Family

The Priceless Thing Parents Must Do To Raise Smart, Creative Kids

Photo: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
father reading book to daughter

Parents are under heavy pressure to ensure their kids grow up in a culture-rich environment.

What if I told you that you could teach your kids about fine arts, take them on wild adventures and greatly increase their odds of academic success all from the comforts of your living room? Would you believe me?

According to a study, there are HUGE benefits to reading to your kids out loud.

Reading out loud creates an affluent and expanded vocabulary — all while sitting on your bum and connecting with your kids.

RELATED: 30 Best Parenting Books For Raising Children

Simply Talking To Your Kids Isn't Enough

Think about that last book you read to your kids. It was loaded with descriptive new words that aren't used in everyday language. As humans, we automate for efficiency. 

That means we use the same types of words day-to-day, which limits our kids' ability to expand their vocabulary.

Experiences Are Important, Too

They're wonderful and necessary, but do you think that a kid with 10 extracurricular activities before the age of three is going to be super far ahead of the kid who sits on his mom's lap in a park somewhere and reads? Nope.

RELATED: 7 Powerful Reasons To Go Back & Read Your Old Journals, Even When It Hurts

Simple activities like reading have been lost in the mad scramble to provide one experience after another for our kids.

Sure, it’s fine to sign your four-year-old up for soccer, but don’t forget to weave in the more traditional parent activities. We can’t keep rolling out big moments if we want our kids to find success and happiness with the smaller things in life.

Kids Need Help Nurturing Their Imagination, Which Is Difficult Today

Now that the bulk of the toy market is battery-operated, your son doesn’t have to come up with the choo-choo train sound — his toy does it for him. With tablets plaguing childhoods across the globe, instant gratification is rewarded daily.

Gone are the days that we closed our eyes in the middle of a story and pictured what the author was describing. We have Netflix do it for us. 

Providing, Giving, And Doing

Is this what GOOD parenting looks like? Which do you think is more beneficial long-term: The ability to sign “I’m thirsty” by six months or having a stellar vocabulary a few months later?

RELATED: The #1 Trait Silicone Valley Executives Say Kids Need If They Want To Be Succesful Later In Life

I know, it's super uncomfortable to sit down and read a book. We say we want to slow down and be able to curl up to a good book, but when we actually have time, it’s h*ll! Our bodies freak out with the lack of stress, and we end up finding some minuscule task that "needs" to be done.

But, the truth is, you're setting your kid up if you don't sit down and do it. By booking her Google calendar like she’s a popular CEO you’re grooming her to be unable to entertain herself, use her imagination, and enjoy the present moment.

Be Creative WITHOUT Over-Scheduling

If your kids are older, reintroduce them to reading in a fun way. 

Make it fun! Pick up The Wild Things book and read it under a bridge, or pick up a book about the invention of ice cream and have a cone under a big tree, or pick up a book about bugs and then try to catch some.

If you want your kids to have expansive imaginations, you need to help them train. Video games and TV shows turn off imaginations. (I don’t care what Nick Jr. says. It’s killing your kid's imagination — turn it off.)

Stop Trying So Hard

Retrain yourself and teach your kids how to sit and read. The power of reading to your kids is truly endless! So before you rush to check the community calendar for the next round of activities, hit up your local library and let their imaginations take them where ever they wish to go.

Jessica Miller is the author of Back 2 Love and How To Start A Mental Health Private Practice. Check out her Youtube channel, Super Living for more relationship tips. 

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!