- The new study investigates how reading with toddlers affects parenting style.
- People who frequently read with their children are less likely to involve in harsh parenting.
- It also leaves a positive impact on children as they are less likely to be disruptive or hyperactive.
Maintaining a close relationship and open communication with children requires a lot of effort. A strong parent-child relationship makes children feel more connected to their parents, as well as they are more willing to share their problems during all stages of life.
Previous studies have proved that reading regularly with children helps them prepare for school by developing emotional, literacy, and language skills. A close attachment in infancy is linked with higher self-esteem, greater sociability and empathy.
Recently, a team of researchers led by Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School conducted a study that focuses on the association between early shared reading and subsequent harsh parenting. This may be the first study to investigate how reading with toddlers affects parenting style.
They found that people who frequently read with their children are less likely to involve in harsh parenting. This also leaves a positive impact on children: they are less likely to be disruptive or hyperactive.
Gathering and Analyzing Data
The team analyzed the record of more than 2,100 mother-child dyads. The data was obtained from a national urban birth cohort in which mothers were asked how frequently they read to their toddlers at ages between 1 and 3.
Two years later, the same group of mothers was interviewed again. This time they were asked about their children’s behavior.
Researchers took several crucial factors into account that can contribute to children’s disruptive behavior and harsh parenting, such as financial hardship and parental depression. For repeated observations, they used multivariable linear regression and generalized estimating equations.
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Approximately 34% and 52% of mothers reported daily reading when their children were 1 and 3 years old, respectively. The repeated-measures model showed a strong association between shared reading [at age 1] and less harsh parenting [at age 3]. Similarly, shared reading [at age 3] was linked with reduced harsh parenting [at age 5].
Moreover, mothers who often read to their toddlers reported low disruptive behavior from their children. This clearly indicates that reading with toddlers can really improve parent-child relationships as well as enhance children’s behavior.
According to researchers, these findings can be used in various programs to help parents and caregivers build effective parenting skills, in both urban and rural areas. This includes all programs that promote socioeconomic, emotional, and academic well-being of children.