There’s an episode in Season 5 of a popular American TV show, Grey’s Anatomy, where a young patient, Duncan, is not ready to go for a surgery that could save his life. A surgeon, George O’Malley calls him an aeroplane guy and explains everyone how aeroplane guys like to know how things work. To convince Duncan to go through with the surgery, he suggests a tour of an operation theatre and watching a surgery in progress to help him understand that surgeries are not scary.
The latest research from the Vanderbilt University published in Frontiers in Psychology says that that may be true for all children, not just aeroplane guys. This comes as great news for parents worried about their child spending more time with screens, especially during the COVID lockdowns where they can’t allow kids for outdoor activities.
The study compared children’s preference to two kinds of (animal) storybooks — one which explained why animals behave and look a certain way while the other just shared the features and behaviours of different animals. It was found that while the children engaged equally with both the books, they specifically expressed interest in the book that explained the whys and hows of the animal world.
“We believe this result may be due to children’s natural desire to learn about how the world works.”
~ Margaret Shavlik, Researcher
Until now, studies have taken place in research labs with controlled environments which may not reflect their daily activities. This was the first time where scientists explored how children’s interest in information works in a casual, everyday setting. That’s a bonus!
Now that parents know what kids prefer, they can motivate their child to read for improving their literacy and language skills very early on. You just have to get them started, ignite their curiosity, because once they are interested, they’ll automatically be inclined to read and explore more.
Let’s give the debate of screens vs. social skills a break and indulge our kids in the truth. Find books that weave casual information with stories and read them together with your child.
Check out our review of the book, Just Feel by Mallika Chopra, that helps establish a solid foundation of mental health awareness in children aged 8 to 12 years.