February 5, 2016
Our role as parents is often influenced by tradition and governed by routines. We adapt our children’s activities to the seasons and their everyday routine (wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for school, come back home, do homework, bath time etc,) gives a certain rhythm to our lives. It’s only natural that when operating on such a structured schedule, we feel we lack free time to see friends or relatives, to work out or simply unwind with a good book on the couch. This year, why not introduce a little reading here and there to your routine and family traditions? Your children will benefit from these reading moments, which will contribute to their healthy intellectual development.
The earlier the better
More often than not, your little one has a toy box where entertainment is sure to be found! Mix in some cardboard books with his or her toys; you may increasingly catch glimpses of your toddler admiring the colourful pages of a book during play time. At that age, they don’t always think of grabbing one from the shelves themselves.
When changing your child’s diaper, a plastic book can easily keep him or her captivated and busy. Same thing applies for bath time; as a bonus, your child will make the amazing discovery that some books can actually float!
Multiply the reading areas around the house
It’s easier than you think! Simply leave some books or magazines in the bathroom (near the toilet or bath), on the coffee table in the living room or in the car. Your child’s surroundings will gradually become full of reading opportunities.
Make reading a tradition
Being able to create my own traditions with my family and my children is, to me, the greatest part of being a parent. Just think of holiday get-togethers, your annual family picnic or special outing, elf on a shelf, etc. Traditions are heart-warming and, most of the time, lots of fun! Here are some great reading-tradition ideas.
Reward a great report card or a successful school year with a book! Let your child pick this prize at the store. You can also opt for a used bookstore, where you can pick something up for yourself as well. A magazine subscription is another great way to create a reading routine.
Another great idea is to spend some quality time at Montreal’s Grande Bibliothèque, which is certainly a sight to behold for children (and anyone else for that matter). My children love how big the library is, along with the various expositions presented and its unlimited reading choice. Book fairs are also quite popular. Such events are a great opportunity for your child to make new reading discoveries, as well as to meet their favourite authors!
Shared reading via Skype or Face Time is also a great way for your child to spend quality time with their loved ones! If you travel a lot for work, take advantage of today’s technology to read with your kids anywhere. This is also ideal for grandparents who live far away. Distance isn’t a problem anymore when it comes to reading with your child. In just a few clicks, you can create story time magic and amazing memories!
Special holidays are also a tradition you can enhance with themed books. Whether about Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother or Father’s Day, the seasons, summer vacation, a particular sport, or back-to-school, you can easily find a wide selection of themed books at your local library or bookstore. Scholastic Canada’s website also has great recommendations and their site includes lists of picture books, novels and graphic novels for children of all ages. Simply browse by category to discover some new gems that might become your child’s favourites!
Finally, you can also add some reading to your bed time routine: all you need is a little creativity and some weekly reading tips.
For more reading ideas, check out my book Trucs Lecture, published by CARD edition, or visit my website pouvoirdelire.com
For a parent, it’s a genuine source of pleasure to watch our children play, explore the world, and see the awe in their eyes every time they make a new discovery. We all know that playing is part of their healthy development, but do we really understand the meaning of free play?