5 Ways Reading Can Benefit Your Child's Mental Health & Development

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5 Ways Reading Can Benefit Your Child's Mental Health & Development

Can reading benefit the mental well-being of children? Yes, it’s true. Indeed, healthcare professionals such as doctors, mental healthcare workers, and FNPs who have completed family nurse practitioner online programs will all agree that reading has many advantages in terms of supporting children’s mental health and aiding their cognitive development.

Are you keen to learn more about these advantages? Stay with us as we take you through just 5 examples of how reading can benefit your child’s cognition and mental well-being. 

1. Developing Empathy

The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. That’s what reading teaches us to do. Reading allows us to see the world through the eyes of others, and also, enables us to understand different perspectives and outlooks on life. How? Reading shows us the inner workings of someone else’s mind. By teaching us how to think like, and grasp the viewpoints of others, reading teaches us empathy. 

But why is it important to cultivate empathy in our children? Empathetic children develop stronger interpersonal skills. Empathy and understanding for others can also help children build closer personal relationships, one of the essential building blocks to a happy, full life. 

2. Opening Doors

Another benefit of reading? It can open young minds up to new, previously unimagined possibilities. After they’ve devoured a book about outer space, ballet dancing, or fighting fires, kids can aspire to become astronauts, dancers, and firefighters. 

Reading can teach children about the many different possibilities out there, and the varied paths our lives can go down. It fuels their dreams, develops their aspirations, and feeds their imaginations. In books, virtually nothing is impossible. Reading is inspiring, motivating, and perhaps most importantly, shows kids the many opportunities that are waiting for them in the real world. 

3. Increasing Attention Spans

Being able to focus our attention and concentrate on the text in front of us is a key component of reading. With the assertion that excessive screen time can shorten kids’ attention spans - the phenomenon known as ‘TikTok brain’ is said to be impairing their ability to concentrate. 

Teaching your kids to bury themselves in a book shows them an entirely different way to focus their attention. Being drawn into a story that’s as exciting as it is compelling uses a different part of the brain when compared with consuming short-span media such as the examples displayed on social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. In this way, learning to focus intently while reading can increase a child’s attention span.

4. Learning to Wind Down

Yes, many children are high-energy. But reading teaches them the value of quiet moments, too. 

Reading quietly can help regulate stress, and even, improve a child’s mood. Allowing them to enjoy this peaceful downtime shows them the importance of being able to relax, recharge, and take a minute to themselves. 

Reading also teaches children to be self-sufficient. How? Kids who read know how to entertain themselves, and spend time alone. The truth? In life, we cannot always be surrounded by others. For that reason, we need to learn to be independent and enjoy our own company.

5. Reading Together As a Bonding Activity

Are you eager to build a closer relationship with your child? Consider reading aloud together as a bonding activity. Sharing a story - and some valuable one-on-one time - with your child can help bring you closer, and just as importantly, increase their self-esteem. 

By showing your child that you care to invest your time and attention in them by reading together, they will feel loved, supported, and valued. 


As discussed today, reading has many advantages for a child’s mental health and cognitive development.

By teaching them empathy, opening up their imagination to a world of possibilities, increasing their attention spans and ability to concentrate, and developing a self-sufficient form of relaxation and entertainment, reading has many benefits for children. 

But reading is more than just putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and learning to understand different perspectives. For parents, it’s also an opportunity to bond with their children and indulge them with some precious one-on-one time - building closer parent/child bonds, and enhancing and developing children’s self-esteem.

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Fatima Batool

Dr. Fatima is a licensed pharmacist utilizing her skills as a guest medical content writer at PharmaShots. With a passion for translating complex medical advancements into clear, accessible content, she crafts engaging articles that unveil the latest breakthroughs in healthcare and technology.

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