There is much positive press on the beneficial effects that reading to children can have on language development, cognition and social-emotional development. I have posted articles before on this blog regarding the use of bibliotherapy in helping children express their emotions but have not yet touched on what the seemingly simple act of reading can provide for a child and caregiver.
Among the chaos, fear and uncertainty that accompanies an unexpected crisis such as hospitalization, parents are often left feeling helpless and unable to care for their child in the way in which they are accustomed. Routines and normalcy are disrupted and this can further highlight the loss of control that is often experienced for both the child and adult. For example, parents and children who are used to reading at bedtime or nap time have now lost that time for connecting and transitioning at important times of the day.
Providing books to caregivers and encouraging reading aloud as they would have if they were at home can help promote normalcy and foster connections that will allow for positive coping for both child and adult. In instances in which an infant may be in the NICU and the parent may not have the ability to interact and care for their newborn as they had expected, reading is a great way to promote bonding. For more information, see below for some great resources to learn more about the impact reading can have on children. Happy reading!