Parents can help kids plug in to good reads, rest, play

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In a recent report by Highlights for Children called the State of the Kid 2014, the authors set out to share on

“…topics that allow us to give parents and educators unique insight into how kids view the world they live in.”

The report is based on Highlights’ annual State of the Kid™ survey. Each year they focus on the NOW issues of life for kids and ask children about key aspects of those issues. This year, three topics were explored: distracted parents and cell phones, children’s chronic lack of sleep and kids with over-scheduled lives.

Each one of these topics struck home with us here at Unite for Literacy, so we are weighing in from our perspective.

The buzz we tend to hear about cell phones is typically all about teens who have their attention on texting with their BFFs. Or it’s about the time young children spend with games and videos that inhibit cognitive development.

Dad_on_the_phone_againFindings from the Highlights’ report, however, turn the tables and focus on how children consider their parents as not present due to time spent using digital devices. But rather than a problem, we see this as an opportunity! It’s an opportunity for parents to use those digital devices to access educational resources like our online library. It’s an opportunity for parents to engage with their children about what they read (or hear, if they listen to a book narration in one of the 30 languages available in our library). It’s an opportunity to build language and communication skills that are critical to reading and school success.

The second category in the Highlights’ report is insufficient sleep. According to experts, too many children get too little sleep and end up tired all day at school. Of course, from our perspective, the very, Very, VERY best transition from daily activity to sleepy time is reading in bed. BOOK time can create a perfectly smooth transition to BED time. If reading becomes a natural part of a bedtime ritual, more reading and more sleep can be the result. BOTH are good for kids (and adults–just sayin’!).

The final topic was the woes of children who are over scheduled with extracurricular activities, so much so that they have little time to just play. Not surprisingly, from our perspective, over scheduling also means little time to sit quietly and read a self-selected book or two.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, children who score proficient or higher on school exams tend to have 100 or more books at home and they read for fun every day. So children whose parents read with them either using paper or digital books, children who get the rest they need and children who have space in their days for unstructured play and reading time will benefit greatly.

It is always gratifying when research and data help support the principles we stand on.

Unite for Literacy!

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4 Responses to “Parents can help kids plug in to good reads, rest, play”

  1. Kevin Paul Condon April 9, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    I also worry about kids not getting enough sleep. Our girls slept a lot, often 12 hours, when they were growing up. Their children don’t sleep that much. Reading before bedtime is good for many, but depends on the material and the kid. Some are easily stirred and the best time for them to read is in the morning, I think.

    • Mark Condon April 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

      Right you are. There is no magic formula. Whatever works for a given kiddo should guide us adults.

  2. Kevin Paul Condon April 9, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Love your sponsor list, incidentally. Good work.

    • Mark Condon April 22, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      Of course we are delighted to share our growing list of local partners, committed to literacy in the communities they serve.