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Are Parents Still Reading to Their Toddlers Before Bed?

By LoveReading4Kids on 20th August 2019

Did you know that 83% of Parents still read to their children before bed, but 86% fear screens are causing young children to enjoy books less? Research from Common Sense Media found that nearly 80 percent of children have access to an iPad or another type of tablet. The study also found that about two-thirds of parents have downloaded apps specifically for their kids to use. With the rise in technology for children, it makes sense why parents are concerned that bedtime stories are being replaced with technology. 

Recent comments from HM Chief Inspector of Education at Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, have raised concerns that "the bedtime story is a dying art".

Are screens affecting bedtime stories? 

New data from Kiddi Caru Day Nurseries Group shows that for one age group, in particular, this is thankfully not the case. The study of parents with toddlers aged 0-5 years old revealed that 99% of parents still read to their children, with 4 in 5 choosing to do so in the evening as part of a bedtime routine.

If you are concerned about the online-technology your child has been using or the amount of blue light emitted, how about initiating a digital curfew for the entire family, a time at which you and your kids turn off all electronic devices for the night, typically 1 hour before bed. 

Although a benefit of technology before bedtime means busy parents can easily entertain the kids by providing a source of stimulation, this transactional approach means kids won't get the same 'experience' as a physical book. Physical books help develop communication skills if the parents stop after certain pages and discuss the book. Discussion helps develop ideas and creative thinking for both the parent and the child. 

The study revealed that despite fears of technology replacing the parent's role as storyteller, 98% still prefer to read from physical books, with only 2% relying on a device to do the job for them.

Reading and development 

Reading is key for development as the majority (89%) of parents asked, started reading to their children before the age of one, with 97% agreeing that reading to babies younger than one helps their cognitive development.

Jackie Cambridge, education and quality care director at Kiddi Caru, said: "Reading to little ones, even before they can speak or understand words will help them become familiar with phonetics and sounds of words". The rhythm and rhyme of stories written for young children helps to encourage speech, broadens vocabulary and introduces early literacy skills, long before they learn to read themselves.

Does Fun trump morals? 

According to Kiddicaru, fun does in fact rumps morals when asked: "if parents purposefully choose books with morals, only a quarter said they do, with the remaining three quarters believing a fun story and bright illustrations was the most important feature of a children's". It seems most parents just want their children to simply engage with books as a medium, rather than being concerned about content, as 86% are concerned the availability of entertainment on screens is generally causing children to enjoy books less.

They have presented some of their findings from this study, including original artwork, on their blog:

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