I think it’s really sweet that in lots of families on Father's Day the dad gets a present from his children. Of course, many kids are too young to go out and shop themselves so the gift arrives courtesy of mum. Well if you’re looking for present ideas this month, forget socks or aftershave and buy a children’s book instead.
A children’s book for dad? Am I being serious? Absolutely, yes. According to a study by the Literacy Trust, dads who read to their kids receive a whole host of benefits – including decreased stress, greater confidence and self-esteem as well as an improved father-child relationship. That’s a pretty good Father's Day present, don’t you think?
But it’s the gift that dads give to their kids through reading to them that I really love. Research has shown a link between children attaining a positive literacy score at school and the time their dads read to them. Not only that, the Fatherhood Institute found that kids who are read to by their dad regularly display better concentration and behaviour at nursery.
When our kids were growing up, my husband Matthew and I shared the reading with them. And that’s a good thing because it gives kids a different perspective. Apparently mums often focus on a character’s feelings, while dads are more likely to use the story to talk about something that’s relevant to their life – like the cat they saw in the garden or the bright yellow car that was parked in their street. So kids have to think more, which helps to develop their language.
It’s also great that Matthew has always been an avid reader because having a good reading role model sends out a positive signal to kids that reading is enjoyable. Ours grew up seeing Matthew glued to a book or newspaper and now, even as teens, reading is still an important part of their life.
So this Father's Day, step away from the socks and surprise dad with a children’s book.
Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile. She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids. Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world