As a grandparent to two lovely young people who are now young adults, I find myself reflecting on all my years of involvement in their lives.
In this troubled world, with so many insecurities and uncertainties which I do not need to explain, widely published in the media, a small group of like-minded grandparents met and somehow the conversation turned to what they had all enjoyed as young children
All had loved bedtime stories. Many said they had played ‘school’ with their dolls, some even made up registers, but all had loved bedtime stories. One of the group, a new grandmother of a three-week-old baby, born overdue and after a very difficult birth, said that what she was most looking forward to was reading stories to her granddaughter. As a young child she had very much enjoyed playing ‘bookshops’, displaying all her favourite books.
So many children, for lots of reasons, no longer have the enjoyable experience of a bedtime story and are even sent to bed to fall asleep with a tablet or smart phone. This is, at the very least sad, but also a missed opportunity for help optimum brain development. The new grandmother, mentioned before I am pleased to report, has already started to tell her baby granddaughter stories in a soothing and comfortable voice.
There is plenty of evidence about the over use of tablets and smart phones being harmful to young children and the association with speech & language delay as well as social and emotional problems. So this is a call to all grandparents to tell and read stories to their young grandchildren so the nation’s children can continue to benefit from this vital language development opportunity and emotional loving experience?