It is never too early to begin reading! Stories engage a child's imagination and expose them to words and ideas. What they learn about people, places, and things can be important building blocks to school readiness and later life success. For both parents and children, times together with books form fond and lasting memories.
Any time that your young child spends with books is time well spent!
But in a fast-paced world where parents and caregivers are juggling so many responsibilities, you may feel that you don’t have the time and energy to read with your child as much as you'd like.
Here are 3 simple suggestions for making books part of everyday life:
1. Make “book time” part of your child’s bedtime routine.
Routines make children feel secure. Knowing what to expect helps them feel safe and happy. Whether it’s naptime or bedtime, when you weave books into your child's rest-time rhythm, you're creating a soothing transition to sleep. As your child begins to expect read-aloud time, books will naturally become part of your daily routine.
Even when you're tired and have had an especially hectic day, these moments with your child can be a special and needed way to calm and connect. (This is a great way to do Basic #1: Maximize Love, Manage Stress.)
Remember, if you’re reading to your baby or young child, don’t worry about finishing the book or whether they understand what you’re reading. What is important is that they hear your words, see the pictures, and start to develop positive feelings about books.
2. Keep books handy.
This sounds simple, but that's what makes it doable!
When you keep board books in the car, your child can enjoy them while they ride. You don’t always have to read to your child; let them enjoy books independently. As your child turns the pages, looks at the pictures, and babbles, they're developing important pre-reading skills!
When you keep a book in your tote bag, waiting rooms and checkout lines turn everyday moments into learning opportunities.
Instead of handing your child a phone or iPad, hand them a book. Reading with them means that you have to put down your own device, but when you begin to see waiting time as reading time, you may discover that you have more time than you thought to read to your child.
When books are always within reach—whether in your home or on the go—you and your child will indeed reach for them more!
3. Love your local library.
Sometimes the library seems too good to be true. Think about it—thousands of free books, plush chairs to read in, weekly storytimes and literacy activities for young children. Your local library is a treasure!
Making a weekly or monthly trip to the library can become a happy and anticipated outing for you and your child. Little ones love to discover new books and pull them one by one off the shelf for you to read. Whether you read at the library, check out books for home, or enjoy a special preschool program, library visits are a simple and special way to encourage a love for books!
Just 15 minutes of reading a day can have a powerful impact on your child’s brain development, school readiness, and even their emotional regulation. Have fun, keep it simple, and know that the moments you and your child spend with books will have lasting benefits!
For more ideas, visit the "Read and Discuss Stories" page at www.palmettobasics.org.
The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!
Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:
- Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are doing Basic #5, "Read and Discuss Stories" in everyday life. Click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
- Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
- Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
- If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org.
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