Most parents are very enthusiastic about raising their children to be dedicated readers. We are all already familiar with the manifold benefits of reading, which primarily include better academic performance, along with improved attention span and retentive abilities.

Sometimes, in our fervent enthusiasm to instill the habit of reading, we may forget to be patient and may prevent kids from exploring books on their own terms. Inculcating the habit of reading calls for patient efforts that don’t induce pressure and a sense of urgency in your child.

In fact, in so many ways, reading in kids draws a close parallel to another trait common to that age group—a cherubic fascination for clothes! Just like ethnic kids wear and designer kids wear appeal to their sensibilities very differently, kids from an early must be given a free hand to run riot with creativity.

We have listed 5 simple ways of initiating your kid into the world of books and opening up their imagination step by step.

Start Slow

Like any other habit, this one too will take its course. Avoid a heavy-handed approach and start with small, illustrated books when your child is a toddler. Make sure to introduce it as a leisure activity practiced for pleasure as opposed to being a prescribed ritual. Oh - and be prepared to answer tons of head-scratching questions that pop out of those curious minds.

Set an Example for Them

‘Seeing is believing’ is especially true for children. Your kid will quickly take to reading if they observe you spending time with books. They will want books of their own to get lost in, when they see you giving so much importance to it. And don’t be surprised if, in no time, your kid outsmarts you with their newly enriched vocabulary and imagination.

Read to Them

Make reading a part of your bedtime banter! Reading before bed works especially well for preschoolers. Stock up their side rack with a mountain of picture books and let them pick as they please. We are pretty sure your little bundle of joy will look forward to unwinding with you and organically develop the habit in their own time.

Escape With Them

Once your kid starts reading, take active interest in their reading experience. Encourage them to talk about their interpretations instead of moulding their thoughts in a certain way. Let them gush over their favourite characters or go on and on about their favourite moments. Engaging with them in this manner will only motivate them to become more outspoken and confident.

Let Them Run the Show

After a point, your kid will probably gravitate more towards a certain genre or an author, and would want to choose their own books. And it makes no sense to feed them sci-fi when what stimulates them is drama or mystery. So allow your kid to tap into their interests, sit back and watch your curious little Hermione Granger cuddle up with her book. Need we remind you – do not disturb!