In the search for last minute gifts for ECEC, books offer value beyond measure
With a number of early childhood education and care services preparing for the end of year, and with some offering gifts for children to commemorate the year that was, many services are seeking advice about which gifts are suitable, as well as cost effective.
We spoke with children’s author, and QBD Books CEO, Nick Croydon, about why books are a gift which goes on to support children throughout their lives.
In an age where screen based entertainment can offer up instant gratification, “dazzling” children, we began our conversation by asking Nick why it’s so important for caring adults, such as early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals to offer up time with books as a pleasure, not a chore.
Reading, he said, acts as an antidote to the negative effects of too much time spent engaging with a screen.
“It’s like giving a workout to the brain, and just like a workout for the body, it has immense benefits. It’s improving their mind; it builds their vocabulary, and it calms them down. It does everything that watching screens doesn’t,” he said.
“Giving books to young children is one of the biggest gifts you can give” Nick explained.
“As a parent and a writer, I believe it’s not about the individual book, but it’s about giving them access to the concept of reading, which lasts a lifetime.”
By encouraging children to read from an early age, they are “switched on” to a lifetime love of the written word, and sparking off connections and synapses which will serve them throughout their journey.
“When children are playing games, or even just watching games being played by someone else, it’s just mindless. When they read, it calms them down and lets them build their imagination,” Nick said.
When children hear a skilled adult reading to them, it supports them by allowing them to hear how words should be spoken, and familiar stories can help children work through experiences which may be confronting, challenging or unfamiliar.
“They like the comfort of knowing how a story finishes, it gives them security knowing what’s coming next. They also love catching the adult out reading it if they try to skip a page,” Nick said, recommending Andy Lee’s Do Not Open books.
“You know what’s coming on the next page and so does the child, but you still laugh out loud when they see it, and it’s just so fun to be a part of.”
When it comes time to choosing books from a seemingly infinite range of choices, Nick’s advice is not to be afraid to ask for help.
“Particularly if you’re a first-time parent or grandparent and you’ve got a four- or five-year-old, it can be confusing to get the right book for the age group,” he added.
“If you don’t know what you’re looking for, the easiest thing to do is speak to the bookseller. Remember, they are book lovers too, who do this job day in and day out with a passion. They will be able to give you a wide variety of advice.”
Giving relevant information about the child’s age and interests can help get a gift of good fit. Not being wedded to traditional perspectives, or views of gender is also an important consideration.
Please see below for some of Nick’s top choices for preschool age children.
- Bluey: Let’s Play Outside! A Magnet Book
- The Grinny Granny Donkey
- Bluey: The Beach: A Lift-The-Flap Book
- Pig The Blob
- Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
- Do Not Open This Book Ever
- Where Is The Green Sheep?
- Stick Man
- Back To Sleep
To learn more about the value of quality stories for children, see here.