But first, why would you even want your kids to read?
The obvious answer is that reading develops language skills, but it’s far from the whole story. Childhood reading is also connected to a number of benefits that last well into adulthood. Kids who read enjoy long-term academic success, higher income, better relationships, and even a longer lifespan. On top of that, the more your kids read, the less time they waste on games, videos, and social networks. It’s a win-win scenario.
There is just one problem. Your kids are unlikely to abandon the excitement of mindless tapping in favor of obscure future benefits. Unfortunately, it’s on you to trick them into reading. Yeah, like you didn’t have enough to do already. Here is some helpful advice in case you decide to go for it.
Make it a habit
Start reading on a daily basis from as young an age as possible. First read to you child, then with your child, until you graduate to them reading on their own. All you need is fifteen minutes a day. Reinforce the ritual by creating a designated reading spot in your home.
Lead by example
You’ll always have a hard time being a hypocrite and your kids will be happy to call you out. If you want them to read, then you’d have to read yourself. Whenever it’s reading time in your family, pick up a book and try to look somewhat interested.
Entice their curiosity
When it comes to material, pick something that follows your child’s interests. Show them that a book can become a tool for exploration. If you are unsure what kind of books your kids would like, then take them to a bookstore or a library and let them decide for themselves.
Keep it real
Show your kids that reading has practical applications. When your kids are just learning to read, encourage them to read street signs, store names, and restaurant menus. When your kids are older, discuss the books they read and find the connections between fiction and real life.
Make it a game
Unlike our parents, we get to utilize the power of modern technology. One thing it could do for us, is turn reading into a game. Apps like Read2Play use familiar gaming tropes to making reading much more engaging and enjoyable. That’s a perfect way to make a transition from gaming to reading.
Dial back on actual games
Another wonder of technology is parental control. There are plenty of apps that allow you to control what kind of content your kids get to access. You can create schedules, block apps, and create a highly tailored content policy. One way to use it is to limit entertainment apps and create time slots that are reserved specifically for reading.
Use positive reinforcement
This step is very important when trying to install new behavior. Make sure to show your appreciation whenever your kids start reading of their own accord. Reward them with a compliment, a hug, or even a treat. Remember, the only right way to do reinforcement is to wait until they show the initiative, without encouraging them in any way.
You may know from experience how difficult it is to get your kids reading. Especially when the alternative is games and videos, all designed to suck your kids into an endless loop of instant gratification. Good news is that with a slightly more creative approach the transition from gaming to reading can become practically effortless. Just follow our advice and let us know how it goes.