The Magic of Reading Aloud
You know those moments when your child is grouchy, whiny, or lashing out? Well, there is an (almost) instant cure that will soothe the most troubled little heart or weary body.
At the heart of this idea is connection, and that’s what children (and any human) need most when they are having a hard time. They need to get physically close to their parents and find reprieve. And what better way to do that than read together! You get a story, a blanket, sit in a cozy spot, and voila! Things are looking up already.
When I see a downward spiral in my home, I announce, “Everyone get a story and meet me on the couch!” Sometimes there is resistance, actually, the more they resist, the more I know they need it.
I particularly like to read chapter books aloud to my kids because the stories are more engaging and then we can really transport ourselves to somewhere far from our troubles (while also exploring more challenging vocabulary too!) However, I do let my kids pick out their own stories, because it’s nice for them to have a sense of control (especially when they are upset) and define their own interests as well.
It is truly amazing how their moods can shift after reading together for just 10 minutes. Once we get that connection back, it’s easier to find out why they were feeling grouchy in the first place, and then we can usually smooth everything over.
Even if your children are older, don’t stop reading to them! Reading together is a great way to connect with older kids. Read aloud what they are interested in and just WATCH as it builds empathy, connection, comprehension, and fosters a life long love of reading –but maybe don’t tell them that 🙂
My mom has read aloud to me my whole life and I’ve never stopped loving it! Some of my favourite memories with my husband (before we had kids) are him reading to me in the evenings. It was the best.
Even if you only have time for one chapter or one story, it WILL make a difference. And you can pat yourself on the back knowing it is building a rock solid foundation not just for literacy, but for connection too.