READ To Your Child!

This blog is NOT going to be about how reading to your child can improve literacy (but it does!) or how reading to your child can instill a love of books from very early on (but it does!). This blog is about a different aspect of reading to your child.

Reading to your child can be one of the most intimate times of the day. When you put your child on your lap (or snuggle up together), and read… I believe both of you will benefit from this special moment of closeness, and improve the positive attachment in the parent/child relationship.

With hectic schedules day to day, many parents find themselves in the ongoing cycle of “WakeUp ThisIsTheLastTime I’mGoingToTellYou SitDown PutOnYourShoes HurryUp We’reGoingToBeLate BeQuiet SitStill CleanUp BrushYourTeeth NotNow MaybeLater DoYourHomework Don’tPokeYourBrother TimeForBed GoToSleep!”. There may not be many opportunities to stop what you are doing, look your child in the eye, and say “I love you so much, no matter what you do, you’re the best thing that every happened to me.” Am I right? If you take the time to read, books can say that for you and can remind you of these oh-so-important communications. In addition to educational books and those with an imaginative storyline, choose books with messages to your children about how much you love and cherish them. There are so many out there!  If your home library is missing books like these, get on Amazon and do a search.  Pick out the ones that really speak to you and the way you feel about your child. See three of my favorites below.

Just imagine taking 10 minutes before, during, or after a crazy day to connect with your child! Life gets so busy, and so much is asked of children these days. Reading time with a parent can be a time of grounding for the child; anchoring them to safety and love in the midst of the many demands of life. When a child is distressed, reading can be a beautiful way to comfort… the closeness of the parent, the cadence of the words, the sound of a loving voice. You can also use books to “cue” things, as the child will begin to associate the book with different kinds of rituals. I read my son a couple of books before each naptime/bedtime. We’ve been reading “Goodnight Moon” to him before every sleep time since he was an infant. (It’s an admittedly random book, but kids love it!) As soon as I’m a couple pages in, he yawns… he associates that book with sleep.

If reading to your child is not already a part of your daily ritual, please start today! Or, if you do read to your child, and it’s become something else on your “to do list” (“Gee, I hope they pick the book with the fewest words so I can get it done and get them in bed!”), time to take a second look at this opportunity for intimacy with your child. Try to start reading time before you are both exhausted, and add some reading time earlier in the day instead of just at bedtime.

Here are three of my favorites:

I Love You, Stinky Face” by Lisa McCourt. This is a fun and sweet book about a mother’s unconditional love for her child. “But Mama, but Mama, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that my name was Stinky Face?” “Then I’d plunk you in a bubble bath! But if you still smelled stinky, I wouldn’t mind. I’d whisper in your ear, ‘I love you, Stinky Face’.” “But Mama, but Mama, what if I were an alligator with big, sharp teeth?”  “I’d buy you a bigger toothbrush! And if your throat hurt, I’d look inside your mouth. I’d tell you, ‘I love you, my dangerous alligator.’”

On The Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman. This is a book about honoring the uniqueness of your child, and how the whole world celebrated when he or she was born. “On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’ …. For never before in story or rhyme (not even once upon a time) has the world ever known a you, my friend, and it never will, not ever again…”

You Are My I Love You” by Maryann Cusimano. This is a touching book about the lessons parents and children teach each other about life. “I am your parent; you are my child. I am your quiet place; you are my wild. I am your calm face; you are my giggle. I am your wait; you are my wiggle…. I am your carrot sticks; you are my licorice. I am your dandelion; you are my first wish.”

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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