You always said you wouldn’t be the parent to push the shattered dreams of your own life onto your children. But here you are, sitting up at night shuffling through after-school activity options while envisioning their future gold medal ceremony or Nobel Peace Prize reception. It’s ok. We all think our hobbies are superior, right? And bookworms tend to be particularly partial to theirs: the wonders of literature and it’s positive impact on all aspects of life.
So, for the parents who look forward to their child’s first school reading list with the same excitement they did their first steps, here are 5 ways to ensure you raise a proper bookworm:
1. It’s Never Too Soon
Engrain it in their amenable little brains early. Start reading to that bun while it’s still in the oven. Read your novels out loud to them while they’re infants and lack the skills to get away from you. The quality and quantity of vocabulary is good for their brain (and you get to tackle a few chapters and write it off as “bonding”).
2. Establish A Routine
Reading before bedtime is a wonderful part of the winding down and relaxing that goes into a night time routine. But also consider building some reading time into the mornings while they’re still young. Make it a post-lunch ritual. It doesn’t matter when. Convince them that everyone reads at 4:27 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. What do they know?
3. Make Book-Related Events Into Fun Outings
Many libraries do reading times catered to different age groups. Local farmer’s markets, fairs, and book stores tend to hold similar events as well. Turn these activities into even more exciting special occasions for your kids where they can purchase some new books while having fun. Even an afternoon jaunt to the bookstore followed by some ice cream will help file books into the “happy and delicious” category in their brains.
4. Make It a Topic Of Conversation
Talk to them about what they’re reading! If they’re still young, use the characters in the books as motivation for drawings or imaginary play. Once they’re older and reading on their own, make it a point to discuss everyone’s book-of-the-moment at dinner time. Delve into what they like and why they like it. Talk about whatever you’re reading at the moment as well. This will show kids that books are worthy of conversation and are going to stay fun and interesting throughout their life.
5. Let Them Do It Their Way
Help them figure out the kind of books they might like. Feel free to pass down your favorites from when you were their age. But ultimately, let them live their own literary truth. If they want to read a biography on Martin Luther King Jr. let them have their dream. When reading is required for school, remind them that they’re not bound to like everything, though there is something to be gained from every book and there’s a reason their teachers think each one is important. Pressuring kids into reading is like pressuring them to eat broccoli. They may eat it, but they’ll still hate it and end up holding a grudge against it- and you- for years to come.
What ways have you found to raise your children into bookworms for life?
Featured image via Betty Nudler
h/t Huffington Post