If your kid is not showing much enthusiasm for reading, don’t lose hope. There are ways to cultivate a love for reading in your kid and make them a fun activity, even if they are initially hesitant.
One of the most effective methods I’ve found to encourage my kid to read involves a simple phrase: “Early Bedtime”. You might be wondering how extending their sleep schedule can make your child spend more time reading. The trick lies in setting their bedtime about 45 minutes to an hour earlier than when they need to turn off their lights.
Our bedtime routine is as follows: the children brush their teeth and use the restroom. Then, I read them a story. All of this is done before their official bedtime. Afterward, I give them a choice. I tell them, “It’s bedtime now. Would you prefer to turn off the lights, or would you like to stay up a bit longer and read?” Unless they’re particularly tired, they’ll usually choose to read for a while. I don’t have to plead or manipulate them into reading.
They believe it’s their idea and have come to appreciate their opportunity for a ‘late’ bedtime. During this time, I don’t try to guide them or help them select books. This is their time. They can choose any book they want and peruse it in any way they like until I come in to say goodnight and turn off their lights. Of course, if they want me to stay and listen to them read, I’m more than happy to oblige. Give it a try. It’s effective.
Ensure that the rewards are highly appealing. If your kid values spending time with you more than toys, then plan a day together doing their favorite activity. If they value a specific toy, let them earn it. Or, let them earn a reprieve from their regular chores. Take them to their favorite restaurant. The key is to make it enjoyable, and they will too.
In our home, we have a rule: we don’t go to see any movie until we’ve read the book. Whether my spouse and I read the book to the kids or they read it on their own, each family member can only go see the movie after the book has been read. So, if your child is eagerly anticipating the next Chronicles of Narnia movie, the next Harry Potter movie, or the next Lemony Snicket movie, they’ll have to read the book first.
Next, allow your kid to select the book, or at the very least, the subject matter, most of the time. Children tend to be more engaged with a book they’ve chosen, particularly if it’s a topic they’re passionate about.
As long as you don’t find it inappropriate, let them indulge in their favorite topic, even if it means reading their fiftieth book on the same subject.
For instance, my children are fascinated by superheroes. As a result, our home is filled with an abundance of superhero books, and I’ve amassed a wealth of superhero trivia. However, my children relish reading these books, and I believe they must cultivate a reading habit, regardless of how it transpires.
Ensure Access to High-Quality Books
While it’s important to let children choose topics they’re interested in, you can increase the likelihood of instilling a reading habit in them from a young age by making high-quality books accessible. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to fill your home with books, although we are book lovers in our household and are guilty of doing so.
Frequent visits to the library can also be effective in making excellent books available and reinforcing the reading habit. Almost every library in the country offers a summer reading program. If your local library doesn’t have one, you can create one at home, complete with rewards for reading books.
You could use a Monopoly (or Life) board and allow your child to move one space for each book they read. Or, for a more exciting twist, let them roll the dice each time they finish a book and offer prizes for reaching certain milestones, making reading a fun activity.
How can I make Reading a Fun Activity for my Kid?
Making reading a fun activity for your kid involves creativity and engagement. Here are some strategies:
Interactive Reading: Turn reading into an interactive activity. Use different voices for different characters, or even act out scenes from the book. This can make the story come alive and be more engaging for your child.
Relate to Real Life: Try to relate the stories or information in the books to your kid’s real-life experiences. This can make reading more relevant and interesting.
Create a Reading Nook: Designate a special place in your home for reading. Make it cozy and inviting with pillows, blankets, and your child’s favorite stuffed animals. This can make reading a special time that your child looks forward to.
Use Technology: Numerous apps and e-books can make reading more interactive and fun. These can include features like read-along text and interactive animations.
Book-Based Activities: After finishing a book, do some activities related to the book. This could be drawing a scene from the book, acting out a part of the story, or even visiting a place related to the book’s theme.
Reading Rewards: Implement a reward system for reading. For example, for every book your child finishes, they get a star. After collecting a certain number of stars, they get a reward.
Naorem Mohen is full time Blogger and helps parent improve their parenting skills, resulting in better relationships with their children. He also provides guidance to individuals and couples to enhance their relationships and communication. Naorem supports people in need to help them in their personal growth, helping them set and achieve meaningful goals.