We can all remember the fun we had as kids pretending to live in another reality. I spent hours “teaching” imaginary students and playing with my stuffed animals. One day my mom was cleaning my room and put all my stuffed toys in the toy box. I was appalled! Didn’t she know they couldn’t breathe in there? Needless to say, I had a pretty active imagination. It’s good for our kids to have a healthy escape from reality as well. Fiction is the perfect opportunity for our children to take a little reality vacation!
What child doesn’t at some time or another dream of having super powers or being the hero or princess? When our kids pick up a work of fiction, they have the opportunity to live out their dreams vicariously through a character in a book. When we give our children the chance to lose themselves in a book, we are giving them an opportunity to foster their imagination!
Toughing it Out
Unfortunately, our children figure out at pretty young ages that life can be hard at times. Our kids face struggles and pressures daily. Peer pressure, bullying, working to do well in school, and navigating friendships are just a few of the stressful realities children struggle with daily. Escaping to another world for a little while each day can be extremely therapeutic. Taking a break from daily worries gives children the chance to unplug and relax. While constantly living in a fantasy world may not be healthy, an hour or two of suspended reality might be just what the doctor ordered!
Boosting Brain Power
Reading fiction provides a “healthy escape” – literally. In her article published in the New York Sunday Times Review, Annie Murphy Hall discusses how reading works of fiction affects our brains. Murphy says, “The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life.” Not only are our children transported to a different world as they read, research shows that reading stimulates brain regions such as the sensory and motor cortexes, not just the language processing areas. So, whenever our kids pick up a work of fiction, they are actually improving their brain health!
So, the next time you see your child settle in with a good book, celebrate! The benefits of reading fiction are extraordinary. Thus, a good book is one of the best gifts we can give to our children.