We all know that we should read to our kids. We know we should help them make reading a habit and that the benefits are endless, the reward ten-fold.
Between naps, meals, activities, errands, and day-to-day obligations, however, it can feel really hard incorporating reading into the daily routine.
But it doesn’t need to be hard.
By focusing on just a few simple tips and tricks that make integrating reading into everyday life easy and seamless, you can encourage your kids to make reading a habit they really love.
Availability of Books
There’s no better way to naturally incorporate reading into your life than to keep books in each room of the house. You don’t need to have an entire library to do this—even just five books in each room will do.
Try rotating books throughout different rooms or storing some in a closet and trading them out every so often.
That huge toy storage system you have in your playroom? Have one cubby dedicated entirely to books. Keep a small bucket of their favorite bedtime stories by their bed.
And, of course, the colorful covers don’t need to be an eyesore in rooms where guests gather. Hide some books in a storage portion of the credenza, TV cabinet, or under the basket of the living room coffee table.
Easy access to books means that your children are more likely to grab one when they grow tired of a toy. And that, my friends, means more reading!
Snack Time Stories
What better way to make reading a habit than to use a time that is already habitual in nature?
Set aside one meal or snack time as a “read aloud” time with your kiddos. With three meals and two snacks a day, there should be plenty of time to sneak in some reading.
This is an especially good idea if you’re tight on time. As any mom knows, meal times are non-negotiable, so it’s a great way to maximize your time by reading to them while they eat.
Don’t have a book on hand and can’t leave the table?
Ask questions about a favorite book of theirs or one that you read that morning. Certainly not every meal and snack session has to involve talking about reading (natural family conversations are gold!), so if they’re not feeling it, try again tomorrow.
Automobiles and Audio Books
It’s great practice to listen to music in the car with children—especially those that involve learning and gestures—but if you find yourself going a bit crazy listening to Baby Shark for the 10th time in a row, give yourself a break by listening to a kids’ audio book instead!
Audio books provide great exposure to new vocabulary while they also sharpen their concentration skills.
Imaginative skills are also strengthened as they envision the illustrations while hearing the words.
Make Reading a Habit Together
We can’t stress enough the benefits of family reading time!
Whether each of you are in separate rooms reading alone or all together as a family, this time is hugely valuable.
Family read time promotes togetherness, models good reading, opens the doors for discussions about ethics and integrity, and provides some down time in the midst of busy schedules.
Set aside a specific time of day to enjoy a book to show children that you believe that to make reading a habit is an important and vital part of life.
This family read time, if spent all together, allows you as the parent to get a gauge of where your child is at with their reading skills.
Books at the Ready
Treat books as toys! You likely have a box of toys in the car so your tiny human can be entertained back there. Incorporate books into that box, too!
Perusing the aisles at the grocery store? Waiting at the doctor? Patiently anticipating the food to come at the restaurant? Hand the kids a book!
We’re parents, too, and we know incorporating books into your daily routine isn’t always easy. If a day goes by where reading isn’t involved, don’t stress.
Playtime and floortime with a toy that promotes parent-child togetherness is just as good for the heart and mind.