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Parents may bond better with toddlers when reading from a book rather than a tablet

Ken Martin

Going old school may be a better way for parents to bond with toddlers than using technology.

A new study finds that toddlers seem to be more engaged when parents read stories to them from books instead of from digital tablets.

in the study published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found that parents and children enjoyed the back and forth that occurred when stories were read from a book. With a tablet, the two sides wrestled for control of the tablet.

"It may be that when parents and toddlers engage over a tablet, it might be harder for them to have moments of connection," said Dr. Tiffany Munzer, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who led the study.

Researchers found that when parents were reading from tablets, children were  more likely to position themselves as if they were reading alone compared to when parents read from a print book.

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Children were also more likely to try to take control of tablets and to push a parent's hand away from a tablet than they were with print books.

When parents read from tablets, "their language use may not be as potent," Munzer said. "With a print book, parents feel they can cozy up with their kids and make the story come alive".

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