How does watching TV affect my child?

Posted on October 14, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

"A review of the evidence in the Archives Of Disease in Childhood says children's obsession with TV, computers and screen games is causing developmental damage as well as long-term physical harm. Doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which co-owns the journal with the British Medical Journal group, say they are concerned. 
Prof Mitch Blair, officer for health promotion at the college, said: "Whether it's mobile phones, games consoles, TVs or laptops, advances in technology mean children are exposed to screens for longer amounts of time than ever before. We are becoming increasingly concerned, as are paediatricians in several other countries, as to how this affects the rapidly developing brain in children and young people."
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also issued guidance, saying "media – both foreground and background – have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years". The Canadian Paediatric Society says no child should be allowed to have a television, computer or video game equipment in his or her bedroom."
- The Guardian, Tuesday 9th October 2012


It is true that the profileration of mobile devices and technology has made it almost impossible for children to be isolated from it. At the same time, this has also become a contentious issue amongst paediatricians and education experts. We are seeing an increasing number of studies, similar to the one above, that call for parents to be more mindful of the amount of TV they are exposing their young children to. 


Without a doubt, the quality of children's television today has improved. However, this needs to be balanced against the needs of a child at that tender age.  In the same study above, Dr Aric Sigman, the author of the study says that the first three years of a child's life are critical for brain development and it is highly pertinent that children at this age interact with their parents eye-to-eye, and not with a screen. 


It is easy when you're busy and in need of some quiet time to leave your child in front of the TV or computer watching programmes by themselves. It definitely does the job of keeping them focused on something instead of pestering you for another snack or requiring your attention. But the easy way out for you may not necessarily be the best way out for your child. 


The next time you're tempted to place your child in front of the TV, think about how much more fun you might have spending quality time with him or her by interacting face-to-face with them. 

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Are e-books the same as print books?

Posted on September 06, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

Kate Garland, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Leicester in England, is one of the few scientists who has studied this question and reviewed the data. In one study involving psychology students, the medium did seem to matter. Two differences emerged. First, more repetition was required with computer reading to impart the same information. Second, the book readers seemed to digest the material more fully. “What we found was that people on paper started to ‘know’ the material more quickly over the passage of time,” says Garland. “It took longer and [required] more repeated testing to get into that knowing state [with the computer reading, but] eventually the people who did it on the computer caught up with the people who [were reading] on paper.”

Credit: TIME, March 14, 2012,

While there's no question that digital reading is going to co-exist with print reading in the years ahead, research between the two platforms is proving that there is at least a need for us to think about this a little more. Studies on this issue, while limited at this stage, do show that eventhough student performance remains the same for both e-reading and print reading, print readers actually retain the information better in the long run


As a parent, this is an interesting point to note. There is an increasing proliferation of children's books available on devices like the iPad, Kindle and even the iPhone. With the interactivity of these devices, it is tempting to convert a child's library to a wholly digital one. And yet, similar research done for children reflects the same results between e-reading and print reading. 


Researchers at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center in New York worked with 32 pairs of parents and their three to six-year-old children for the small study, Print Books vs Ebooks, which gave each family a print book and either a basic ebook or an enhanced ebook version of the same title. Enhanced ebooks were found to distract children from the story, and their bells and whistles prevented children from remembering as many narrative details. Enhanced ebooks should still be valued, however, "for their ability to prompt less motivated young readers toward engagement when they might otherwise avoid text altogether".

Credit: The Guardian, June 7, 2012,

Before we jump at this information and cut out e-books entirely from a child's reading habits, we should note that this is not a debate about whether to read e-books OR print books. Parents should provide a good variety of both as they fulfil different roles in a child's reading experience. To engage a child and get him/her to enjoy reading, e-books are great. However, to ensure that a child's literacy skills genuinely benefit from reading, print books might be a better option. Ultimately, it is about selecting the right books and the right medium to achieve different objectives. 

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How can I help improve my child's language skills?

Posted on August 30, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments
"Education researchers have shown that adding Q-and-As to reading time can significantly improve children's language skills. And the more detailed the questions, the better. 

Dr Paatsch, who is conducting the research with University of Melbourne colleagues, said asking "open" questions was particularly important. 

"These can stimulate their imagination and creativity, and can also be used as a way of connecting the story to their own world experiences and developing their vocabulary," she said."

Credit: Article by Evonne Barry, Herald Sun, August 30 2012


Reading time is often a time for satisfying a child's curiosity. He or she takes this opportunity to ask the adult or parent questions about everything and anything related to the book at hand. However, it is also a great moment for parents to engage their child in a conversation by asking questions instead of answering them all the time. By asking questions, you can invite the child to think about the text or pictures from a different point-of-view (from their own) and help them build up their cognitive and language skills. 


At the same time, it is also a great way to fuel their imagination by allowing them to think outside the text or pictures in the book. Find opportunities to relate the text to your family life or the child's experiences. For example, if the book is about learning to share things with a sibling, ask the child if he or she has done something similar. Or why they think the character in the book does not want to share (or wants to share). 


But remember, try to avoid turning the questions into a test or examination. Hold back your desire to correct your child or tell him or her that things are not possible. It's more important for them at this stage, to learn that they are allowed to think of anything without fear of being criticized or chastised by their parents. 

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How does bedtime reading make a difference to your child?

Posted on August 28, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

A little something different today. Instead of a blog entry, we thought we'd post a video. In the video, Dorothy Thomas, the editor of, a parenting website in the UK shares some of the research they did about bedtime reading and the importance of it. 


"Reading to little ones actually helps them to learn to concentrate and listen. Those two skills are some of the most valuable ones that they can take to the classroom with them. A child that hasn't been read to when they're tiny, finds it much more difficult to concentrate when they get into reception class, and they start losing out."

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How often should I read to my child?

Posted on August 27, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

‘If parents understood the huge educational benefits and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to their children, and if every parent – and every adult caring for a child – read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation.’

Credit: Mem Fox, author of beloved children's books like "Possum Magic" and "Where is the Green Sheep" 

Mem Fox says that when children spend 15 minutes each day reading or being read to, it will help them become excellent readers, writers and thinkers. This reading experience helps them do well at school and beyond.  If you think about it, 15 minutes isn't a long time. That's probably the amount of time (or a fraction of what) you spend on Facebook everyday. 


Having said that, there's no generally recommended guidelines on how often or for how long you should be reading to your child. It does depend on the nature and temperament of each child. Some may get easily distracted so just getting them to stay still for 5 minutes could be a challenge. Others could enjoy the experience of being read to so much that they will ask you for it on their own initiative.


However, as with all habits, it is good to make it an everyday event. Just like brushing your teeth or taking a bath, once you get it into your child's head that this is something your family practises as a daily habit, they are more likely to continue with this habit when they grow older. And, it becomes easier for you, as a parent to work this into your daily routine as well. Once you and your partner have established that reading aloud to your child/children is a habit you would both like to work on, you can then make a conscientious effort to make it happen. Rather than telling yourself, "I'll read to them if I'm not too busy tonight", setting it as a habit becomes a commitment that you would feel responsible for. 


And as we have mentioned in our earlier posts, every little bit helps. Even if it's for just a few minutes every day! 

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Why are home libraries important for every child?

Posted on August 23, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments
In a study conducted amongst 73,000 people over 27 nations, researchers found that growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few, or no books. M.D.R Evans, a sociologist from the University of Nevada who led the study, adds, A child from a family rich in books is 19 percentage points more likely to complete university than a comparable child growing up without a home library.” And these results are true even adjusting for parents’ education, father’s occupational status and other family background characteristics. 
Credit: New York Times, Idea of The Day, April 20th, 2010 

And we wonder why parents spend so much money putting their children through hours and hours of tuition! Having a home library gives children an opportunity to re-read stories that they love and also serves as a form of inspiration to them during their years of growing up. The same study above also states that, "regardless of how many books the family already has, each addition to a home library helps the children get a little farther in school". So the adage that every little bit counts is true, even when it comes to building a home library.


But not only does the home library help a child in his or her education, it is also a very strong vote of affirmation from parents that reading and books is a big part in your family life. It is merely putting words into action. If you've always been telling your child that reading and books are important, having a home library should be the natural step to demonstrating what you preach. 


"We're already going to the library regularly, do we still need a home library?"

And the answer is a resounding "Yes". Making regular trips to the library should not negate the need to build a home library and vice versa. Just because you have built a home library at home, bringing your child to the public library is still important to helping him or her explore new books and interests. As we can see in the study above, building a home library is about creating the right environment for your child through which they can grow up in. So it isn't merely about exposing your child to books (which can be done by simply going to the public library) but giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in a "book environment" where reading becomes an any time-any moment affair. 


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Why should I read to my child?

Posted on August 22, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

In a classic study, William Condon and Louis Sander (1974) filmed newborn infants listening to various sounds. A frame-by-frame analysis of the films showed something astonishing: infants move their arms and legs to the rhythms of human speech. Random noise, rhythmic tapping, or disconnected vowel sounds will not produce a "language dance". Only natural speech has this infant's "language dance" reflects a readiness to interact socially with parents, not innate language recognition.

- Credit: Introduction to Psychology, Dennis Coon & John O. Mitterer

From birth, children are built to yearn interactions with their parents. And these interactions are meant to set the stage for language-learning. The more children interact with parents, the faster they learn to talk and the faster they learn thinking abilities (Hart & Risley, 1999). 

It is no wonder then that reading to children from a young age contributes positively to the early learning stages of a child. And research has shown that this has long-term benefits for the child. A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) found that children whose parents frequently read with them in their first year of school were six months ahead in reading levels at the age of 15. The report says that parents did not have to be particularly well-educated themselves for this impact to be achieved.What was important was that parents read books regularly with their children - such as several times a week - and that they talked about what they were reading together.

So, the more often you read to your child, the more likely it will help them pick up speaking earlier. And with the benefits lasting all the way till their teenage years, there's no reason not to make reading to your child a family habit! Start today, even if it's for 5 minutes before bed!

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When should I start reading to my child?

Posted on August 22, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

It's never too early. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud daily to your baby starting at 6 months of age — about the time when he'll really begin to enjoy looking at books with you. But Jim Trelease, longtime read-aloud expert and author of the Read Aloud Handbook, says that you can start when your child's a newborn. No matter what your baby's age, of course, reading provides a great opportunity for cuddling and bonding.
Credit: Baby Center (Click here for the original article)


There's no time that's too early! In fact, when it comes to reading to your child, the earlier it is, the better. Not only does it help stimulate your baby's brain (from as early as 2 months), it is also a great way to help you bond with your new born! 


So whether your kid is 6 months old or a few days old, start reading to him or her now! 

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We are Open!

Posted on August 22, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments


We are really excited to announce that My Imagination Kingdom is open! My Imagination Kingdom was created due to our desire to get more parents to read to their children more often. In the days and months ahead, we hope to share with you on our blog, various kinds of articles and content to help you as a parent pick the right books for your child or simply to enhance the story telling experience.


Naturally, as a new store, we are still working hard to improve our online store experience. We thank you for your patience and understanding while we work out the kinks and cranks. However, if you have any feedback for us, please do not hesitate to drop us a note here.


Please enjoy!~

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