As parents, it always seems like there’s something to be doing in order to help our children grow and succeed. And while certain basics, like eating healthy food and brushing teeth, never get overlooked, other fundamentals sometimes get forgotten, especially as we try to keep up with the latest “parenting hacks” or research. But, of all of the parenting fundamentals that should definitely not get overlooked, reading to and with your child is at the very top of the list.

Not only does reading to your child create an incredible bonding opportunity, but it helps them deal with their emotions, giving them chances to ask questions and watch and learn as characters in books deal with a variety of situations. By creating time together to share the wonders of reading, you immensely help your child in almost every facet of their development, from cognitive growth to social awareness and character development.

According to numerous studies done with brain scans on small children, when a child listens to a story it helps them “strengthen the part of the brain associated with visual imagery, story comprehension, and word meaning”.

Even reading to and with your child (depending on their age) for just fifteen minutes three times a week will dramatically improve their ability to learn and make friends. While it might seem like a simple part of a daily routine, the more you read to your child, the better they will feel. As they look forward to the time they get to spend with you during story time, they also begin to demonstrate decreased levels of “aggression, hyperactivity, and attention difficulties,” according to an article published in the New York Times.

All of this, of course, is to say that, instead of letting yourself and your child spend every spare minute in front of a screen, take the time to open a book – and let the magic unfold.