There’s no denying that time management is an issue for everyone. Evenings are divided between dinner, sports, after-school activities, jobs, homework …. the demands are overwhelming. Finding even a moment for one more task isn’t easy. At the risk of subjecting you to another parenting guilt trip, I hope that you take this challenge seriously – plus, I’m willing to bet you’ll actually enjoy yourself.
Fill in the blank in this sentence: I want my child(ren) to feel _____ when reading. How did you answer: Joy? Confidence? Curiosity? Satisfaction? I’m sure you didn’t say frustration or self-doubt. Unfortunately, frustration and self-doubt is a reality for far too many children when it comes to reading. The good news is, we CAN influence these reactions and attitudes in our children with little effort or time. I’m not talking about reading instruction or even homework, I’m talking about having fun with your child.
What would you say if I told you that you could help your child(ren) to move further toward the Joy end of the spectrum – in 15 minutes a day? What if I told you that these minutes could help make your child’s life easier, forever, and strengthen your relationship with them at the same time? Children who struggle with reading suffer every day. Encouraging a positive relationship with books can go a long way toward ensuring a healthy attitude about reading and writing and an increase in self-confidence.
The earlier you start the better, but it is never too late. Like diet and exercise, it is a habit that takes commitment and resolve to accomplish. You won’t always feel successful. You will miss a day here and there. And you will have to kick yourself into gear once in a while, but don’t give up. Just do it as often as possible. If you only have 10 minutes, no problem. It takes about 5 minutes to read the average picture book. No guilt – no fear – Just do it! Spend some quality time with your child(ren) and enjoy every minute of it.
Family Book Dates only requires few minutes a day. It is a time that everyone looks forward to – because it is hyped as a treat – a special part of the day. If you’re already doing this, great, hopefully you can find some ways to improve upon your practices.
Here are a few suggestions for starting or improving a Family Book Dates at your home. There is no denying the importance of improving your child’s reading level and abilities, but that’s a post for another day. This is, instead, about making books an important part of your family life.
Many of the suggestions below will be discussed in more detail in later posts. You can also see our Pinterest site HERE for more ideas and book lists.
· Hype it up – make Family Book Dates a big deal (never use reading as a punishment)
· Let your child(ren) choose the books whenever possible
· Provide a variety of books: fun, poetry, informational, picture books, chapter books, etc.
· Choose books that fit your child(ren)’s interests/hobbies/curiosities
· Give them the opportunity to read to you – if they like
· Encourage them to share their thoughts
· Incorporate fun techniques: read out loud together (choral reading), you read & they repeat (echo reading), act out scenes, etc.
· Play with the pictures (I Spy; Find something that starts with specific letters; Predict what will happen next, etc.)
· Don’t push too hard during Family Book Dates – this is a time for fun, quality time, not instruction.
Please comment below – we would love to hear your strategies and/or struggles so we can help each other.