How Reading Can Calm Your Child’s Mind
Parents have been reading bedtime stories to their children for generations, and now it’s known that this activity has many benefits, including quieting the child’s mind. Reading to children on the autism spectrum, those with disabilities, anxiety or depression, or other mental health challenges can help to calm and comfort them. Clinicians now call this ‘bibliotherapy’ (biblion is Greek for book).
Reading soothing books to help children through difficult times such as the loss of a pet, illness or a hospital stay, starting school, or dealing with bullying, for instance. Children going through those experiences can cause chaos at bedtime, or anytime, so a strategy to calm things down can be a blessing to parents and children. Reading a soothing book can calm everyone down.
While most parents are well-versed in the art of reading to their children at bedtime or anytime, there are ways to enhance the experience for both Mum or Dad and the kids.
Reading to calm and comfort a child isn’t the same as reading to help their literacy and early reading, but they do intersect. Read in a favourite quiet area, at bedtime or in a cosy space, with relaxing music in the background, and have a soft blanket to wrap around your child.
Here are some reading tips to quiet your child’s mind:
- Choose a book that has a calming story, beautiful illustrations and scenes from nature. Jasey Stanley has a wonderful book for children called “Where are you Most Beautiful?” Jasey is busy writing more inspirational books, so stay tuned.
- If you’re not familiar with the story, try practising reading it aloud to yourself before you read it to your child, so that it’s more fluid and relaxed.
- Set up a comforting environment if you’re reading to a small group of children – have them gathered around you on a sofa or soft, plump cushions. Your connection to them and your physical closeness is comforting and calming.
- If you’re reading to a larger group, use a bigger book and be sure to hold it up high and to the side so the kids can see the pictures.
- Always adjust the volume, pace, pitch and tone of your reading to what is happening in the book and do it with expression. If a character is laughing, convey that by laughing, and if they’re sneaking up to surprise someone, whisper. And if you can, use a different voice for each character.
- Always read the title of the book and the author and illustrator.
- Show your little listeners the beautiful illustrations and scenes, talk about how the textures feel, show them the soft colours, and soothing illustrations to distract them from their problems. Ask the kids how the book makes them feel. You might get some interesting responses such as ‘I’m cuddly’ or ‘I’m patting the horse and it’s nice’, which will show you they’re involved.
- Make sure you don’t rush through the book just to get the child to sleep so you can attend to your chores. Read slowly, and re-read a page or the whole book if your child wants that.
- Avoid making it into a lesson on reading or phonics. Read to comfort and calm your child or group of children. If your child has a quiet space, put the book there so they can pick it up and calm themselves if they feel anxious.
Reading can also nurture children and embed positive and loving thoughts that will carry them through their lives, as an author and mother, Jasey Stanley knows well. She is a single mother to Zyan, who has been the inspiration for her entire book series beginning with ‘Where are you Most Beautiful?’. Her focus on getting her five-year-old to be comfortable and happy within himself inspired her to write these books, so children around the world can benefit from mental wellbeing. Check out the webpage, shop online, call Jasey on 0404 467 269 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, managed IT services and health care. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals