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Read to Your Children

A routine is perhaps the greatest tool in the toolbox of parenting. Kids do wonderfully with routines. Not only do they provide consistency, but they give cues to kids about how they should behave. Routines also help parents manage the dozens of tasks that come with caring for and raising children. A routine helps a parent make major decisions once and simply manage them daily.

Children need lots of things: food, clean diapers, baths, play time, naps, and regular sleep. They also need help exploring the world and expanding their minds. As new travelers on the journey of life, they don't know what they haven't experienced. We know the importance of exposing kids to as many things as possible in their first few years of life because we understand how it impacts future learning. One of the best, and most important things we can do for our kids is read to them, and then promote the habit of reading independently when age appropriate.

I've written before about falling back in love with reading. Each day I read the newspaper and a book. I'm a slow reader, so my total reading time is longer than the average person, but I've noticed how my vocabulary has grown and my creative capacity has expanded through the discipline of reading.

Reading to your kids each day, however, is one more thing on your list. Amongst the dozens of other daily activities, now you have to add story time. It takes time, it takes planning, and it takes effort.

Reading is more than just one more thing, it's one great thing. Children develop their vocabulary at a young age and the best way to help them build a strong one is through reading.

Spending time with your kids does leave less time for you to do the things that are on your to-do list or the things that you want to do, but it's important to remind yourself that your kids are growing daily. That means that your little baby won't be little forever, so today's a great day to spend time with them. Reading together is both a great gift and a great opportunity to spend time together. You give your child the gift of your time and you gain the wonderful experience of them sitting on your lap being cute. Make reading time something that you both look forward to by finding a time that makes sense. For example, a great time might be right before they take a nap or go to bed for the evening.

As your children grow, it becomes more important for you to model good reading habits. Read books yourself and designate a family reading time. Continue to read with your kids even when they can read themselves by having them read to you. Reading is both a lifelong skill and a hobby that's the gateway to new worlds.

Treasure your kids and cherish your time together. Build healthy routines that promote good habits, continuity, and consistency. Give your kids every advantage in life by reading to them early and instilling in them a lifelong habit of reading.