Because dinosaurs didn’t read, and they are now extinct… coincidence?
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash
Reading with our children is one of the best things we can do to help them develop language and cognitive skills. It can also support their social and emotional development by teaching them about things like relationships, feelings and situations they may encounter in life.
Like most habits, the key to establishing a reading routine with your child is consistency. So, how can we ensure that reading is a part of our children’s lives each and every day?
Here are some tips to help you get started!
Pick a time each day.
One way to facilitate a routine is to choose a time each day for you and your child to sit down and read together. Think about other habits you complete on a daily basis, such as brushing your teeth. Let’s say your routine is that you wake up, take a shower, then brush your teeth. You probably do this without even thinking about it most days. Since it’s been your routine for so long, you just do it on autopilot.
The goal here is to make reading a similar habit with your child. You may choose to read before bedtime, in the morning, or after dinner. Whatever it may be, find a time that works for you and your kiddo and stick to it as much as possible. Before long, the consistency will pay off and reading time will become a regular part of your child’s day without much effort.
Set up a cozy space.
In addition to choosing a time, it can also be helpful to set up a particular space in your home dedicated to reading. Whether it be a small corner, a specific chair, or an entire room, just make sure it is a cozy and inviting space when you and your child can snuggle up and get lost in a book together.
Think cozy pillows, blankets, good lighting, and plenty of books to choose from. You can even hang some string lights and other decorations to create an enchanting haven for your little reader. This will make the activity more inviting for your child, and the space itself will serve as a cue for them to transition to reading time.
Let your child choose the books.
Giving your child the opportunity to choose the books they want to read will make reading time more exciting to them, so make sure you have a good-sized collection available at home. Or you can take them to your local library to bookstore and let them pick out a few books that interest them. You can also try rotating the books available in your reading space to keep things fresh and exciting.
However, you choose to offer book choices for your little one, allowing them to have control over the final decision will make them more engaged and will give them a sense of pride and empowerment.
Be enthusiastic and make it fun!
Children pick up on our emotions, so it’s important to be enthusiastic ourselves if we are expecting them to do the same. For starters, when reading time comes along, try not to drag your child into is as if it is a chore. Instead, try using positive words and energy when transitioning to your reading nook. For instance, rather than saying, “Put your toys away because it’s time to sit down and read,” you could try something like, “One more minute with your toys until we get to go on an adventure with Olaf!”
Then, when it’s time to read, bring your playful side! Remember that while reading together is an educational experience for your child, it’s also about having fun and bonding. So, try some or all of these ideas to help your child stay engaged, develop a love for books, and look forward to sharing this time with you each day:
Use silly voices
Use different accents or voice levels for each character
Use hand gestures, and facial or sound expressions
Ask your child questions throughout or after the story and show genuine interest in what they have to say
Ask your child to count or point out certain things in the illustrations
Take turns acting out parts of the story
Toss in a few themed reading sessions, such as a “pirate adventure” or “fairy tale hour”
Establishing a reading routine with your child can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you. By sticking to the same time and place, setting up a cozy space, getting your child involved in selecting the books, and bringing enthusiasm and positive energy, you’ll help your child develop a love for books that can last a lifetime.
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