Posted by: Madhavi CN | September 20, 2013

What a Child Wants

The Barbie, Nintendo, the remote controlled car, an X-box, a Ben 10 watch, Piranha Panic, Scotland Yard, Monopoly…what is the ideal gift for a kid of 3 / 5 / 10 years? Undeniably, the most cherished gift for any child is the gift of ‘our time’ for them! If pulling out time from a day that is already overflowing with pending work, unmet demands and high stress is a complex challenge, the way those precious hours are spent with the child is prone to further debate.

Whatever be the argument, we can unequivocally ascertain that there are a very few ways that can compete with the time spent on reading to kids. This activity at best involves multiple facets of the mind and body – auditory (voice modulation), tactile (huddling close), creativity (visualizations, possibilities), communication (arguments and questioning) and most importantly, listening. Turning the brightly colored pages with the parent’s voice in the background is a comforting childhood memory. Some of those pictures and stories are remembered well into adulthood. Reading with the child helps in establishing a beautiful parent-child bond.

It is not always possible to fit in a story-reading routine into the busy day schedule. In such cases you may try reading during their mealtime or in the afternoons, or when they are done with their homework.

Here are a few tips to make the whole experience even more fulfilling:

  1. Pick books that you too enjoy reading aloud.
  2. Try different genres of books – fantasy, folk tales, western, Indian, classics, adventure etc.
  3. Start with books that are small but have bright and colorful illustrations.
  4. Mix a little bit of poetry into the reading time. Verse gives the child a different perspective to language. There is a magic in poetry and see it work on your child.
  5. Let your kids pick the books they love. If you are having fun reading them in the book shop, it means it is good to be part of your kid’s library at home.
  6. Help them in building a library of their own. Rummage old book stalls on the weekends and check your find.
  7. Instead of time for ‘lights out,’ fix a time for bed when the child can enter the world of books and find the perfect respite from heavy homework, school demands and dreary creativity-killing energy-sapping T.V shows.
  8. If you are not much into reading yourself and have no idea which books to pick for your kids, you may start with the Young Reader series, Enid Blyton or the bibliography published by Children’s Book Trust/National Book Trust.

Even the fastest readers do not have time to read all the great books from all around the world. Consequently getting stuck at the same level is such a waste of time and opportunity. Guide and encourage them to gradually take up reading independently. It is alright if your child initially picks books that are light reads but keep a tab on their progress. Offer an exciting book that is in synch with their current interests and you would realize their see them passionate book lovers. You would be surprised to see that your children who wanted you to read the story out to them have suddenly graduated into preferring to read it by themselves!

It is time again for us to sigh and say ‘kids do grow up fast!’



  1. Madhavi, you have hit the nail on its head. Unfortunately most parents, especially men, don’t have time (much less quality time) for their children.

  2. […] Friday, we talked about the pleasure of reading to our kids. Today, we shall visit some of the books that we can pick for […]

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