You don’t need to tell parents twice about how important it is to introduce their kids to books at an early age. But chances are, a gadget has already taken the place of books to become digital pacifiers or babysitters in the household.
With kids’ screen time on the rise, and at an earlier age, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued the first-ever policy statement for pediatricians to start encouraging all parents to read to their children. Pediatricians are also tasked to enlighten parents on the benefits of reading aloud to their kids, which include improved vocabulary, communication skills, literacy, and socio-emotional skills, as well as an advantage in school.
Studies have shown just how rapid brain development is during a child’s first three years of life. “If we can get that first 1,000 days of life right, we’re really going to save a lot of trouble later on and have to do far less remediation,” said Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in an interview with nytimes.com.
Aside from reading aloud to their kids, parents can also talk or sing to them. As part of the new AAP policy, pediatricians are building a tool kit that will educate parents on the importance of early language and development through talking, reading, and singing to children.