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6 Good Reasons to Read to Your Kids

You may be surprised at some of them!

When my publisher asked me to write an article about children's books that would be especially helpful to ADHD kids and their parents, I thought it was a terrific idea. Whether a child has an ADHD diagnosis or not, research has shown that reading books--either alone or with a parent--has a calming effect on children. But helping a child become calm is only one of the many good reasons for parents to make reading with their child a priority.

Here are 6 good reasons to read to and with children.

1. Reading has a calming effect on kids.

2. Reading with a parent inspires a love of reading in kids. A love of reading helps a child succeed throughout her school years.

3. Reading stimulates a child's imagination and creativity.

4. Reading is a much better influence on children than watching television or playing video games. Too much television and/or video games can over-stimulate a child's brain and make him hyperactive (electronic screen syndrome).

5. When a parent reads to and with a child, the parents are providing a good role model. Parents are the most important influence on a child and kids tend to imitate their parents' behavior.

6. Books can give a child important insights about himself, especially if he believes that there is something "wrong" with him.

This last reason is my focus in the article I wrote for my publisher's website. (To read the original article click here). Kids who are over active or inattentive at school can benefit from books about kids like themselves.

A book like Mrs. Gorski, I think I have the Wiggle Fidgets helps a child understand his fidgety behavior in a new light. The book is about a boy named David who has so many interesting ideas that it’s hard to pay attention to his teacher Mrs. Gorski. David prefers to daydream and invent exciting science experiments, which unfortunately don’t always turn out as expected.

Luckily, David’s father believes that there’s nothing "wrong" with his son; he believes that David only has the “wiggle fidgets” just like he had when he was a boy. With his father’s support, David begins to use his inventive imagination to come up with strategies to “cure” the wiggle fidgets.

Another book that can empower a child labeled as ADHD, is This Morning Sam went to Mars: A Book about Paying Attention. This book is about a boy named Sam who daydreams in class and has a hard time finishing his school work.

Sam’s father takes him to a doctor who encourages the child, telling him that he has a powerful brain and will do great things in life. The doctor recommends eating “superfoods” (like blueberries, broccoli, and milk) instead of junk food and getting at least nine hours of sleep every night. She also gives Sam some tips on how to stay organized. It takes

Sam and his parents need a little time to put the doctor's recommendations into action, but soon Sam is doing much better at school. Again, this book empowers a child tagged with ADHD without making him feel like he has an illness or a mental disorder. And research shows that a healthy diet rich in fresh foods without artificial colorings or preservatives can have a calming influence on hyperactive kids.

These books are especially important because new studies reveal that a child who is easily distracted may in fact be a creative genius. A distracted child may in fact have "Attention Deficit Creativity Disorder" instead of ADHD. Instead of being "disordered" an inattentive child may be gifted.

All in all, selecting books that empower a child and inspire him to think about himself and the world are one of the greatest gift that parents can give.

Copyright © Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D.

Dr. Marilyn Wedge is a practicing family therapist and the author of A Disease called Childhood: Why ADHD became an American Epidemic.

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