Today’s families are busy, and every day is filled with activities and obligations. Even so, as a parent, you can still find the time to enjoy reading with your children. It doesn’t take long, and the rewards are endless! Here are some ways to share precious one-on-one time with your child and reconnect as you find a few moments in each day to settle down, snuggle up, and read together.
The Benefits of Reading Aloud
Read aloud time with your children helps to develop your connections and build on them. Researchers have shown that not only do kids love the time spend reading together, but the parents do too. In addition to bonding and enjoyment, reach shows reading aloud to your children can help them achieve greater academic success, builds stronger vocabularies, develops connections between the spoken and written words, enhances attention span and ability to focus, increases cognition, and delivers a safe way to explore emotions and feelings.
Finding Opportunities to Read Aloud
- Depending on your schedule, you can build read aloud time into your children’s bedtime routine. After getting organized for the next day and bath time, take the time to read a short book, short story, or some pages from the chapter book you are enjoying together.
- If bedtime isn’t the best time for you and your child, you can start your day with five to 10 minutes of reading aloud. As you wake your children for the day ahead, give them a morning snuggle and then take a few minutes to read a short story or a few pages from a chapter book to start the day.
- If it is hard to schedule a specific time each day to read aloud, simply look for openings of time in your family’s routine on any given day. Reading aloud can happen anytime, reading during breakfast, or just before dinner, or even just after dinner when everyone is gathered around the table may work best for you and your family. Don’t feel like you have to force reading time, just let it come naturally whenever a few minutes open up.
- As you read news or magazine articles during your day, consider sharing the ones of interest with your children when you all set down for dinner. This approach also encourages discussions and lets you learn what topics matter most to your kids as well as what they think.
- Keep some books in your bag or in the car and read whenever you have to wait. Spontaneous and fun reading can happen with little ones while you wait for older siblings in the carpool line, with children of any age at your doctor or dentist office, and even while waiting for your meal to arrive in a restaurant.
- You can also read aloud as you ride. On those days when both parents are in the car, the parent who is riding along can read aloud to all the children in the car. Or if your child is able to read, encourage him or her to read you a story while you drive to your destination.
- If your day is simply to packed to read aloud with your child, ask an older sibling to have read-aloud time with little ones on occasion. Not only will you encourage sibling bonding, your older child will get reading practice, and your younger child will adore the attention.
Fitting read aloud time with your kids into your daily routine is well worth the effort and creates memories that last a lifetime.