Parents view quality time and bonding as top benefits of reading

Earlier on in the summer, we conducted a survey to get a better insight into parents reading habits with their children. Read some of our findings below.

In a recent survey commissioned by Ladybird, more than 1,000 parents shared their thoughts about reading with their children, revealing that alongside many known developmental benefits, enjoying quality time together and nurturing the parent and child bond was one of the most important aspects for the participants.

Our survey discovered that:

  • 81% of parents see one of the benefits of reading is to enjoy quality time together, while 68% cited bonding as one of the key motivations to read with their child.
  • Wonderfully, 88% of parents agreed that reading with their child is about shared enjoyment and is not a chore.
  • However, 75% of parents shared that they wish they had more time to read with their child.
  • Interestingly, of those questioned with children aged 1 years and under, over 36% felt their child was too young to read to.
  • And, 33% of parents wished they had more confidence to read with their child.

As well as supporting a child’s development and personal growth, our recent survey showed that reading is an important tool in the daily routine, helping families to bond and spend quality time together. Furthermore, the survey also discovered a massive 93% of parents feel it is important to read with their child, demonstrating that families are engaged with reading and understand its role in multiple avenues of development hg hrg.

However, even with the huge benefits and clear passion for reading that was evident from the survey results, it also revealed that 75% of parents wished they had more time to read with their child. The survey demonstrated that parents predominantly read with their children at the traditional bedtime slot (77% between 6-8 pm), with low engagement at other times of the day. Encouragingly, the survey did however show that parents are open to reading at other times, with 17% considering a morning read (between 8-10 am). With this in mind, storyteller Lucy Walters has shared her top tips on getting creative with the usual reading routine to combat feeling short on time:

“Finding a quiet moment for story time can be tricky but even just five minutes without distractions will help your little one grow in curiosity, confidence, literacy, and language. Talking, listening, and reading the story together will help your little one join in at their own pace. It’s not about reading the story perfectly, it’s about enjoying the words, the pictures, the time together.”

For the 33% of parents who wished they had more confidence to read with their child, both reading out loud or doing character voices were cited as reasons for them doubting their confidence. Passionate to support parents to overcome these challenges, Lucy continued:

“Your little one loves the sound of your voice, the special moment of you and them sharing the story together: following the words, pointing at the pictures, joining in with the story through the bumps and bends. There is no right or wrong way to read a story. You being you is more than enough for your little one.”

Despite the overwhelmingly positive attitude to reading that is evident from the survey, it also came to light that, for those questioned with children aged one year and under, over 36% of them felt their child was too young to read to. There are huge benefits to reading from an early age, not just with toddlers and young children, but with babies too. Inspired by the recent survey, Ladybird’s resident expert Laura Henry-Allain MBE shares her insights on reading from day one and explains:

“There are many advantages of reading with young children, such as familiarising them with their parents smile and voice, helping them to recognise patterns and supporting sensory development, which are just as prominent in the early weeks and months from birth.”

Laura added... “Reading books with children is beneficial to their all-round development and learning, as well as offering quality bonding time. Introducing books to children from a young age helps them to develop life-long positive reading behaviours. Enjoying this together on a regular basis will have a lasting impact and is the start of establishing a lifelong love of reading for little ones.”


The Ladybird early years reading timeline

Laura Henry-Allain MBE has written a comprehensive timeline on how to best support your child on their reading journey.

read now

Leanne Gill, Publishing Director at Ladybird said:

“At Ladybird we understand that reading helps to create truly special moments between families, whether it’s a new parent reading with a newborn for the first time, or a grandparent reading to an inquisitive toddler. We are proud to offer a wide range of books to support families during every bonding moment.”

Survey additional information:

The research was conducted by Censuswide with 1,013 UK parents with children aged 0-5 years old between 30.06.2023 and 04.07.2023. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

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