By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami)- Reading to children is critical for their development, studies show.

In fact, experts say it is recommended parents read aloud to their kids every day, starting at birth. In the digital age, many parents may turn to technology, but research shows actual books are better for young children.

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A new study in the journal Pediatrics compared the interactions of parents and children ages two to three when reading traditional books and tablet apps. The study found that parents talked to their children more while reading a book, and children responded less to their parents using the tablet.

“Those kind of back and forth interactions between a parent and a child are like brain food for kids,” says study author Dr. Tiffany Munzer, a developmental behavioral pediatrician. “They build the foundations of children’s language and social and emotional development that really span a lifetime.”

She said with technology here to stay, when using a tablet, parents should view digital media with their young children.

“Finding ways to ask open-ended questions about the digital content so that it relates it back to the child’s experiences. So asking, oh, what do you see here on this?” she said.

Studies show that children who were prone to emotional outbursts also responded better to their parents when reading a traditional book, compared with a device.

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Alice Liao is a mom to three children under four. She said storytime is one of their favorite activities.

“Each kiddo gets to pick a book and we’ll sit down on the couch and read the books before they officially go to bed,” she said.

Liao said the family has found reading from a book is more fun than reading on a digital device.

“We love it when books have, like, different textures. There are flaps for them to, you know, kind of play with and uncover and see,” she said.

Liao limits her children’s screen time and says reading together is a bonding experience for everyone.

“Cuddling them while we’re reading these stories just makes me feel really connected to them.”

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She says with so many moments in the day interrupted by technology, it’s nice for the family to curl up with a good book. Team