The Secret Power Of Storybooks
Child India|May 2018

Books can help kids handle their intense emotions and learn to be more empathic friends. Here’s how you can deepen the experience.

Deborah Skolnik

YOU ALREADY know it’s important to read to your child, and you can probably rattle off a long list of reasons why. It helps strengthen your bond, speeds Kiddo’s language development, and sparks imagination, just to name a few. But one benefit often tends to get overlooked: When you read fiction to your li’l one, you can help him learn to read other people.

the hold on parents 

Becoming engrossed in a story can enhance emotional intelligence— the ability to be in touch with your feelings and gauge those of the people around you. “Parents can use books to help kids recognise and talk about strategies to deal with difficult emotions like anger, fear, frustration, and anxiety,” says Dr. Shauna Tominey, a consultant with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Assistant Professor at Oregon State University, Corvallis, US. “Studies have also linked emotional intelligence to children’s ability to manage their own emotions, which can help them pay better attention in school and have more positive relationships in life.”

During the past decade, researchers have taken a closer look at how fiction works its magic on kids. What they’ve found is that stories can be almost as vivid and immersive as real-life experiences. Think back to the last time you enjoyed a juicy novel and got interrupted. You probably snapped back to reality, startled to remember you weren’t really in Christian’s Red Room in Fifty Shades of Grey. (What, just us?)

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