One of the best things about being a mom is sitting next to my children, reading with them, and having that moment of rest to soak it all in. The days can be long but as we all know; the years are short. Reading is one of the best, most encouraging, educational, and loving things you can do for your children. Being intentional about opening a book every day – even if just for a few pages is a great habit to pick up starting right now. Over the past 10 years of raising my three little kids, I have found these 7 tips to be the fuel behind our reading time as a family.
1. Grab books celebrating the month you’re in.
November is a great time to gather all your books about Thanksgiving, volunteering, family time and even turkeys! It’s fun for kids to go on a ‘hunt’ for books with a specific theme in mind. Don’t have any? No worries. This is a perfect reason to head to your local library. There is no better place to take your kids than the library. It’s like a never-ending free-for-all for a child’s imagination.
2. Let your kids pick out books they want to read.
If your son likes Pokémon, let him get a Pokémon book. He will be more apt to read the book he’s interested in rather than one you insist he read. If it’s something he needs to read for school, maybe you compromise? Tell him he can read 10 minutes in his Pokémon book and then 10 minutes in his school book. You may just end up learning a thing or two about what he likes while enjoying the fact that your son is becoming an avid reader.
3. Carve time out in your day to sit down as a family.
This might not be realistic every day but aim for a few times a week to sit down together where you’re all reading your own books or you’re reading one book together. Depending on your kids’ ages, you can pick a book that is suitable for everyone and that holds the attention of those young and old. A book like Madeline is great for kids of all ages. It’s not too long or too short and there are even a few French words in there that you can talk about together.
4. Have a Read-Off this month!
There’s no better time to start a fun game of who can read the most during National Literacy Month. Make sure you keep it friendly and be mindful of your younger kids who might not be able to read as much or as fast as your older kids. Have each kid write down how many minutes they’ve read each night and tally up the totals at the end of the week. Whoever read the most amount of time receives a prize (think Dollar Store item). To keep things motivating and in good spirits, have little prizes for runners-ups and be sure to praise each kid for a job well done. Make your Read-Off a monthly thing or an annual thing.
5. Head to a resale store and let your kids pick out an armful of books for $1 apiece.
Your kids will think it’s the best day ever when you tell them there’s no limit to the number of books they can get. Resale stores usually have them for a dollar or less which makes it a great time to stock up! You can also save even more money if you bring books from home that you’re not reading anymore and sell them at the resale store while you’re there. It’s a win-win.
6. Pick a special spot at home or in your backyard.
One of the great things about reading is that it can pretty much be done anywhere. Kids love to make a big deal out of the most ordinary things and reading is no different. If it’s nice outside, grab a blanket, a few stuffed animals and a couple of great books. Make it a pseudo-picnic with little snacks and lots of reading together. Take turns reading aloud to shake things up a bit.
7. Books are the gateway to information and education so if you have something different about your family, find a book that talks about it.
Our family is affected by ADHD, so I like to find books about being different and quirky kids to help my children understand that not everyone is alike. It’s a great pathway into a hard topic and it creates a safe place for my kids to ask important questions.
The same can be said if you’re fostering or adopting. November is National Adoption Awareness Month so reading books about this can help spread awareness and allow all of your kids to find their own special niche in the family.
Reading really is one of the best things you can do together. Use this month as a time to continue reading or reintroduce reading in your family. So many wonderful memories of funny words, mispronounced verbs, and voice inflections will have you craving more time together as a family.