Reading Tip: Let your kids CATCH you in the act

of reading, that is!

My daughter catches me doing so many things I’d rather her not witness. Namely, hiding in the pantry when I think she’s not looking while gobbling a whole row of chocolate. She manages to catch me every time and then proceeds to ask for some chocolate herself.

Reading though-  I’m more than happy for her to catch me doing that!

Where is Mum hiding? Photo Source: Peter Pennoyer Architects via House of Turquoise

Why?

You see, when she catches me eating and enjoying that chocolate she asks if she can eat some too. The same goes for reading. If children see you getting pleasure from reading, you’re bound to catch them somewhere with a book too.

When kids see you doing something that brings you immense joy they want in on it too. Why wouldn’t they? It’s role-modelling and imitation at its best.

When I say let your children catch you reading, I don’t mean let them see you reading because it’s what you should do. I mean, let them see you reading because you want to be reading.

Don’t forget too that making time to read for yourself is also great medicine for your own mind and soul!

What if you don’t enjoy reading?

I suppose you could fake it, but it won’t have the same effect. Find something to read that interests you. It may not be fiction that brings you pleasure, you may prefer to read the newspaper, a magazine, a cook book or a share market report. That’s okay. This is how your child will learn that we read for a variety of purposes, and each person has their own reading preferences.  Your child will develop their own attitudes and preferences for reading, especially if they’ve been given the opportunity to explore different reading material.

I know this is much easier said than done. As a parent it’s hard to relax and take out a novel while you’re caring for a child. Even if they do manage to play independently you still need to keep a watchful eye on them or stop to answer their questions.  I know I’m guilty of waiting until my daughter is napping or sleeping to snuggle under my blanket for uninterrupted reading time. But, kids aren’t going to see you reading if you wait until they’re sleeping to do it.

Here are some strategies that you could try to implement so they see catch you reading:

  • Spend some quiet time together with your child/ren, side by side, each reading something of your choice.
  • Use the time when your partner is enjoying quality time with your child/ren to sit and read rather than catch up on housework.
  • Leave your reading material in view of your children (i.e. on the kitchen bench or coffee table). They will most probably ask about it. (Other than the laundry, you will find books  in every other room of our home. The message is clear to our daughter that we value and love reading- and do a lot of it)
  • Talk to your children about what you are reading and why you read it.

Do you have any other ideas to help your child catch you reading?


Reading Tip: Let your kids CATCH you in the act

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  1. Great ideas! I always leave a pile of books that I’d like to read on my bedside table because the boys love to look through my table each morning.

    Another thing I love to do – when I can – is if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to, I tell them upfront that I don’t know and then grab a book to look up the answer. They’ll often come over as I flick through the pages to ask what I’m looking for and I’ll tell them I’m trying to find an answer to their question. I like to show them that books are a wealth of information and we don’t always need to turn to the computer, and it’s working. There are times now I’ll say I don’t know about something and they’ll suggest we find a book that will have the answer.

  2. Nat, I think that is another WONDERFUL idea. Gaining knowledge from books is a wonderful notion for our children to learn, especially in this technologically rich world they’ve been born into. How empowering for them to recall and draw on books they’ve read in the past to help them in other situations.

  3. Your post is exactly why I don’t feel guilty reading in front of my kids when what I should be doing is cleaning the apartment. :)

  4. I definitely agree with this post. Often, after we’ve been reading for awhile together, I’ll say, “Okay, now I’m going to read my book, and you can look at some books beside me.”

    Also, being a mother of three boys, I think it’s especially important for them to see their DAD reading.

  5. So true-if there are loads of books around it is hard not to pick one up and be caught reading!
    My husband and I often give books as birthday or Christmas gifts not only to the children but to each other. The children see that this is a gift that is really appreciated.

  6. HOORAY! This has been my long time excuse for picking up my current novel a midst unfolded laundry and dirty dishes… because I know to create future readers you MUST read in front of your children often :) (oh yeah, and I want to be reading… te he he)

  7. How gorgeous is that turquoise book door? I love this post so much Jackie and I love your chocolate analogy! I recently bought a copy of J K Rowling’s new book and I would so love to have just ordered it via iBooks. I would have had it instantly and I really love reading books on the iPad but I decided buy a “real” copy so that R would see me reading an actual book. I really want him to see me reading and wasn’t sure he’d get that same effect if I was just sitting on the iPad. Thanks for linking up to The Sunday Parenting Party.

    • I know, that door is STUNNING! Well done on buying a tangible book. e-books books have there place too, but every now and then we need read teh real thing (better for our eyes too). Please let me know what you think of Rowling’s new book.

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Reading Tip: Let your kids CATCH you in the act

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