Thursday, January 10, 2013

How Do You...Find Time To Read Aloud to Your Children?

After taking a break from this series this past month, it is back for the new year.  I'm in need of questions for future "How Do You...?" posts. If you have an idea, share in the comments or send me a private e-mail!  I'd love to hear from you.

Between cooking meals, school, changing diapers, and the normal running of a household, how do you find the time to read long books to your children?

My easy answer is we don't find time, we make time to read.  However, that does not answer the specifics of how we actually do carve time out of our day when each day is already full. 

I've found that the best chance of having everyone together to read is to choose a time when we are together anyway.  During the school year, this happens in the morning. I call all five kids for school, but before we sit down at the table, we settle on the couch for a chapter or two of our fun book first. 

Meal times and bed times work well for us, too.  Currently we have one book I read to the kids aloud after lunch (The BFG), another I read to the whole family after dinner (Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Dead Eagles), and another I read to Maddie before bed (Candlelight for Rebecca). 

During busier times of the year, it is not practical for us to be in the middle of three books at once!  I settle for reading one chapter of the same book once a day.  As long as I'm reading consistently, albeit slowly, it is still enjoyable and beneficial to all of us. 

How do you find time to read to your children
?  Do you have a specific time set aside or do you read spontaneously?   Let us know in the comments.


  1. Reading aloud is so important! For our long chapter books we read any time the mood strikes. When we are having trouble staying consistent I read during a meal (everyone is gathered and the kids mouths are full...less talking during the story that way). We also listen to chapter books in audio book format every day. An hour and a half at quiet time and about 40 minutes at bedtime. We may have different audio books going during these times or the same one.

    I also sometimes simply sit in the hall between the bedrooms to read aloud to everyone at bedtime, but that is more complicated with all my little ones (my seven are age 11 down to 1, with the last four being 1, 2, 3, and 5 yo boys).

  2. We usually read a chapter here and there throughout the day, but we always read a chapter before naptime.

    I sit in the kids' room and nurse the baby while I read a chapter of our current book. Chapter books actually work better this way because no one asks to see the pictures :)

  3. I'm not great at reading the same picture books over and over to my kids. We do it sometimes, but since my oldest has been reading, I don't do it everyday.

    What we do everyday is chapter books. Two things can be counted on almost every day (with exception for something crazy in our schedule or babies that won't be calmed). Each afternoon, after lunch, and right before naptime, we all gather in the living room. The big kids on the couch, the baby wherever she is (bouncy seat, bed, playing on the floor), and the two year old in my lap. I read from whatever book we have going and I read, most of the time, until the two year old is asleep and can be put to bed without waking up. I can read anywhere from 1-3 chapters depending on the length.

    The other is read to all of us by my husband. He's been suggesting I read some missionary biographies for a while, but with all these other books, I hadn't gotten to them. We had one in particular he thought they would enjoy, so one evening after dinner, we brought it out. We all gathered together on the couch and daddy read to all of us. We've been working through this book more than a month now. Sometimes he reads a whole chapter, sometimes stops at one of the "good stopping points" along the way. Then he reads the Bible and we do our bedtime routine.

    If we get into a really good book and I can find some extra time, we go for it. That's where we are in our afternoon book right now. We'll probably read more of that this afternoon if I get my way! :)

  4. I read to my children almost everyday after lunch just before quiet time. It helps get everyone settled down and quiet, when I am ready for it to get quiet. they enjoy the downtime with Mommy. Sometimes I put the littlest ones down for their nap first if it seems like they won't be able to sit quietly with us, but we try to let them join us as often as possible.

    Sometimes we read first thing in the morning as part of our school kick-off as well, but since we haven't officially started back to school yet we haven't done that in a while.

  5. I completely agree with you! You have to MAKE time to read in order for it to happen. It's an important, even essential, part of our day, and so we push other things aside to make room for it.

    Like you, we use meal times, bedtime, and naptime to read together. I have found that by creating the habit (something my kids expect), it makes it so it happens without very much effort at all.

    My youngest (who is 15 months old) doesn't sit still for long periods of time, so I've found that our best reading happens after he's already been put to bed.

    Great question!


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