It was a Saturday morning. I was at the clinic for my daughter’s vaccination. Our token number was around 15. It meant another hour of wait. When I told my 6 year old about it she immediately reacted saying, “One hour! Mamma I will get bored. Can I please play on your mobile? Please mamma.” “No, dear. You have already played thrice since morning. Too much of mobile is not good for your eyes.” I looked around for help, some kind of engagement for her and found a pile of magazines. Hoping that I find something suitable for her I started scanning through the pile. Femina, Vogue, Filmfare, India today, Readers Digest, some magazine about cars and some other magazines for adults and I reached the end of the pile. Nope! Nothing for kids.
I had no choice now. Did I? I knew she would keep on nagging me for the rest of the hour, and so I just handed her the mobile. To keep myself busy, I picked up the Readers Digest and started reading. I came across this one joke and couldn’t stop laughing. Let me share it with you
Last night I was sitting in the living room, talking to my wife about life. In-between, we talked about the idea of living or dying.
I told her : ‘Never let me live in a vegetative state, totally dependent on machines and liquids from a bottle. If you see me in that state I want you to disconnect all the connections that are keeping me alive, I’d much rather die.’
My wife got up from the sofa with this real look of admiration towards me & proceeded to disconnect the Cable TV , DVD, then the Computer, the Cell Phone, the iPod, and the Xbox, and then went to the bar and threw away all my Whisky, Rum, Gin, Vodka and Beer from the fridge…”
As I was having a hearty laugh about it, my eyes drifted to my daughter who was glued to the mobile. I stopped laughing. Mobiles, Tab, TV, Xbox, Computer Games, rhymes on YouTube these were some of the means by which we keep our children engaged. Aren’t we allowing our kids to live in that same vegetative state? Every minute of their free time is spent with all these gadgets. Gadgets with amazingly animated games and cartoons. Give them a book to read and they will give it up in few minutes. Why? “Its not very interesting. There are no colours, no animations, no moving objects, a long story to read…its boring”, that is what you will hear from them.
As busy parents we then resort to all these gadgets to keep them engaged and not interrupt our busy schedules. When I was a kid, these gadgets were non -existent. So how did my parents keep me engaged, I started wondering. Well, we played a lot of outdoor games but apart from that I had developed this valuable habit of reading. It started with this kids magazine called Tinkle with variety of articles in it…some stories, some recipes, some science facts etc. Gradually, I started with books by Enid Blyton & progressed as I grew up.
These are some of the benefits I gained as a kid due to my reading habit:
- It helped improve my vocabulary. It helped me understand the meaning of few difficult words without even resorting to an Oxford dictionary.
- It improved my imagination skills & helped me to visualize the descriptions in the book. I used to enter a different world whilst reading. This is also because when we read, our brains translate the descriptions we read of people, places and things into pictures. When we’re engaged in a story, we’re also imagining how the characters are feeling. We use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation. Reading helped me build my emotional intelligence. A quality that is very important to survive in todays stressful world.
- I learnt a lot of interesting things about different cultures, food habits, countries and a lot of information in a very fun filled innovative way.
- Good books helps us with character building, role models, social manners and emotional intelligence. You might say, parents can teach about social manners and role models. But when a child reads it by himself they perceive it in more convincing way and exhibit it likewise. Reading is a great form of entertainment. A paperback book or an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle doesn’t take up much space so you can take it anywhere and you’ll never be lonely or bored if you have a book in your bag.
- Finally it helps to relax the body and calms the mind. This is an important point because these days we seem to have forgotten how to relax and especially how to be silent. The constant movement, flashing lights and noise which bombard our senses when we’re watching TV, looking at a computer or playing an electronic game are actually quite stressful to a kids mind.
I thought to myself, it will only be foolish to deprive my child of all these benefits. And thus was born The Child City Edutainment’s KB (Knowledge Bytes). When I couldn’t get a good and complete magazine for my daughter, we thought of creating one. A e-newsletter that should have stories, global developments, new discoveries & records, the fables with their everlasting good morales, live examples and current role models to inspire the curious minds, and all this in very simplified and delightful tone & design that appeals to the kids.
I have listed all the benefits that comes out of reading but as a parent we have a role to play too. Take some time off and just sit in front of the TV and see the vocabulary & actions your child is picking from some of the sitcoms & cartoons they are watching. You would be surprised. Its important that we regulate, moderately and get them to a world of imagination & exploration through a well curated world of content for kids. Gift your child a future with books.
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