How do you read with your child everyday when you are already a busy mother? They say the best way to get your child to love reading is to read to them ourselves. But we are so busy! It is not like we have just one child! How is it even possible? Here is my simple trick that has worked for over 12 years now!
The #1 reason why moms don’t read to their kids is because they DON’T HAVE TIME. To be honest, we don’t know WHEN to take out time!
A mother’s life is busy, irrespective of whether we work from home, stay at home or work outside. From rushed mornings to chaotic afternoons to bedtime battles, our lives are often filled with stress. There are a million and one things we want to do but don’t know when to do them.
This post is part of the World Book Day Blog hop that falls on 5th March. Scroll below to see who all are participating!
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But the benefits of taking out time to read to your child everyday are many!
Also according to the American Association of Pediatrics, children who listen to stories at home and are read to every day, see a definite increase in their vocabulary and language skills.
Motherhood has seasons… those with babies are extra busy while those with older kids are trying for their attention. Those few minutes with them, reading can actually be perfect for us to relax. Hey, at least we are sitting down!
We don’t HAVE to read to them… There is no compulsion. But we want to make this choice..
Not as another ‘job’ but more like, ‘This is the time when I will gather my children around me and I will sit with them. Talking and tickling, being silly, playing with them…’
- Do it for the memories. Allow me to share a very emotional reason why I do it. (Grab some tissues!) I have four children and one of the best memories with them over the years is cuddling with them- one on my lap, one by my side, and reading to them. I lost one child when she was 14 months old… to this day my best memory of her, is when she walked up to me, sat herself down next to me and read an upside down book. She saw me reading and she associated mommy and me time with books. It’s the best mental picture I have of her. I may not have had much time with her in my life, but I read to her in the one year that God gave me with her.
- It’s your Quality Time with them everyday! When you put aside a slot of time in your day for your child specific for this purpose, it is like giving yourself an appointment. You will KNOW that this is the time of the day when you will do nothing but read to your child. This is THEIR time. You are taking this time out for LOVE. For bonding. For connecting with your child. You are making an effort. Your child will notice this. If you have more than one child, they will notice that this is the time mommy takes out to sit with all of us.
- You are being deliberate and intentional in loving them. You’re being intentional in your effort to make some quality time with your child/children. This has a bigger and more power psychological effect on you first. You will be happier and more relaxed that even if you were busy (or you had a rough day!), you have at least that one chance with your child when you can make things okay for the night.
- Time stands still. You need just one slot of time of 15-20 minutes to make this work. I am not going to say 30 minutes because personally I’ve never needed 30… I’ve never even cared if it beyond that because as you know when you are involved with your child and making memories, soaking up their awesomeness it’s like… TIME STANDS STILL
Depending on your daily routine and whether it is school days or summer (again, irrespective of whether you homeschool or public school) you will need to take out 15-20 minutes to read with your children.
Here’s your challenge: Can you take out 15 minutes in you day to read to your child?
Yes, just 15 minutes. Is it possible? Can you make it possible?
15-20 minutes isn’t a very long time. You will not be reading for that whole time every day. Some days it may be just 3-5 minutes but some days your child may want to talk to you for 20-30 minutes more.
I will explain in a few minutes how I make it work but I want you to, for a minute, consider this idea. In 24 hours… after taking way sleep, cooking and cleaning, all the chores and responsibilities, can you save 15 minutes in your day just to read to your child?
The mindset is always the first hurdle when you set out to do something new. So, let’s cross this mental barrier first: can you commit to reading aloud with your children for 15 minutes everyday?
Irrespective of how many children you have, you only need 15-20 minutes in 24hrs. You will be reading to all of them at the same time. You don’t need individual 15 minutes per child. You can call it the family reading time (although you may choose to leave daddy out of this).
One way to make sure it is only 15 minutes is to keep a timer on your phone or you can even use a Kitchen timer if you like. This is what I do, actually. I use this kitchen timer that rings loudly so the kids know for sure that we are stopping.
Everyone cooperates because they know the end is coming. I feel motivated because I know 15 minutes is do-able.
So, can you find a 15-20 minute slot of time in your day to read with your child/children? I know that this sounds so simple, but the truth is that it isn’t easy to be consistent with reading everyday.
Some helpful tips to find 15 minutes in your day to read
Let me help you by sharing some tips that I have personally tried and tested. (Many of my friends, family members and readers have tried these too.)
🔸 Make use of the Bedtime Routine. Most moms find bedtimes easy as it is winding down time and reading before bed is a good habit. You can see a sample of our School time Routine and Summer time routine charts here. If you have a toddler use this routine.
🔸 Pick a time when your child is not fussy (hungry, tired, sleepy) or busy (playing or they have something planned for that time).
🔸 Pick a time when YOU aren’t busy or distracted (with kitchen or school runs or errands).
🔸 Be sure to turn off your TV and devices. Keep your phone on silent.
🔸 Look at your schedule. It helps to write down what you do (or have to do) from morning till night. Take a piece of paper, start by writing out when you will get up, when you cook breakfast, lunch and dinner, when do you clean the house or run errands, include everything. Then think about when is that time when you are free.
🔸 They have to be free too. Make sure that you are all on the same page about this family reading time.
Generally for me, apart from bedtimes, I find the afternoons after lunch, when they are tired and fussy (yeah even the older ones are fussy at that time)… you know when they don’t want to nap… or are coming at you demanding screen time… the babies may have just gotten up from their long nap… taht is what works best for us. I feed them and then try to relax for 15-20 minutes with them around me. They sometimes lie next to me or at my feet or just hang around playing with LEGO as they listen… sometimes the little ones – a child in my lap and one by my side… they love it!
One common question: I take out time for my children everyday to play with them right now. We are fine reading whenever we are free and the baby is napping. Do I still need to fix a time?
Yes. If you think about it for a minute, you may be already having a time slot – ie., when the baby is napping. You’re using your baby’s nap time to have some quality time with the elder kid. That’s great. Because children really benefit from 1 on 1 time with their mothers. They need it. They crave it. But, are you doing something with the both of them together?
I know it sounds difficult and sometimes it really is a juggle to have a baby in your lap while you read to the preschooler. But when you do this, it is that time when the baby is being introduced to books. Also, this is the time when your preschooler is seeing that you are including them both – you’re are reading as a family. There are things that mom does with me but we do it together with the baby too.
Go ahead and read to your big kid when the baby is napping but set aside just 15 minutes or so to read together as a family too. Let the baby watch you read to the big brother or let them watch their big sibling read to you. It’s the same thing. Someone among you is reading while the others are watching and hearing.
So that’s your assignment for today. Take sometime to think about when you can be free for 15-20 minutes.
- Take a piece of paper or sticky note and write on it : Time for Kids: XX
- Stick it somewhere you are likely to see and remember. (We don’t want you to get up tomorrow morning and forget all this! 😉)
What do you say? Will you read to your child everyday? Tell me in the comments!
This article is part of the World Book Day 2020 Blog Hop! Here are links to the other articles that are participating in the blog hop.
We’re going on a bear hunt Sensory Time by Multicultural Motherhood
Fatima’s first fasting day book review by Ilma Education
4 reasons why we should read aloud with our kids at bedtime by Knowledge Dunes
Cactus Hotel book review by Fragile Vessel
Loudmouth Line and Decent Dot book review by Umm Afraz
Tips for encouraging children to read by Muslim Mummies
A Sensory Story with Walter’s Wonderful Web by Our Amanahs Our Future
10 Tips on How to have a Successful Read along Time by Let’s Learn Mama