{Reading With Little One} Sharing a love of reading — is it supposed to be hard?

goodnight moonBefore my son came along, I knew that he was going to be a reader. At least, I hoped and hoped and hoped that he would be. One of the first things I bought for him was a book — Goodnight Moon — and since then we’ve gotten even more books!

Surprisingly, I find I’m still trying to incorporate reading into our lives by:

  1. Actually buying books for him. I’m excellent at going online and finding great books for me — but I rarely look at sales for him. Especially for books he might want to read as he grows up. Even when we go out, I always have to remind myself that if mommy gets a few books, he should get at least one! Of course, we should also be using the library, but baby steps … I can barely remember where I put my phone some days, let alone remember to return the library books.
  2. Actually remembering to set aside a reading time for the two of us in the day. Sure, I’ll read my book when he naps or when he goes to bed. But during the day we can get so busy that I forget that we should still be sitting down and reading together.

I was reminded of all of this today when we were at one of his weekly programs, Books for Babies. We had been to the same program when LO was about 3 months old, but he was still super little and wasn’t totally interested in what was going on. Now, he’s almost 11 months and he crawls over into the facilitators lap whenever she reads a story. He loves the touch and feel books and anything with a lion on it. He loves animated voices and singsong verses.

That got me thinking that we really should be doing more of this at home!

I mean, I call myself a reader and we barely read during the day! What’s wrong with this?!?

I always thought that reading with my child would come naturally, since I was a reader myself, but just like everything else I do during the week, I realize that I need to set aside the time and form a habit of doing it. He’s not old enough to come up to me and ask for a book, so I never have that prompt — and how is he going to ask if we never read during the day? I thought it would be easy, but I still need to work at it.

Currently, we read at night before bed — the same 6 books in rotation, all bedtime books — but we have stacks and stacks of other books that I would love to read to him. The other day I talked about how I was having trouble getting the motivation to read and blog lately — despite really, really wanting to do both! — so it’s even harder for me to remember that I have a small child who loves the fun that books bring. And I really don’t want him to only associate reading with bedtime.

Language is so important at this age, so getting into the habit of reading out loud, turning the pages, reading animatedly, and being excited about what we’re reading should really be number one on my list! Even if he’s playing with something else, I can still try and get that excitement about books. How can he get excited about it if all he sees is mom reading a book quietly? I have to show him that reading can be fun!

How do you read to your kids? Did you think it was something that would come naturally? Did you find you had to work at it? Any tips for a new mom trying to raise a reader? 

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14 thoughts on “{Reading With Little One} Sharing a love of reading — is it supposed to be hard?

  1. I read every night to Sydney when she was little and she was always so attentive. Dominic not so much. I try to read to him and he tries to treat our throw the book. I get in what I can but he is much more distracted than sydney was at his age lol

    • Ha ha … yeah, LO tries to eat the books. He loooooves the touch and feel books, so he’ll get fixated on one page and then I can never turn it. I’m trying to work in reading after mealtimes … even if he’s not totally paying attention, I’ll read out loud for a bit.

  2. Its always kind of been an organic process for me. I grew up reading to all my little cousins, so reading to my own kids just kind of happened. I would keep some of the more sturdy books right in with the toys and would often find the kids looking at them or bringing them over to me ( or anyone who happened to be around ) They would sometimes imitate me reading in their baby language – so cute. They would get to pick out a few stories every night, and when there was more than one kid, we’d all crawl into one bed and read everyone’s selection. I always read with voices, so maybe that made it more interesting?

    Now that they are older, I find it harder to get my sons to read – but it does happen sometimes! My daughter, on the other hand, is just as voracious a reader as I am, and I love that.

    BTW don’t put yourself down because you feel guilty about not having the time to read as much as you want to any more. I actually went through a ‘dry spell’ when my kids were really small and didn’t read much at all for about 5 years!! I was otherwise occupied at the time – probably re-reading Where the Wild Things are for the nth million time. I had to remind myself that reading isn’t a race – and you don’t HAVE to be ‘caught up’ And what a pleasure it was when I re-discovered the joys of reading for my self again. It’s a lesson I’m learning again as I now have gone back to work full time (Something I hadn’t done for 15 years!) and that has seriously affected my reading patterns.- causing anxiety and everything. One year later and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel as I finally figure out a better system of organization in my life. Its a work in progress.

    • I find that the time I have to read right now really makes me appreciate it … before the boy came, I’d read TONS of books and now I take my time on my books and really think about them AND remember them. And I do think that it’s okay for me to take some time on my own to read if he’s playing on his own … if he sees me reading, maybe it’ll interest him more? We have TONS of playtime together so why not?

    • I love this comment. Reading and life are so intertwined. I could track the ups and downs in my life by what I was reading, how much… I just wish Goodreads existed when I was younger, so I could look back.

  3. Don’t feel too bad about not reading to your son as much as you think you should. You don’t want reading to be a chore for either one of you. I think it will get easier to incorporate books into your daily routine once he gets a little older. I have some children’s books on my e-reader to read/look at when I know we’ll be waiting somewhere (the doctor’s, a restaurant, etc.). I also try to go to the library at least twice a month where the kids can pick whatever they want. I then keep them in a separate bag right by the door and make sure they are always returned into that bag when we’re done reading a book. That way, I never forget about returning them and I don’t have to hunt for them when it’s time for the next trip to the library.

    • I used to work at the library and I’m TERRIBLE now at going to it! I really should since they have a great play area for kids and the boy loved it when we went last … I really should make it a weekly habit!

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  5. I guess my expectations were low because NOTHING about parenting comes very naturally for me. Reading to my kids didn’t really click for me till this year. Until they’re three or so, they don’t really have much input, but once they’re old enough to not only be read TO but to talk about what you’re reading, express preferences, etc, it’s pretty boring for the parent!

    I think quality kids books helps a lot too. Check out this blog, I have got a lot of good recs here. And she’s local! http://32pages.ca/

    • I find it strange since parenting does kind of come naturally to me … I never thought it would!

      And I’m so picky about the books we get for him … it’s probably the reader/library worker in me. I just can’t let him read crap. I love the Saundra Boynton books or Oliver Jeffers or Eric Carle … it’s fun finding a great kid’s author.

  6. I can relate to your post in more ways than one. I too thought reading with my child would come more naturally given how much I like to read. I breastfed up until my daughter was just over 2 years old and she would often fall asleep at the breast at night, and so reading before bed was not something we had incorporated into our routine initially. I tried to read to her each day, but there was no pattern to it and I wasn’t always able to fit it in.

    After she stopped breastfeeding, we settled into a bedtime reading schedule–more or less. Even now it varies. We would sometimes read during the day, sometimes not. I felt terrible about that. I work outside the home, so I know my daughter gets read to at her daycare/school every day–but that’s not the same. I’ve never felt that really counted. On work days, it’s hard to fit it in other than just at bedtime. My daughter gets read to while she’s in the bath a lot–unconventional, I know, but it works for us. Most recently, when she and I get home from work and settle in, I often ask her to pick out a book to read–and then we end up reading ten of them in a row (or maybe the same book ten times, depending). Then dad comes home and we have dinner, etc. I love how eager she is to read. Sometimes she’ll take the book from me and “read” to me. I love it.

    Since she was two we’ve made a habit of going to the library every Saturday after soccer class. We don’t always check out books, but we always sit and read a few. It’s hard to tell her its time to go when she asks to read “just one more book”. By the fifth time she says it, we have to put our foot down. It’s so hard to say no when it comes to her wanting to read! I know, I’m bad at setting limits when it comes to reading.

    One area we differ is that I find it way easier to buy books for her than for myself. She has a big library for someone so young. LOL I come from a family of readers too that always give books as gifts.

    I have a bad habit of letting me daughter watch an extra one or two of one of her shows so I can get in some personal reading. I know it’s bad, but she doesn’t nap on the weekends and because she and I go to bed at the same time at night, I don’t get to read for myself before bed.

    Sorry this is so long and rambly!

    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who goes to bed around the same time as my kid! Though, he goes to bed at 7:30, so I guess I could try and stay up a *little* later to read …

      That’s awesome that your girl has such a great library already! My boy really doesn’t have a LOT of books, but we do have enough right now … and I think every time we go to Costco, I find something new for him! I like your idea of reading to him when he’s in the bath … I feel like I might have his attention more if we did that.

      And yeah, if he’s playing on his own in his playroom, I’ll sit on the floor and read through a few pages until he comes over to play with me … I feel like he has to at least see me reading to want to do it himself!

      We’ll see how our weekly library visits go … I do love the idea that we don’t always have to take out books, but it’s just nice to sit somewhere else and read a few that he hasn’t seen already. And it’ll get him used to the library — hopefully one day he’ll pick out his own books to take home!

  7. Pingback: October | Reading In Winter

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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