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“What role does Daddy play in reading at home?” We’ve all heard or read about the importance and benefits of fathers being involved in their children’s lives – such as an increase in children’s cognitive abilities, self-control, empathy and emotional well-being. But that’s not all! A research study from Harvard University revealed that children benefit more when their father reads to them before bedtime. Mothers often focus on the characters’ feelings whilst dads will link the narrative to something more pertinent to the child. This challenges the children cognitively in different ways.

“But how do I start?” Daddies, do not fret if you feel unsure how and where to start. Here are some strategies to kick start your reading routine with your little one.

  • Visit a nearby library – the children’s section in our local neighbourhood libraries or our National Library have a rather comprehensive collection of pictures and information books that are age-appropriate for children.
  • Find out your child’s current topics of interests, and select a book related to that topic. It will be easier to keep your child engaged in the reading session if it is a topic they like.
  • Read the book at least once to yourself – getting yourself familiarized with the story helps you better prepare for the potential discussion points; questions you might ask or questions your child might have. If the story is too long, consider reading the story in parts to your child.
  • Plan and set aside an unhurried and relaxed time before your child’s bedtime to read him/her the story. If you find that your weekday evenings are simply too packed, consider starting your bedtime story sessions on a weekend evening. This would eventually be a special bonding time between you and your child.
  • Read aloud with animation and don’t be shy to be silly or make mistakes. Find a silly voice for different characters – children really enjoy silly voices and it helps to capture and captivate the children’s attention.
  • Most importantly, have fun while reading and feel free to laugh a lot!

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