Hey y’all! How is your summer going? Can you believe it’s almost over? I’m learning as my son gets older to be more intentional about our summer break because it flies by in a flash! Now that we have just about 3 more weeks before school starts, I really want to make the most of this time. I thought I would share today what we’ve been doing thus far and what our plans are for the remainder of this precious time! I would love to hear what you all have been up to and what new things your family has had success with, so please go leave me a comment!
Something I’ve been doing more of this summer is listening to podcasts, and I’ve found a few favorites! Jami Belmet of The Homemaking Foundation and Allie Casazza of The Purpose Show are my go-to gals for advice and encouragement. I’ve pulled advice from both of these ladies to compile with my own ideas for summer fun to share with you guys! Both of these ladies share the same love of books that I do and promote a love of reading in their children. So that brings me to Summer Fun Idea number one!
Read, READ, READ! What better way to spend down time than reading! Its hot in Texas and we all know how quickly boredom can set in! It’s never too early to cultivate a love of books. I remember when I first began reading aloud to Chisum. He was practically a newborn! I would read either paperback or on my phone depending on the time of day or night, mostly to help me stay awake when nursing or rocking him! Wade was also reading bath books to him from the very beginning (and he is not the most avid of readers)! Later when he was rolling over and learning to crawl, I would put brightly colored books or pop-ups on the floor in front of him to encourage him to check it out! Here are some ways you can introduce healthy reading plans in your home:
- Book Basket. Something Jami does is a “book basket” for each member in her family, see episode #126. I think there are a lot of ways you could do this: books by theme, color, age, etc.. If this idea appeals to you, have fun with it! Let your kids help choose what goes into the baskets, even yours! Change it out weekly, especially if you see them getting bored.
- Make time. Choose the time of day to focus on reading, and do so as a family. Whether it’s bedtime, first thing in the morning or mid-afternoon, schedule this time and make it part of your routine. Then, decide if you want to read aloud or silently, or a combination of both. I know this can be difficult for busy families, as it is for me, because there is always more to be done. The idea of just one hour of peace and quiet to me is very enticing! There are so many things I could accomplish while Chisum is spending his reading time, like folding the laundry, loading the dishwasher, or having a nice foot spa (okay, okay, I guess I could do that while sitting down with a book)! But if there’s one thing being a parent has taught me, it is this: lead by example. Besides, I love reading! Normally, I would only get the chance when everyone else has already gone to bed! Which is not good for my sleep pattern, because it’s so easy to get lost in a good book and lose all sense of time! So, carve out a time and set the timer! Even if it’s just squeezing in ten minutes a day. Every minute counts. Statistics show that ten minutes a day can drastically improve your child’s language development.
- Tech time. Decide if you’re going to include e-books. In this crazy world of technology, it’s hard to decide just how much tech time to allow. This will likely vary by age and stage. For Chisum, who is three, I prefer the good old fashioned hardbacks. For myself, I love reading on my Iphone, but this doesn’t seem very fair to him! He has a Kindle he could read on, but without full-time supervision, he would very likely get distracted by games or other fun apps. So for us, we’ve established a reading time and a tech time, at two separate times of the day.
- Get a library card. It’s free! Libraries across the United States have a summer reading program! This summer it was Libraries Rock! Depending on your child’s age, they will have to read so many books and attend so many free, fun activities for a special reward. For example, at 3, Chisum had to read 10 books and be present for 4 activities to get a free ticket to the zoo! They give you a log to keep track of your progress and you can add the books you read at home!
- If you choose to do bedtime reading, let them stay up as long as they want, as long as they’re reading! We all hear the pleading “Just five more minutes, please mom?”. So say yes, within reason of course! Let them stay up 5, 10, or 30 minutes more as long as they’re actively reading.
- Take turns reading aloud. My son typically gets stuck on one book until he wears it out! So we usually give him the choice: read 3 books tonight, or this 1 book 3 times. He loves to have me read it once, then daddy, then we make him read it back to us. Although he can’t actually read yet, this is a great time to work on memory! And you’ll be surprised by how much they recall and how animated they get in story-mode!
Here are some of our favorite new books:
Both of these are interactive books, asking your kids to participate in the actions!
In just a few weeks, we are taking a week off for a “staycation”! Due to some unexpected expenses, a big vacation away from home just isn’t in the budget. Instead, we plan to have a week of family time close to home! I am so looking forward to finding free, cheap, creative activities to do around the house, and still getting to crawl into my own bed at night! Stay tuned for our upcoming post Vacation, Restyled!