I know I commiserate with most of you by saying that it's so hard to get things done these days. So many pieces of our normal have been broken, and we've all been left trying to build new, beautiful things out of what is left. At any given moment, I could be tackling several separate things—whether it be cooking dinner, answering a Slack, picking up toys, writing an email, wiping the counters, or tending to whatever need my toddler currently has. This has lead me to miss many small moments my son has simply because I'm not looking, or I'm not present. And I'm realistic enough to know that in the current headspace I'm in, I cannot make the shift to be present 100% of the time—but I will try to make small improvements where and when I can.
One thing I do prioritize then, now, and always will, is making sure that we get some reading time in each day. This is what my sister so wittily calls "QRT", or "Quality Reading Time". I will admit to you, for full transparency's sake, that there were years (yes years) that went by that I didn't read for leisure. I could make every excuse in the world, but laziness was the most probable culprit. Ironically, in this season in my life where I most certainly have the least amount of spare time, I find myself reading now more than ever. It all began when I became pregnant and treated that period of time like I was studying for the biggest test of my life (which, I suppose, is true). I tackled several books during that time. On pregnancy, postpartum, mental health, nutrition, sleep—you name it, I read it.
And then he arrived! My reading habits shifted immensely. I found myself elbow-deep in board books and Scholastic paperbacks. The joys of reading these books when I was a child flooded back in to my life as I started to read them to my son. Pre-COVID-19, we would frequent our local library's book store... often snagging some great books for $1 or less. This has resulted in quite a collection that is a joy for me, and a slight annoyance for my husband. I'm certainly looking forward to getting back to that pastime!
The importance of raising a child who loves books and can read well is not lost on me. It is something that was engrained in me growing up by my parents, and after a long hiatus, I'm back in the game and making sure my kid loves books too. We started reading to him when he was just a few days old. In fact, we even read The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton to him while in utero. It seems really silly now, and I will tell you I did that probably mainly for my benefit—but it does behoove parents to start reading to their kids early and often.
"Over the 5 years, before they entered kindergarten, researchers estimated that kids from highly literate households (meaning they were read five books a day) heard a cumulative 1.4 million more words from being read to than children who were never read to."
- When Kids Are Not Read To At Home, Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
I mean, wow. Enough said? Taking a few minutes to read each day seems to set these kids up for success later on. Also, not to mention the other proven benefits of reading to your children such as cognitive development, bonding time, emotional development, concentration and the inherent learning that takes place based on subject matter.
Let's be honest again, here—sometimes, it's no walk in the park to read to a baby who would rather be sleeping, crawling or eating the book you are reading to him. There have been plenty of times I've finished a book purely for my own enjoyment as my kid has moved on to other activities in the room. I tell myself that he's still hearing the words, so hopefully some of them will sink in!
Tips and Tricks For How to Read To A Busy Toddler:
Hi! I'm Laura, a 30-something first-time mom raising her little dude in southern California. It's been quite a first year, and this is my way to try to make sense of it all. This is a safe space for all moms to get some laughs, recommendations and feel like they are not alone.