Between cleaning up my toddler's spilled chocolate milk all over my floors, grabbing cords out of my baby's chubby fingers, and running errands, washing dishes, singing songs, playing tag, and everything else that I have going on during a day, when do I find time for one of the most important things I can do for my kids' development--reading?!
Reading is so, so important to our little ones. Not only will it help with vocabulary and verbal development, communication skills, but it also increases their creativity and imagination. You should start reading to your babes as soon as they're born, and it will help with their attention and memory as they get older. So how do we make sure that our kids love to read when we can barely make time for it during our busy days? Well, if you're anything like me and have a couple of toddlers running (or crawling) around, and are looking for a few ways to add in more books to your life, then stay tuned for 5 ways to get your kids to love reading!
In order for our kids to love to read we need to make time for it! If our kids are the never-slow-down type, even just sitting down on the floor and opening up a book will get them to pay attention for a little bit. If they see you making the effort to engage with them through a book, they will take notice and want to join you! In our house, reading right when the kids wake up or right before bedtime helps to make sure they'll pay attention and be a little less rowdy than during the middle of the day. We also have bookshelves hung in our kids' room to make sure that they always have books available if they want to look at the pictures on their own! One of my favorite things is hearing my sweet 3-year old "read" stories that we've read earlier that day.
Your library is one of the best resources available to you to make sure that your kids always have access to books! It also helps you to mix up your own library at home by heading there to check out books! Most libraries have story times, and my son loves it so much we go a couple times a week. Our librarian adds in dancing, puppet shows, and singing into story time that usually trump what I can do at home. A great way to make reading fun is to get them together with other kids and let the librarian do her thing! After story time, we usually head over to the books and pick out 2-3 new books that we'll read during over the next couple of weeks.
When your babies are newborns you can pretty much read whatever you want and they have to sit and listen to you, because they can't move much yet. But once you have a toddler on your hands, you'll need to be a little bit more attentive to your child's personality and preferences to make sure they're staying engaged when you're reading. But if you want to mix in some books that are filled with fun stories about important characters in history, you'll want to get your hands on the Penguin Random House books. They have an entire series of Ordinary People Change the World and they're not only adorable, but will help your kids learn about important historical figures to help inspire their own imaginations!
Something that I like to do with my kids is add in a craft during the week about a book that I've been reading to them. You could use more of the Penguin Random House books as inspiration, and do an animal craft using Where's the Dog? or Where's the Zebra? or you could write letters/draw pictures for Grandma after reading How to Babysit a Grandma. Don't feel like you need to do something like this every day, but even just doing a fun craft/activity that ties to the book will get your kids excited about reading.
I try my best to always change up my voice when I'm reading to my kids so that they understand the differences in tone, emotion, and situations. I also try my best to add in some fun noises; If a car slams on its brakes, I'll make a, "screeeeech," sound and my kids love it! Even though they're too little to read yet, if we pull out a book, they'll make the sounds after I finish reading the page, and it just shows how much they remember! They truly love when you sit down with them and play out the characters and sound effects in a book. Here are a couple more books that you can use to play out fun characters and get your child's imagination going!