Making time for reading is important if you want your children to grow up to love books and reading.
In days gone by, no-one had to really make time for reading. Before TV, computers and electronic games, reading was one of the only entertainment options available for children, especially when the weather was bad.
These days, children often need a bit of encouragement to read and incorporating some time to read into your daily schedule is an important part of raising a reader.
It can really kick-start the reading habit so it's worth planning for and making sure it happens.
As with most aspects of parenting, this works best if you start when your children are young.
I know the days can be frantic and this sounds like just one more thing to schedule in but it really is worth doing it.
Get some basic habits happening and your children will grow up reading and enjoying reading as a matter of course.
6 Ways to Make Time for Reading
Here are six ideas to think about:
To begin with, this can just be an extra five or ten minutes, after which you come back, say goodnight and switch the light off. As your child grows and learns to read independently, you may like to allow him half an hour of reading time.
Older Kids & Making Time for Reading
As children get older, they often slip into the habit of switching on the TV, computer, X-Box or Playstation when they have free time.
As we all know, these electronic entertainers are great fun but as adults we also know that they can be great time-wasters. It really is incredible how easy it is for half an hour in front of a screen of some kind to slip into an hour and then two or three before we know it.
I feel quite strongly that, as parents, we have a responsibility to help our children manage their time so that they do the things that are important including, of course, reading.
In our house, this involves family discussions about screen time and limits set by my husband and I. From time to time we also find we have to steer our teenagers back on track if they’re not reading regularly.
I know that for some people ‘making’ kids read might seem a bit harsh but if it’s important to you that they read, I really don’t see anything wrong with it. What you’re really doing is encouraging an important habit with the aim that it becomes something they do well and an accepted part of their lives.
In a way, it’s like brushing their teeth. Most kids go through a stage where they hate doing it but it’s important for their long-term health so we insist!
Dr Ben Carson & Time for Reading
If you're in any doubt about whether you should make an effort to get your kids away from electronic screens and into reading, have a look at this short clip featuring pediatric neurosurgeon
Dr Ben Carson.
In a nutshell, Ben came from a very poor, single-parent family and was failing at school until his mother took action.
She limited Ben and his brother to watching only two or three TV programs a week and insisted they read two books each a week and write reports on them for her to read.
If you're interested in reading more about Ben Carson, I highly recommend the book Gifted Hands. It's inspiring and very easy to read.