The last year I’ve done ALL. THE. PURGING. I’ve gone through all the steps of what brings me joy, what collects dust and what is deemed clutter and overbearing. I’ve joined Facebook support groups for tips on organizing and staying on top of things (with four young children, I’m trying to get a head start on managing the chaos). I’ve made countless trips to donation centers. I’ve gone paperless in almost every aspect of my life except for one. Children’s books. And no matter how far into technology this world goes, these books are staying. We’re a family of readers. Some of my earliest memories involve books, stories, writing and even illustrating my own books as a young child.
Story time is precious in our house. I have four kiddos, ages 7, 5 3 and 2 months. The beauty of storytime is that it’s something they can ALL be a part of. And as a working mom, those nighttime moments are SO needed and something I look forward to at the end of a long day.
Here are three ways we make story time special in our house:
1. Get Everyone Involved
This is a big one, especially as the little ones are learning to read. Yes, it takes longer. It can be frustrating while they’re learning words. But we try to give each of our kiddos a chance to read and be involved. Even pre-readers can make up stories to go along with the pictures.
2. Ask Questions
My mom used to do this all the time. She would stop mid story and ask us what we would do if we were in the story, if we thought what they were doing was funny, etc. This helps with story retention as well as keeping even the wiggliest little one interested.
3. Change the Scenery
We don’t always do story time before bed. Sometimes we grab a bag of books, a few snacks and head to the backyard for a little picnic and reading time before nap or on a breezy afternoon. Build a fort in the living room and read by flashlight. Throw pillows into the bathtub (no water!) and cozy up reading about Noah’s Ark. Have your kids bring sleeping bags into your room for a special sleepover/story night. Get creative!
We are constantly adding to our library. Some recent favorites of ours:
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
How Rocket Learned to Read
What Do You Do With an Idea?
Little People, Big Dreams Series
Bear Snores On
The Book with No Pictures
The Day the Crayons Quit
Jonah and the Big Fish
Secrets of the Apple Tree (a shine-a-light book, very fun for bedtime!)
If you’re on the hunt for new books but not wanting to spend much, host a book swap with friends! It’s an easy way to add to your home library while still keeping your bank account in check.
As the world propels itself deeper into the digital era of technology, I can only hope that we continue to hold onto the tactile promise of a printed storybook and the world of possibilities it holds for a child. Reading has made such a difference in my life and I hope it can do the same for my children!
What are some favorite children’s books in your house? How do YOU do story time with your kiddos?