Our children can go through a stage of lacking interest in books and reading. One day, they’re excited to get into bed and read their favourite book, and the next day, they would prefer to do anything other than read.
As a parent, this can be incredibly frustrating, as we all know how important books are for children’s development. It has been noted by scientists that children who frequently read will perform better in school and become more relaxed.
However, statistics on children’s reading habits have worsened in recent years. In 2021, a study conducted by the National Literacy Trust in the UK found that only 30% of young people under the age of 18 spend their daily free time reading.
The rise of social media and technology plays a huge role in this, with over 92% of children choosing to spend their free time texting their friends.
If you’re worried that your child is spending too much time on screens and not enough time in amongst pages, then we have some helpful advice to give you:
1. Bookshops and libraries
The number one way to get your child back into reading! Take them to your local library or bookshop after school or during the weekend, and spend a good amount of time wandering around the shelves with them. Encourage them to have a look at as many books and genres as possible, and get them to pick out 3 books that they would like to read. If they are still uncertain of what they want to read, then you can ask any available staff members for advice. Being immersed in the vicinity of books will help your child to get back into a reading mindset, and the vast variety of books - alongside the fun displays that bookshops and libraries usually have - should pique your child's interest again!
2. Create a cosy reading space
If your child doesn’t have a welcoming and comfortable space to read, then they will feel less encouraged to pick up a book. If you are able to, try to create a special reading nook for them in your home. Decorate it with cosy blankets, cute cushions, stuffed animals, and their favourite books within reach. Whether it be a corner of your living room or a particular spot in their bedroom, it is important to ensure that the space remains ‘theirs’, and that it is solely designed for reading. Make the nook as inviting as possible!
3. Make time for reading
When your child has a busy schedule with school, extracurricular activities and family events, it might be difficult for them to find time in their day to dedicate to reading. As a solution to this, you could suggest a ‘family reading time’, scheduled for each evening. If everyone is reading at the same time in your household, then your child will feel more encouraged to follow suit. Plus, this is a good way for everyone in your household to spend some quality time together!
4. Ease them back in
Instead of discouraging your child from watching shows in their spare time, use it to their advantage! If your child has been out of touch with reading for a while, then they might struggle to read lengthy books. A good way to combat this problem is to introduce them to lighter material, such as comic books or magazines. Non-fiction books such as their favourite celebrities’ autobiographies, or behind-the-scenes books on their favourite tv shows and films, are also a good option as they will give your child a sense of familiarity. This way, your child is still reading, but it will not be an overwhelming or particularly difficult experience for them. Hopefully, this will help them to get their reading bug back, and encourage them to pick up more intense material!
5. Set challenges
All children love a challenge! Whether it be a tasty snack, bonus time to play with their friends, or even a day out at the weekend, most children will always respond positively to a rewards system. To get your child in the reading mood, set a challenge with them. This can range in many different ways - one book a month, a certain number of chapters a day, or a certain number of reading hours per week. Whatever your target is, relay the information to your child and let them know that if they reach your goal, they will be positively rewarded with a special treat. We guarantee that this will get them excited to start reading again!