HAPPY is everywhere if you look
Find your HAPPY in a book
I didn’t realize until we wrote Happy Hunting and started playing around with little poems how much this one is true for me. There are two places I go, and always have, when I need to re-calibrate: a swing (preferably by a body of water) or a book.
While most of us are well aware of the many things we can do to improve health and happiness – meditation, exercise, time in nature, eating more real food, socializing and so on – we don’t often put reading (or being read to) on this list.
Here are 6 ways reading can improve kids’ health and happiness:
1 Provides a break
Reading is therapy. By shifting focus to characters and stories reading offers kids an “escape” from their own worries and stress.
2 Relaxes mind and body
In an immediate way, reading helps kids find calmness in their bodies. As brains settle and focus, bodies tend to slow down and follow. Also, the rhythm of language can soothe and relax, much like the rhythm of rocking, bouncing – or swinging.
3 Builds skills and confidence
Many studies show that kids who are read to are more likely to do well in all areas of formal learning, leading to increased confidence in themselves and their abilities in general.
4 Increases coping
When kids reach new stages or are faced with unfamiliar and potentially stressful experiences, reading about a character faced with similar challenges can build coping skills. And reading about things not yet encountered is a great way to help kids prepare to try new things.
5 Improves self expression
Through books kids learn to express themselves and relate to others. When they witness the interactions between characters in books they gain valuable communication skills. And reading builds the vocabulary they need to communicate well.
6 Enhances empathy
Books help kids understand how others feel and think, providing training in caring for feelings as well as developing and practicing empathy. Through stories kids are drawn out of themselves to bond with another being, to see and feel an experience from a different point of view.
There are so many reasons to read to kids!
Beyond these 6 are many, many others, the most immediate being the simple joy of spending time together sharing a good book.