Story Time Any Time: How to Read Stories All Day
Reading books at bedtime is great, but there are many ways to engage your child with stories throughout the day. Story time can happen at any time! Try these tips to make the most of your time together.
In the Car
This is a great time to engage kids with stories! Check out books on CD from the library – novels are great for road trips, but you will also find an excellent selection of shorter stories that are perfect for trips around town. High-quality children’s podcasts are a great way to make use of your car time and are available on every topic from dinosaurs and space to fairy tales. The car is also a great place to keep board books that aren’t getting as much attention at home – they are sturdy and familiar enough that kids enjoy flipping through them on their own.
Throughout the Day
Keep a stack of books visible where your children play and they will end up exploring themselves or bringing one to you to read. If you have space to put them on a table or basket, rather than a shelf, the books are much more likely to be noticed. A story is a good way to transition from one activity to another – when you have a few minutes before you need to leave for something, or when you first wake up.
At meals, kids are a captive audience! Squirmy kids will have something to do with their hands while listening, and it’s a good time to catch them in a reflective mood. Funny stories or silly poems make great mealtime reads. Meals are a great time to listen to a story too – perhaps a chapter from a favorite recorded classic.
Bedtime is a traditional choice for good reason – everyone is winding down from the day, and it’s a delightful opportunity to cuddle together. It’s also a good time to engage a less enthusiastic reader. “We can go to bed now, or stay up a little longer for a story” is hard to resist! Try having a bedside table or basket with a variety of books and letting them choose the first book.
Some parents have told me their kids get so excited about story time it’s hard to wind down afterward. These kids often benefit from a structured bedtime routine. You might try doing a song together first to let loose some energy and practice listening. You could then start with a more active story, like Good Night Yoga, and move on to something mysterious, such as Elinor Lander Horwitz’s When the Sky is Like Lace.
The Urbandale Library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten encourages you to spend time reading aloud to your child. Receive rewards when you sign up and as you reach milestones along the way. It’s a great way to experience the fun of reading together.
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