September 28, 2020
Filed In: Family Life
Filling up every minute of the day with activity for my kids is a real struggle. My kids are always up for adventure or doing something new, but each day presents the same challenge. How can we spend our day in a way that allows my children to grow and me to thrive?
Each day is different. Children wake up at different times, in different moods, and with different energy levels. The same is true for me. I’m not the same dad every morning. Some days I’m revving my engine ready to go, and others I’m counting down to bedtime.
It’s easy for me to set an agenda for the day, but filling those little empty moments that bubble up throughout the day is hard for me. Those moments show up in the in-between time from when the morning is almost over, but it’s not quite time to start making lunch. It happens again in the afternoon lull when I want to just close my eyes for a few minutes, but my kids need something else to get them over the hump. Even just a quick 20-minute car ride might need some sort of activity.
Last year I read a book called The Read Aloud Family. Research confirms that children benefit greatly from having stories read to them. Listening to stories helps their minds to grow. They learn to understand sentence structure, plot development, vocabulary, and more generally stimulates learning. Children who have wide exposure to reading perform better academically and grow into better readers themselves.
Those in-between times are the perfect daily opportunity to pick up a book and reading it aloud to my children is the perfect time filler. It’s a calming activity that allows me to be fully in charge of the energy levels. In the car, we’ve listened to audiobooks. We can then discuss the stories, the characters, and I can ask questions that place my children in the plot.
Time spent reading aloud to my children is more than education, it’s bonding. It’s special time in our day when we can sit next to each other, snuggled on the couch, and explore a new world together. I hope that this simple activity builds not only their curiosity and academic prowess, but memories of us that they’ll treasure forever.