When my first kiddo was born, I used to read to him all the time. I loved it. He loved it. It was great. Then my next kiddo came and the reading time started to decline. By the time my third kid came, I was hardly reading to my kids at all. Truthfully, I was just trying to survive at that point! (Three kids is no joke!!)
Anyway, I kept having this feeling that I needed to start reading to my kids more often…that I would regret it later if I didn’t. I also came across this poem around the same time:
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a Mother who read to me.
Whoa! That hit home big time. So I made it one of my goals this year to read to my kids more often. The goal is to read to them every night before bed (and holy cow, that really makes a difference in winding those kids down!). It definitely doesn’t happen every night, but most nights it does. I absolutely love it and they love it too. (I have to add here that I am so so lucky because I had a mother who read to me when I was little and I have fond memories of that and so do my siblings!)
A few ideas to help light the fire in you for reading:
- Read “new” books – aka new-to-you books. I recently realized that reading the same children’s books we have in our house was making me want to scratch my eyeballs out. Reading the same book 50 times over gets old fast. And some books are just too wordy for me (Dr. Seuss, I’m looking at you!). But, I realized that when I went to the library and checked out some “new” books, I actually got just as excited to read them as the kids did. So that’s my biggest tip, go get yourself some fresh new books! My favorite books have great pictures, few words, and good lessons. (Oh, and after you take them home, display them somewhere fun so the kids will see them and get excited to read them!)
- Books & Blankets! I came up with this on a whim a few months ago when we all needed some peace and quiet. I asked the kids to go get their favorite blanket and we laid them out on the living room floor. (I got a blanket out for myself too.) I had them grab a few of their favorite books and put them on their blankets. Then we all laid out on our separate blankets, I set a timer for 30 minutes, and we all blissfully read our books. It was lovely. (I should say, the older two read books and the baby went around and destroyed everything in sight, but other than that it was peaceful!) We do Books and Blankets anytime I think we all need a little break. It works wonders.
- Personal Reading Time – I set aside time each morning and evening (most days) to read a book (the old fashioned way…just a regular book made out of paper – no kindles or electronic reading here). I can’t tell you how much that has increased my happiness level. It helps me feel like I’m still learning and that my brain isn’t turning into jello! It’s fun to read recommendations from sources I trust, or it’s also fun to just walk through the library and find books on subjects I’m interesting in (currently cake decorating books!). I keep an ongoing list of all the books I’ve read and the ones I want to read next. I love it. Make sure your kids see you reading. Your example means more than anything else. If you want your kids to read, you need to be reading too:).
Here is a fantastic article from the BYU Magazine with some really great children’s books recommendations.
What do you do to make reading happen in your house?
How do you help your kids learn to love reading?
Any great book recommendations?
I’m all ears!