Growing up, I didn’t have a nightly ritual of snuggling up with my parents while they read books aloud with me and my sister. Instead, I read books on my own when I was old enough to read. I always wanted to have someone read bedtime stories with me so I vowed that whenever God blessed me with my own children I would read with them every night.
Since becoming a mom almost three years ago, (I seriously cannot believe “Sparkles” is almost 3) I’ve managed to stick to my plan of daily read aloud time with the kids. The only times I’ve skipped our read aloud sessions are the few times when I traveled out of town for work. Other than that, I’ve been very consistent squeezing in 15-30 minutes of reading time each day either in the morning or at night.
Perhaps you can relate, but I believe reading aloud to the children over the past three years has made me a better mom. Here’s how:
1. It Calms Me
Reading calms me and makes me feel productive. It’s also a great stress reliever for me as it allows me to escape even if for just a few minutes. This is a win-win for my entire family because when mommy’s happy, everyone’s happy.
2. It’s Boosting My Vocabulary
By reading books, magazines and blogs daily my vocabulary has increased tremendously. Also, now that I’m learning Latin I’m gaining more knowledge and insight of how words were formed in English, Spanish and other foreign languages. The kids will benefit from this directly because I’ll be able to pass on what I’m learning to them.
3. It Makes My Children Happy
I love seeing the look on the kids’ faces when I sit down to read with them. They’ve come to expect that reading books will be a part of our day and whenever I say it’s story time their eyes light up and they run and go grab the books they want to read. Love it!
4. It Keeps My Brain From Turning Into Mush
As a parent I am pulled in so many different directions, but most of them are not intellectually stimulating unless of course you count reading, Sudoku, and listening to podcasts. Being able to read books pushes me to consider other people’s opinions, form my own opinions, and gain new perspective on a variety of different topics. Reading helps to stimulate my brain and stay more alert which is especially helpful when you have two toddlers like I do.
5. It Has Taught Me To Trust Myself – I’m Doing The Best I Can For My Family
Through having different conversations with other parents, I’ve learned that not everyone will subscribe to daily read aloud time with their kids like I do. They also won’t start a blog dedicated to reading, make multiple trips to the library each week, read for their own pleasure or do any of the things that I do for my family. And that’s OK. I trust myself to know that I’m doing the best I can for my family.
6. It’s the Perfect Bonding Time With the Kids
Story time with the kids is the perfect time to connect and bond with them. Whether it’s first thing in the morning before drop-offs or the last thing we do together at night. It’s such a precious time for me that I’ve come to cherish.
7. It’s Teaching the Kids to Love Reading
I love the fact that something as simple as reading to children can instill a love of reading in them. I hope that by reading with them daily and seeing me read frequently they won’t fall into the category of kids who “hate” reading or think it’s boring or uncool. I want to teach them to become lifelong readers and leaders.
Your turn: What have you learned from reading with your children? What are some things (besides reading) that have made you a better person or a better mom? Feel free to share in the comments.