Family life is often busy and chaotic. We know the value of reading with our children but it is often difficult to find the quality time for it.
Snuggling up with your child to enjoy a book together sounds perfect and is always heart-warming but, for some of us, finding time to read with our children is almost impossible once we get through the daily chores.
The good thing is that there are really no rules to when and where you should read with your child. You don’t always have to find the ‘perfect’ moment or place to read to your child.
There are moments in the day that you make time for because you don’t have a choice, such as feeding your children, bathing them and doing the supermarket shopping. Try making these daily tasks more enjoyable by using them as an opportunity to read with your child. The suggestions aren’t rocket science. They’re just encouraging you to think outside the square and be clever with your time.
Feel free to add to our list by suggesting other times and places you could read a book with your child.
Read at a meal-time.
You’ve taken the time to prepare lunch for your little munchkin. Why not join them at the table with a special book? Read to them while they munch away on their little sandwiches.
Here are some meal-time book ideas.
Read at bath-time.
Working closely with families as a teacher made me realise that it’s not only adults that have busy lives. Children today are also busy little creatures. Having a bath at the end of the day is a relaxing way to slow down and take stock of the day for you and your children.
There are so many bath books out there that your child could explore in the bath, but what’s stopping you from setting up a chair beside the bath and reading a lovely story aloud to them? I personally can’t think of anything more relaxing than sitting in the bath while listening to the rhyme and repetition of a story read by Mum or Dad. Here are some gorgeous water stories.
Read while your child is sitting on the potty.
I recently had an interesting discussion with my maternal and child health nurse. She was sharing with me some anecdotal evidence that toddlers prefer disposable nappies over underwear because they are made to feel quite comfy these days. It means they are hesitant to sit on the potty because they know they will have to trade in their comfy nappies.
Some kids take to toilet training like a duck to water, but others need a lot more guidance. Reading can take their mind off the process for those kids that fit into the latter category, especially if the story makes them laugh. It also provides them with the chance to sit still for a little longer. You don’t have to read a ‘potty’ story. One of your child’s favourite books would be ideal, but if you’re interested here are some brand new, cute and funny potty stories I have recently found.
Take a book with you on a supermarket trip.
I truly do enjoy being a SAHM but I have to be honest and admit that there are a number of duties that drive me around the bend. Topping the list is cleaning the highchair followed very closely by the grocery shopping with a toddler in tow.
It is such hard work that I refuse to go to the supermarket more than once a week. It is probably my fault that I feel this way as a grocery shop for us becomes an epic adventure. A typical itinerary includes a visit to Aldi, the greengrocer, the butcher, the fishmonger, a stop for morning tea and then we finish off at the supermarket.
Shopping can really consume so much of our time. So, here we have another opportune moment to read to our children.
For older pre-school children, who have the necessary motor skills and attention span to manipulate a book on their own, reading while they sit in the shopping trolley is an option. Although our minds couldn’t possibly concentrate entirely on a story while we search the shelves for grocery items, you could choose a book that has a strong focus on the illustrations. Rather than concentrating on the written story you could have a great conversation about the artwork. I think Who’s Hiding? would be ideal.
Alternatively, you could have a break during or after your grocery shop. My daughter and I like to stop for a treat which includes a smoothie and a savoury scone.
My daughter isn’t yet old enough to share an in-depth conversation with my over morning tea (although she certainly does try!) so we read a book together. An adventurous story about shopping can inspire their imaginations.