television atmosphere, there are many questions that arise, too, but nobody is there to answer. Often, they develop a desire to read part of the story. This is because they love to learn and also they have the attention of someone interested in listening.
Consequences of the television sleep promoter:
• Almost any program found on television is action-packed, including the cartoons. Youngsters who fall asleep watching these no doubt do so because they can’t keep their eyes open any longer, and their emotional state is they are still very tense. This really doesn’t set a good mode of relaxation to fall to sleep to. I personally found my youngster had a lot of nightmares when we first allowed this particular form of falling asleep.
• There is no bonding. Even if the parents watch a program with the kids, it has kind of become an unwritten household rule that there is no talking when an exciting program is in action. People simply don’t want to be interrupted at this time, so any questions that a youngster has tend to get ignored.
This is just a little personal insight as to a very valuable lesson I learned when it comes to comparing reading a bedtime story to my youngster versus letting the television put him into dream land (or should I say nightmare land!).