Story Time: Tips For Reading With Your Kids
It's never too late to start reading to your child. Across all demographics, a surprising number of parents don't read to their children regularly. The earlier you start, the better, but if you've slacked a bit, there's still time to catch up. Check out these few tips for reading to your kids.
Keep It Routine
Routine is important for kids. It gives them structure and security knowing what to expect next. Make a reading routine to help calm kids before a nap or bed, or throughout the day. This structure may help kids learn to sit still, and learn how to calm antsy pants and wiggly feet. Start the routine from a very young age. The amount of time spent reading isn't as important as quality, so even if it's for 5 minutes, it'll add up in the end.
Keep Books Handy
From a young age, kids begin to notice books. First they'll chew on them, seeing what these weird toys are all about, and then they'll start seeing the pictures and eventually connecting the words to the pictures. Keeping books arranged near a play area or storing them near a child's reading spot allows kids to pick and choose stories at their leisure. If you don't want any books sitting out in the middle of the room, consider furniture like a bedroom storage bench or other storage furniture to hide them away while your child isn't reading them.
Keep It Animated
While kids enjoy spending time cuddling and just hearing your voice, you can make reading even more fun by using your voice to add dimension to the story. Give characters different voices, use soft tones and loud tones to reflect what's happening in the story. You don't need to vary it too much, but kids will enjoy the story even more, and they'll start requesting it to be read the same way, when you add your own spin to the delivery.
Keep It At Their Reading Level
Babies can benefit from being read to from long before they learn what the words mean. As your child gets older, they'll find a favorite book, usually one with a sentence or two per page accompanied by an illustration. It may seem frustrating to keep reading the same book over and over, but these few sentences, or repeating words may help kids learn words better. Your child will even begin memorizing the story, "reading" it to themselves and others. Once they're old enough, they can help read to younger siblings.
Keep It Fun
Reading doesn't just have to be done with only stories and books. When you're out and about, help your child read words on everything from the different store signs, street signs, movie titles, party balloons, baby shower decorations and more. While at home, you can label everything so they can see its name written out. If you're raising bilingual children, this is a great exercise for children to learn both words for each object. Children will have more fun with this, learning the world around them in a whole new way.
Story time can be anytime. Remember that it isn't only about reading, but about the bond you develop teaching your child something new.