Before my son came along, I knew that he was going to be a reader. At least, I hoped and hoped and hoped that he would be. One of the first things I bought for him was a book — Goodnight Moon — and since then we’ve gotten even more books!
Surprisingly, I find I’m still trying to incorporate reading into our lives by:
- Actually buying books for him. I’m excellent at going online and finding great books for me — but I rarely look at sales for him. Especially for books he might want to read as he grows up. Even when we go out, I always have to remind myself that if mommy gets a few books, he should get at least one! Of course, we should also be using the library, but baby steps … I can barely remember where I put my phone some days, let alone remember to return the library books.
- Actually remembering to set aside a reading time for the two of us in the day. Sure, I’ll read my book when he naps or when he goes to bed. But during the day we can get so busy that I forget that we should still be sitting down and reading together.
I was reminded of all of this today when we were at one of his weekly programs, Books for Babies. We had been to the same program when Lucas was about 3 months old, but he was still super little and wasn’t totally interested in what was going on. Now, he’s almost 11 months and he crawls over into the facilitators lap whenever she reads a story. He loves the touch and feel books and anything with a lion on it. He loves animated voices and singsong verses.
That got me thinking that we really should be doing more of this at home!
I mean, I call myself a reader and we barely read during the day! What’s wrong with this?!?
I always thought that reading with my child would come naturally, since I was a reader myself, but just like everything else I do during the week, I realize that I need to set aside the time and form a habit of doing it. He’s not old enough to come up to me and ask for a book, so I never have that prompt — and how is he going to ask if we never read during the day? I thought it would be easy, but I still need to work at it.
Currently, we read at night before bed — the same 6 books in rotation, all bedtime books — but we have stacks and stacks of other books that I would love to read to him. The other day I talked about how I was having trouble getting the motivation to read and blog lately — despite really, really wanting to do both! — so it’s even harder for me to remember that I have a small child who loves the fun that books bring. And I really don’t want him to only associate reading with bedtime.
Language is so important at this age, so getting into the habit of reading out loud, turning the pages, reading animatedly, and being excited about what we’re reading should really be number one on my list! Even if he’s playing with something else, I can still try and get that excitement about books. How can he get excited about it if all he sees is mom reading a book quietly? I have to show him that reading can be fun!
How do you read to your kids? Did you think it was something that would come naturally? Did you find you had to work at it? Any tips for a new mom trying to raise a reader?