by Maria Schulz
These days, families are stretched thin because we’re all very busy and very stressed. Do you exercise 3 or more times a week like you should? (Not always). Do you eat home cooked meals instead of fast food (I try). Parents, do you read out loud to your kids every single day? This one’s a no-brainer…except for many these days, the answer is no.
At readaloud.org, there’s a movement to help parents carve out a minimum of 15 minutes a day for reading aloud to their kids. Now here’s a revolution that I’m all in for!
There was nothing better than cuddling with a book when my girls needed to wind down from an activity before naptime, in the bath (yes! You can get waterproof books and kids can act out the stories while splashing and playing), and of course, at bedtime.
I knew it was good for them, but you know what? It was good for me too. I got the chance to discover what made them laugh, what interested them, and experience wonder at the world around us. It was fun to watch my girls discover the simplest things, from colors and numbers in the beginning to concepts like sharing, being kind, compromising, compassion, and empathy. Hey! Maybe we should read aloud to our politicians, too.
Many parents will say, “I’m just too tired and there’s no time to read. I’ll give my kids their iPad or Kindle Fire and they can read audio books. That’s the same, right?”
Wrong. It’s not the same. Children and parents forge bonds as they read together, and if you start reading to kids from they day they’re born, their brain will make more vital connections than children who don’t have books read to them. It gives them a bigger vocabulary and gets them ready for school, tests, and success. Yes, it even helps them succeed in S.T.E.M. classes (if you can’t read, you can’t learn).
These were the books that my girls enjoyed:
Pat the Bunny
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born
Guess How Much I Love You
Where the Wild Things Are
My Somebody Special
C is for Cookie
The Cat in the Hat
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
The Rainbow Fish
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Kissing Hand
Winners Never Quit
The best part about reading aloud? You get to act out the scenes and have fun together. To reap the benefits, you just have to do this 15 minutes per day. If money is tight, the library is free. Go once a week and stock up on books you can enjoy together.
Reading to your kids is just like exercising, eating right, and taking care of yourself. It’s hard to make the time, but when you do, you realize it was the best thing you did all day.
Recipe: Quick Breakfast Burritos
Eggs are brain food! This breakfast burrito recipe looks delicious, but if you don’t think you’ll ever have the time to make this, prep ahead, omit whatever you don’t have on hand (I don’t usually have green chiles on hand and my kids won’t eat them anyway), and create a healthy breakfast that will send them off ready to learn. You can even make these ahead and freeze them. That way, all you have to do is defrost them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, and go. P.S.: Pack a book with that burrito, for a truly brain-boosting breakfast experience.
So, did you/do you read aloud to your kids? What was your favorite book? What’s your favorite “reading moment” memory? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!