You may think this is off the beaten track of stress relief, but stay with me for a minute! We all know that reading to our children is important. It helps them in so many ways: academic excellence, stronger parent/child relationships, speech and communication skills, love of reading and learning, and logical thinking skills. But in addition to that, have you ever considered how that time may be affecting you?
When we sit down and read to our children, we stop the busy-ness of our day. We slow down for a few minutes, and allow our bodies to sit, and our minds to go someplace else – usually someplace new and unusual. Plus, when we talk about stress, one of the things that has been proven to help is interpersonal interaction and physical touch. When you read to your children (or grandchildren) you hold them close, often in your lap, and experience the joys of oxytocin! Oxytocin is called the “bonding” chemical. It is released when we get skin to skin contact. It helps our bodies feel peace, calm, and connected to others. We all need a little “somethin’ somethin'” like that!
Have you ever noticed when you hold a sleeping newborn, you will start to get sleepy? I believe it is the phenomenon of oxytocin working. We suddenly start to relax, let go, and our over-tired bodies want to rest. There have been many times I have found myself falling asleep when I read to my girls.
So, beyond all the benefit educationally to our children, we need to take a break during our often too-busy days, and find ways to get some oxytocin. I have found one of my favorite things to do is to sit down with my children, cuddled up on the couch and read aloud. Although it takes time, and I sometimes have to force myself to do it, I find that it becomes one of the most relaxing parts of my day!
So, where does the Zooming part come in? Right here:
These are some of our favorite books. We love all kinds of books (Dr. Seuss are always a favorite), but these books are fun, silly, and have beautiful and imaginative illustrations for kids. Plus, if you live locally, Ned Young (the author and illustrator) lives among us! Always nice to buy local.
My girl’s favorite is “Zoomer’s Summer Snowstorm” but a close second is the first in the series, “Zoomer”. They are stories about a dog, Zoomer, and his mischievous and curious escapades. They are simply fun stories, but the illustrations are excellent and children can easily relate to the “big dreams” of a small dog. You can easily buy any in the series without reading or purchasing the others, but all are great books for helping your child’s imagination and creativity.
So, who thought reading to your children could be a form of stress relief? We can use as much relief as we can get, wherever we can get it!
Here is a more specific article about the benefits of reading to your children: Early Moments: Why reading is important.
I must admit, if you go to the Ned Young studio, he will sign it personally for you. We even have a few of his hand drawn illustrations in our books! Love it! Call for hours. I don’t think they are open all the time!