Are your reading habits affecting your kids?

10 October 2017

For most parents, life is ultra busy, so much so that taking the time to sit down and read often falls by the wayside. Usually, we accept the fact that busyness means less time to do the things we want to, but what kind of message is it sending our kids about things like reading?

As parents, we have a responsibility to be the best role models possible in all facets of life, including reading. As children grow and develop, they learn by taking notice. Children take notice of pictures, of words, of sounds, of signs, particularly in books and through storytelling. It’s from this that they also start to develop interests. But if time isn’t given to activities like reading and storytelling, learning new words, reading and writing may become more difficult.

How to make time for reading

1. Make regular visits to the library

Why not swap one of your weekly visits to the park for a weekly visit to the library? Karen Gawen, Young People’s Services Supervisor from Sunshine Coast Council said that they’ve always found that if a parent is a library member and reader, then their children are too. “It’s essential to have regular visits to the library during childhood to enable them to discover the world through books and develop their love for reading,” she said.

2. Turn off the television

It’s incredible how much time you can regain in your busy schedule when you limit the amount of television you watch. Try turning it off the TV a little earlier and escape into some books with the kids. 

3. Before bed

Reading before bed is the best way for kids to wind down but to ensure you fit in reading before bedtime, allow some time in the routine. If it’s usually to bed at 7.30pm, aim to be ready at 7.10pm instead, allowing 20 minutes to read together.

5. Read while you’re waiting

Just imagine how long you spend waiting at the doctor surgery or in the car for school pick up, these are perfect times to read to your kids, just make sure you carry a book in your bag at all times!

6. Pick days to read

When it comes to reading and a busy schedule, you have to be realistic. It can be quite difficult to fit in reading time every day so instead, pick the days you’re going to read with your children. Perhaps you might only read on weeknights, or you might choose to read on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Whichever day works for you, schedules can make it a little easier.

7. Attend storytelling sessions at the library

Let’s face it, sometimes kids will sit still for everyone else but you! It’s also great to change up the location you read at to keep it interesting. That’s why storytelling sessions at Sunshine Coast Libraries are perfect. They can enjoy a new book that they might not have at home, and it’s likely they’ll stay still and quiet for someone else. Best of all, you can either sit and listen too or sneak off to the sidelines and indulge in your own book! Win win!

Why reading is so important

In the current age of information, reading and processing information is becoming increasingly critical. With information so readily available at our fingertips via Google and the internet, it’s important for people to not only be readers but to be able to comprehend and understand what they are reading, particularly when it comes to the increased occurrence of false news.

Being literate and being able to analyse and evaluate what you are reading to ensure its authenticity, is an essential skill that everyone needs, now and in the future.

But reading isn’t my thing…

It’s OK, not everyone enjoys reading! But that doesn’t mean you can’t share the joy of reading with your children. There are so many different ways to share stories. You can share books by discovering the pictures and words; you can read magazines together, tell stories or even listen to audio books. These all aid in the literacy development of your children.

If you find you lack confidence in your own literacy skills, Sunshine Coast Libraries offer a free Adult Literacy program with one on one tutors.

When it comes to reading Dr Seuss was spot on when he wrote: ‘The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go’.

Written by

Eva Lewis

Eva is our Social Media Manager and is a digital content expert who runs a successful parenting and lifestyle blog - The Multitasking Woman. Eva is an experienced social media manager, digital consultant, article writer and copywriter and has written for various publications and business websites over the years.  When Eva doesn't have her head in the digital space, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 5-year-old son and 15-month-old daughter, ploughing through her current favourite books in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, gardening and chatting with her chooks. 

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