9News.com: Could snuggling up in bed and reading a bedtime story to your children ever be a bad thing?
British academic Adam Swift told ABC presenter Joe Gelonesi the benefits of the time-honoured custom were greater than a private school education.
“Evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t — the difference in their life chances — is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,” Mr. Swift said.
According to Mr. Swift, the “devilish twist” was whether bedtime stories should be restricted.
Ultimately the net good of bedtime reading in promoting strong family bonds outweighed any other downsides, Mr. Swift said.
“You have to allow parents to engage in bedtime stories activities, in fact we encourage them because those are the kinds of interactions between parents and children that do indeed foster and produce these (desired) familial relationship goods.”
But parents should be mindful of the advantage provided by bedtime reading, he said. “I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” he said.
Mr. Swift told the Daily Telegraph the idea of evening the playing field by encouraging all parents to read to their kids was not discussed. The bedtime stories idea had been suggested by the ABC “as a way of getting attention”, he said.
Professor Frank Oberklaid, from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, told the newspaper he was “bewildered” by the idea of bedtime reading disadvantaging others. “It’s one of the more bizarre things I’ve heard,” he said. “We should be bringing all kids up to the next level.”