Parents! Bedtime stories decode for kid's skills
New Delhi : How often do you sing lullaby or read out stories for your kids? Well, the busy life has brought changes in the ways of parenting and we hardly come out with ‘DadiMaa ki Kahani’ (Grandmothers stories). But, a new study reveals that bedtime stories are keys to developing languages and literacy at young age among kids.
Researchers at the Michigan State University found that a child's ability to self-regulate is a significant element in childhood language and literacy development. The earlier they can work on these skills, the faster language and literacy skills develops which helps them in the long run.
"Self-regulation is an umbrella term to define children's abilities to keep information in their working memories, pay attention to tasks and even to inhibit behaviors that might prevent them from accomplishing tasks," said Lori Skibbe, lead author of the study.
During the research study, Skibbe found that children who could self-regulate earlier had higher language and learning skills through at least second grade. She and her team examined 351 children twice a year from preschool to second grade, on both self-regulation and on language and literacy.
"We've known that there is a relationship between self-regulation and language and literacy, but our work shows that there is a lasting impact. The early advantage of self-regulation means children are learning these critical languages and literacy skills earlier and faster, which sets the stage for developing additional skills earlier as well," Skibbe said.
When examining the self-regulation process, the children were asked to play a game that required them to follow quick responses from the researchers.
"We asked them to touch their heads, shoulders, knees, and toes, similar to the childhood 'Simon Says' game," Skibbe said. "Then, we reversed or mixed the commands to see who could follow based on the instructions they retained."
During the assessment of academic development, Skibbe considered four language and literacy skills: comprehension; vocabulary; early decoding, or the ability to identify letters of the alphabet and read short words; and phonological awareness, or understanding the sound structure of language.
Some children are biologically inclined to develop self-regulation skills earlier, Skibbe said, but there are things parents can do to help them in their development.
"By nature, humans are not effective multitaskers, and children need time where they focus on only one thing," she said.
"Parents need to be aware of how their children can regulate their own behavior based on what's going on around them. Parents can structure their home environment and routines in ways that support children," Skibbe said.
She added, “A full night of sleep, playing games with children and having time without distractions in the background are things you might not think help language and literacy development, but they do."
The study and findings is being published in the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly.