People who regularly read with their kids are less likely to engage in harsh parenting and their children are less likely to be hyperactive and have attention problems, say researchers.
The study, published in the Journal of Developmental &Behavioral Pediatrics, suggests additional benefits from shared reading — a stronger parent-child bond.
“For parents, the simple routine of reading with your child on a daily basis provides not just academic but emotional benefits that can help bolster the child’s success in school and beyond,” said study lead researcher Manuel Jimenez, Assistant Professor at Rutgers University in the US.
“Our findings can be applied to programmes that help parents and care givers in underserved areas to develop positive parenting skills,” Jimenez said.
For the study, the research team reviewed data on over 2,000 mother-child pairs from 20 large US cities in which the women were asked how often they read to their children at ages 1 and or 3.
The mothers were re-interviewed two years later, about how often they engaged in physically and/or psychologically aggressive discipline and about their children’s behaviour.
The results showed that frequent shared reading at age 1 was associated with less harsh parenting at age 3, and frequent shared reading at age 3 was associated with less harsh parenting at age 5.
Mothers who read frequently with their children also reported fewer disruptive behaviours from their children, which may partially explain the reduction in harsh parenting behaviours, said the study.