Is your child reading enough? Pose this question to parents today and you will only get them to complain aloud! “My daughter is only interested in television. She plays video games throughout the weekend and is on the internet all the time! I think she is embarrassed to pick up a book!”
Whether it’s embarrassment (because it’s uncool to be labelled a ‘nerd’ at one point in your life), distractions, overpowering influences or plain laziness, the truth is books have become secondary or in some cases, insignificant parts in children’s live.
An important facet of parenting is inculcating a love for books and reading in children. They are keys to unlocking potential in every child. They help the family bond together in a spirit of fun.
But how do you get your children to read without making it seem boring or like a chore. Here are some ideas, some simple and others out-of-the-box:
# Read aloud
Research has indicated that reading aloud stimulates language development even before a child can talk. So you can begin as early as eight months. Once your kids begin to understanding, reading aloud brings every story alive. Be a tiger, a lion, a fairy, a prince or anything you wish. Make this a habit and once the kids are older, the kids will pick up the books and start to read on their own.
# Create a reading nook
Designate an area of your home as a reading nook. Decorate with book shelves, comfortable sofas with throw pillows and bean bags. Keep a bowl of candy and reward your child for every book read. You could also recreate some of the stories in this nook by asking your children to design props or handicrafts. For example, put up a simple paper puppet show to showcase a fairy tale or pitch a tent to get a feeling of the outdoors. You can run riot with your creativity and imagination.
# Plan a trip to the library
At least twice a month, plan a trip to the library. Make it an outing that you and they will remember. Get them their own library cards. Help them choose the books they would like… and afterwards, take them to a park or garden where they can sit and read.
# Go on holidays
You may not believe it, planning for holidays, whether quick getaways or long family vacations, reading can stimulate your children to look forward to the trips. Before the vacation, get them to read books and maps on the place you will be visiting. Armed with the information, this can make any trip intellectually satisfying too.
# Make every activity book-centric
Whether it’s cooking in the kitchen with your kids, a nature walk or a trip to the museum, subtly introduce fun books on the subject from time to time. You’ll be amazed at how far this quest for knowledge can go.
# Be a role model
If you are looking for books and are a reader yourself, there are more chances your kids will emulate you. You can introduce your favourite writers, the books you read as a child and share some of your reading memories as well.
# Go tech
There’s nothing like the physical act of holding a book in your hands and reading. But since we live in a world where technology touches every aspect of our lives, reluctant readers can be enticed with ebooks on the Kindle. The advantage is that there are many free books out there and you are really spoilt for choice.