Cultivating the habit of reading in your child!
How do I develop reading habits in my Child, was the cry of one mother in my coaching session last week? I have heard this cry from hundreds of parents.
How do I get them interested in reading?
What do I do to make reading fun for them?
One mum's plight “I want this for my child”
Plant the seed of reading, water, fertilize, nurture… repeat this multiple times, until the child inculcates the reading habit.
We need to provide the children access to books in unlimited ways, take them to the library, and let them feel touch, smell, and play with the book. Take them to book shops and let them browse through the shelves of books. One handicap with today’s virtual reading format — is this feel touch, is minimized.
I would still encourage parents to go out of the way to take kids to places where there are books. Places such as book fares, exhibitions etc. Have books scattered everywhere in the home, their rooms, your rooms, and lounge areas, do not just park books on the bookshelves.
Prashana our daughter, when she was a toddler, was taken to the library once a week, where she would basically ravel, play, and have a fun time with books. She would scale up her interactive skills. She was such a fun-filled child around books, that when it came to Library week she was nominated as “Child for the week, at that library. Build this up with the child when they receive any form of recognition, relating them back to books. Boost this recognition, and create that buzz within the child. That automatically triggers the internally chemically within the child and over time this stimulus is something that the child would crave. Why? Because she is anchored to that does of dopamine.
Parents, recall how you get the child to eat certain types of food that the child does not like to eat. What do you do? You will try every trick you know to make the child eat. Right? The same applies here to reading a book. I have seen parents walking the corridors, play areas etc coaxing (pointing to birds, making funny faces, playing with the child etc) the child to eat. Why don’t we do that to encourage the child to read?
Kids love new things; fresh exciting things so make sure the menu on books is also what the child loves and is excited to want to get to, Not what you want them to read. At this stage please do not enforce your favourite topics on them. Do not enforce your reading interest on them.
Pay attention to what is going on in your child’s life and add in new books that might help them tackle that aspect of their life whether it is a challenge or empowerment…
When children see themselves in the stories a special type of magic happens with them, and you have just opened the lotus to bloom.
Like the food you will always cook meals around what the child eats, otherwise, it will be a nightmare at the dinner table. It’s no different with books. Therefore, get them books about their hobbies and whatever really interests them.
Does your child love unicorns?
Do you have a sports fanatic on your hands?
Is your little one obsessed with facts?
Does your child love unfortunate events — and happenings?
Our little once’s Lemoney Snicket (series of unfortunate events ) was not released in Australia back then. On one of our holiday trips to Malaysia to visit their granddad, we went shopping and found the whole series of that particular edition of books. Guess what was in their luggage back home. Those series were with them for that whole year. Everywhere they went they had those books with them. They would have read it 100 times. The same thing happened when the Harry Potter series was released, they bought them and did the same with those books. Create that exciting buzz in them and see where it leads them.
The unsaid secret during festive seasons, birthdays, recognition and performance achievement one of their gifts in addition to other presents was always booked. You could say books were coming out of their eyeballs. Liberally gift kids’ books. Basically, make creating an interest in books, an obsession.
Spend time reading with them, particularly when they are going to sleep. It’s amazing how much this habit of 15 mins story reading time can help put the child to sleep more important it creates a powerful habit for them in time to evolve into practising their “ME TIME” as they go to sleep. You are building one habit on top of another.
Let them see you read to them preferably at a set time as part of their bedtime reading. Read out loud to them. Do not worry if they are not lying or sitting still and if they are not engaged in the story. Information and practice are going into them subconsciously.
Talk to them, relate to the stories and share experiences, and create the pictures in their mind. Help stretch the visual traits through this exercise. This triggering of another sense helps further boost their inner chemicals hence reemphasising and anchoring this habit.
As much as possible keep reading in the forefront for the child. Ask questions about what you are reading while you are reading. Make connections to books after you put those books down.
Engage with them. Start a dialogue. Talk about what you see on the pages.
While you are doing all this it is vital that you are reading too. It is imperative they model you on this aspect of habit building. This reinforces to them the value and benefit of reading.
Practise this and check the difference in your kid's wellbeing!