One of the joys of being a parent is to read to your child. We begin with picture books and slowly move on to longer stories with and without pictures. We generally think of reading to little ones before they go to sleep. As they get older, they learn to read on their own but this shouldn’t stop us from continuing to read to them. Children like to hear our voices, our intonations, the images we give to the characters from the way we read the words.

As school is now in full swing, reading together is a way to bridge the change in a way that also brings your relationship closer. Parental Intelligence, my concept that teaches how communicating with our children connects us together and creates open dialogue, is essential when kids enter the school environment. Reading is a special way to do that because it links home and school.

When Should We Stop Reading to Our Kids?

There is actually no time to stop reading to our children. Children in middle school still enjoy it when parents read to them out loud. It’s mother’s music to their stressed ears. There’s also no reason to just read to them before bed.

Read to them in the early morning if they’re early risers. Read after school when they need down time. And read in the early evening. They are all good times to choose from to share a story. Once again, when Parental Intelligence is in play it teaches us to be in touch with our kids feelings. Parents are in tune with their kids feelings at these different times of the day, becoming more aware of when they need parent-child down time.

Reading brings children and parents closer together especially during transition times. It’s a tie that binds. It’s a time to share the characters feelings, intentions, and to act out the dialogue with your voice. Listening is different than reading to yourself. It brings the listener closer to the reader.

When Should Your Child Read to You?

As soon as a child can read a few words, it’s enjoyable to have your child read to you. It shouldn’t feel like homework or a test or performance, but more like their way of relating to you. Reading is talking and the parent is the listener. Once again, here is a principle of Parental Intelligence—listening to your child carefully and fully. Children will enjoy reading to you if you are an attentive, content and a nonjudgmental listener.

How About Reading to Each Other?

You can also read to each other. Mother or father and child each take a page or a line or a paragraph. You create the story with the author’s words, with your tones of voice, and with the vibrancy each of you give to the story line. It’s a way of sharing and listening to each other. It’s a way of giving and receiving. You will laugh together, get scared together, feel sad together, whatever emotion the story brings out in each of you.

When Do You Discuss the Book?

After you have read many books together, short ones, long ones, chapter books, novels, you can discuss them while doing other things together. Cook a food that is mentioned in the story and talk about the book. Go to a place mentioned in the book like a zoo or a beach and talk about the characters. You will want to read favorite books over and over.
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In Unlocking Parental Intelligence, long-experienced psychoanalyst, Laurie Hollman, PhD, encourages parents to find the significance behind their child’s behaviors by becoming “meaning-ma...
Unlocking Parental Intelligence

Laurie Hollman

I am a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy. I write extensively for parents about child development, mental health, Parental Intelligence, and a broad range of parenting topics... Read More