Survey

Be a Part of the Goodness 🌻

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When we think we should run from or be void of emotions and ups and downs, remember that

Jesus wept.

Jesus showed anger.

Jesus needed time alone to pray.

Jesus was deeply moved in spirit.

Hannah cried to the Lord in brokenness.

Tabitha’s friends wept for her.

Paul inwardly burned.

Thomas was uncertain and

yet, Jesus showed up.

When they reached for him, he was there.

Because even in our pain, the Lord is present.

If you’re struggling and in that place of sadness,
know that the Lord is with you in it.

Look to Jesus. He will lift you up.

There is always hope in the Lord.

Always.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you would overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance…
He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
Ecclesiastes 3


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117257642_1236308520042094_7859630749681827373_nI cringed when my friend told me the story about her trip to the store.

My friend had her two young kids with her. She was holding her son and her daughter was standing up in the cart.

The cart fell on its side, so she scooped her crying daughter up, feeling overwhelmed, when another mama strolled right by her saying coldly, “And, that’s exactly why I leave my kids at home with my husband when I come to the store.”

The thing is, my friend’s husband was on deployment, for a third time. My friend was on the brink of tears now. Maybe if that other mama knew, she might have lent a hand?

We just don’t know people’s stories. Maybe someone’s spouse is deployed, maybe she’s a widow, a single mom, or just having a bad day.

If someone is in distress, instead of calculating what they should be doing or giving advice, let’s figure out how we can jump in and help.

There’s usually more to someone’s story.

But, regardless, some days, we all just need someone to lift us up.

Let’s be that someone.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”
– Jesus


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My son and I were talking about the Pharisees in the Bible. The ones who thought they were above everyone else because of how they prayed and followed the law so closely.

He said, “I’m glad we’re not like the Pharisees.” I told him about a story Jesus shared in Luke 18.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

[Jesus said,] “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The Lord says he will lift up the humble. The one begging for mercy.

But, he will humble the who is prideful, thinking he’s above the rest. The one whose heart is not in what he’s doing, but just doing it for show and ritual.

The Lord wants our hearts, our humility, our brokenness.

He doesn’t want us pointing out how we’re better than the next person as this Pharisee did.

He doesn’t want us to be secure in our own righteousness.
He wants us to be secure in His righteousness.

I told my son that we all fall short and need Jesus. We all mess up. That Jesus said, “I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”(Luke 5:32)

Jesus wants us to see our need for him. If someone sees themselves as perfect and “righteous” they don’t see a need for Jesus.

But, the thing is, every single one of us humans falls short at times, and we all need Jesus desperately. If we don’t see our imperfections, then we miss seeing that we need the Lord.

The Lord saw the tax collector’s imperfections, but he also saw his humility, the man’s need for him, and his desperate prayer.

And Jesus said, he “went home justified before God.”

Lord, may we walk in humility and be quick to confess when we mess up.
When we are proud and arrogant, change our hearts to reflect humility.
Instead of pointing fingers, Lord, help us point our fingers at ourselves to see where we can change our own hearts, our own minds, our own souls, to be more like you. Oh, Lord, we need You. We love you. Would you fill our hearts and help us seek first your kingdom and righteous.
In Jesus’ name, amen. ❤️


I was reminded today to make sure I’m present with my kids because we never know when they’ll need to open up.

This afternoon, my kids were playing in the art room and I brought my laundry there to fold. Out of nowhere, one of them opened up, telling me something that had been so heavy on their heart and I didn’t know.

114198037_1233908403615439_8469260355940831673_nI didn’t know that there had been so much sadness about this, until it came through with tears and broken words.

We weren’t playing a game together. It wasn’t tuck-in time. I wasn’t asking questions. It wasn’t one-on-one or planned time. I was just there. Folding laundry.

We don’t have to be doing magnificent things with our kids for them to open up. We just need to be there. To be present.

Not constantly, as we all need space, but enough so our kids know that we are available and there for them. Always.

(And, please no judgement on my lack of folding skills. I’m well aware!) 😂

Homecoming Days, Choosing to Praise the Lord, & Being Present

116608322_1233102877029325_4406584621221463470_oBrooklyn’s homecoming day was yesterday! If you haven’t read my story about this, its below. If you have, you can skip to content below it if you’d like. (:

My first weeks as a mother did not go at all how I had imagined. It was the most difficult time of my life.

It started on April 1, 2011. I went into labor at 29 weeks and had an emergency C-section. Our triplets were born weighing 2.5 pounds each. I was overjoyed, but it was also really difficult seeing their tiny bodies covered in so many tubes.

On April 19th, my middle daughter, Brooklyn, three weeks old and three pounds, contracted a life-threatening infection that was quickly killing her intestine. It was tough wrapping our heads around what was happening.

She was very, very sick and the doctors didn’t know if she would make it. I remember doing what I could to breathe and take the next step. Then, the phone rang.

The doctor told us Brooklyn’s intestine had perforated and that we needed to come immediately. The infection was spreading and she needed emergency surgery to try to save her.

My husband held me up as my piercing screams echoed through the hallway. It was the weakest moment of my life.

The surgeon removed the infected segment of intestine. We hoped to hear that she was getting better. Each time we spoke with the nurses, I searched, hard, for any word of improvement – anything.

But, there were none.

The surgeon told us Brooklyn was getting sicker and that if we didn’t try something, anything, she wouldn’t make it.

The nurses gave us a moment before wheeling her into the surgery room. Brooklyn was fast asleep in her incubator. My husband and I looked into the incubator at our three-pound baby girl.

Brooklyn’s courageous eyes opened for a few seconds and met ours. It was a beautiful moment branded in my heart.

I told her, “Jesus is going to heal you, Brooklyn. You are strong and you can do this. We love you.”

They wheeled her through the double doors into surgery.

During those grueling hours in the waiting room, we poured our hearts out to the Lord for our baby girl.

After surgery, we were told we had to wait to see how she would do.

After some long days, we saw glimmers of hope. Brooklyn started showing improvement and the nurses told us, “Brooklyn is a miracle baby.”

A few weeks later, my son, Bates, got the same intestinal infection. You can imagine my mama heart in that moment. I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to do it. I needed the Lord’s help so much. Thankfully, after Bates surgery, he showed improvement quickly.

They are now thriving nine year olds and I am so grateful to the Lord. I am also so thankful for all the doctors and nurses who were heroes during that time.

Yesterday was actually Brooklyn’s homecoming day (you can see her breakfast in bed waffles in the pic.!) – we celebrate those glorious days each year when we were able to bring our babies home from the NICU. Gracie’s homecoming day was June 10th and we celebrate Bates’ homecoming day, August 25th.

However, the pain we went through during that time has not left my heart. I think of those of you with a different outcome, and I hurt for you.

I think of those experiencing difficulty as I write this sentence. I don’t know what pains your heart so deeply it physically hurts when your mind wanders there. But I know Jesus meets you there when you call out to him, in whatever way you are capable of doing.

The Lord raised Jesus out of the darkest places this world has ever seen,
and he will do the same for you.

I have never felt more pain and weakness as I did during that time. When I didn’t have strength to walk, words to speak, thoughts to think, Jesus carried me.

When I was with my daughter, speechless, the Lord sang a song of praise through me.

My first weeks of motherhood were not as I had imagined. Not even close.

But I reached through the darkness and gripped Jesus’ hand, and he brought us through it.

In whatever place you’re in, reach for Jesus.

He will carry you through it.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus (Matthew 7:7-8)

Previously published by ForEveryMom.


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When Things Don’t Line Up Perfectly, Loving from the Heart, Giving All

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My instinct is to fix it all. Can you relate?

When things aren’t right in my kids’ worlds, I want to jump in and make it right.

But over time I’ve learned that rescuing usually hurts more than it helps.

Sometimes we do need to give a hand, but many times our children are capable and we can simply guide them in their problem solving or they can problem solve themselves.

As Sissy Goff, Christian author and counselor says, “Rescuing communicates that she needs rescuing…She’s going to have a few problems along the way, and you want her to learn to think for herself and trust in her own strength when those problems arise.”

That builds confidence.

It’s okay for our kids to experience the reality of life, even though it’s tough sometimes.

We don’t always need to jump in and fix it.

Sometimes life goes great, and sometimes it doesn’t.

It’s a good thing for our kids to learn the reality that everything doesn’t always go their way while they’re under our roof.

If our kids can learn to navigate these feelings growing up, they will be more prepared for life.

If we don’t shelter our kids from problem-solving and realizing they really can do it, their worry will lessen and their confidence will grow.

They will be more prepared for the unseen, the challenges, the uncomfortable, the times when life doesn’t go great.

It’s okay for our kids to sit in the place where things don’t line up perfectly.

Let’s ask them questions about how it feels and what they can do about it.

We’ll be sparking in them a beautiful courage that will allow them to walk through life with more peace.

Or maybe there’s nothing they need to do and nothing needs to be “fixed” – they just need to vent any maybe be reminded that it will be okay and seasons don’t last forever.

At the core of all this,
among their frustrations, problems, and celebrations,
let’s share with our children that God is always there and that regardless of what happens in this world,

we can ALWAYS have hope in Jesus.

He is the constant in our lives.

The One who never changes.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


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School decisions have been weighing on my mind lately. But this morning, my kids and I read the story about missionaries, Jim & Elisabeth Elliot – how Jim became a martyr and Elisabeth stayed to minister to the very people who took her husband from her.

Reading about how they gave all to Jesus, I’m reminded to shift my focus from self to loving the Lord and others. That this world is temporary, but that the Lord is forever. Instead of allowing our feet to be cemented in place, feeling paralyzed by our situations, let’s lift our eyes to the Lord and to eternal things, letting our main purpose each day not to be consumed with ourselves, but to follow Jesus’ words: to love the Lord and love others.

Lord, help us take our eyes off selfishness, as well as analyzing and over analyzing all that comes our way. But, instead to have our hearts and minds set on your kingdom and things that last. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Psalm 119:36-37


 

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When the Israelites were in the wilderness, the back and forth, the dark place, the Lord did not leave them nor forsake them.

Deuteronomy 2:7 tells us that, “He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you.”

Darkness is as light to him and he can bring good out of your situation when you look to him.

Friends, if you’re in a tough place, a desert, He is there with you.

He’s the water of life and will overflow your heart and spirit with his strength and love.

Look to him and reach out to him.

He will lift you up.


 

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Growing Your Children’s Love for Reading and Finding Age-Appropriate Books

Some Book Suggestions by Age

Picture Books (I just picked a few per age group)

(2 – 6) Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, Silly Sally, The Circus Ship, Dr. Seuss books
(4 – 8) The Berenstain Bears, Book with No Pictures, Stone Soup, If I Built a House
(6 – 10) You are Special, My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay, The Water Princess

Chapter Books

When my kids were almost 8, they loved The Magic Tree House, Capital Mysteries, and I Survived books. My kids just turned nine and some series of books they enjoy now are The Hidden Scrolls, Puppy Place, Mysterious Benedict Society, Chronicles of Narnia, and Boxcar Children, all of which can be found at the library.

Learning to Read

If your child is beginning to learn site words and short phrases, Dr. Seuss’, My Big Book of Beginner Books About Me is a wonderful book. The words are simple and the rhyming allows the child to guess words which gives them the confidence of reading, while having fun doing it. Picture association books are also great for beginner readers and can usually be found in a particular area of the library.

Books to Read To your Kids The Boxcar Children, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Wonder are a few chapter books that we have loved. Boxcar children is for younger kids (5 and up), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for 6 or 7 year olds and up, while Wonder and the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe are for kids about 8 or 9 and up. Indescribable is a wonderful devotional to do with kids 6 – 12 or older.

1. Search online for “Award-Winning Books” or “Best books” for [your children’s age]. Then, request those books online at your library. The librarians put the books on a hold shelf for you so it’s quick and easy. When you go to the library, just pick up your books from the hold shelf and check them out. Then, create your own library shelf at home for your kids to choose a book to read. (The library also has a plethora of movies. If we’re traveling on a road trip, I request a bunch of movies and books for our trip.)

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2. Take advantage of children’s book catalogs. I use the Scholastic magazine my kids get from school to find great books. My kids circle books that look interesting to them. Then I request them at the library instead of purchasing them.

3. Find other books by the same author. If your children love a certain book, search for books by that author.

4. Search homeschool curriculums reading programs. They usually have examples of books to read based on age.

5. Suggested Books. When you search for books online that you love, there is usually a suggestions’ section for similar books. For example, if you search a book that your children enjoy on Amazon, at the bottom of the page, it usually says, “Customers who bought this book, also bought…”. Then, request those books online from the library. The library also usually has an “other suggestions” section when you search for a book online.

6. Try different books series to see what your children like. When your children read chapter books, you can check out one book from many different books’ series to see what they enjoy. If they don’t like a book from a series, return it. If they love one, jackpot – check out more! Then search online for similar book series that your kids might like.

7. Take a trip to the library with your kids! Bring your children to the library when they’re open again to choose a handful of books that interest them (bring a large bag to carry the books). When your children are beginning to read, the “I can read” section at your library has numerous books to check out based on your kids’ interests.

8. Ask a librarian. Librarians have a multitude of suggestions for your children of age appropriate books that will engage your child.

9. Tools such as Common Sense Media are helpful. As our children get older and the books are longer, it becomes difficult to keep up with which books are age appropriate and which ones aren’t. Common Sense Media is a good resource for reviews and warnings on books. You search the book on the website and they fill you in.

However, by age 6, 7, or 8, depending on the child, our goal shouldn’t necessarily be to protect them from every challenging topic, unless it’s clear that the topic is above their heads and not age appropriate. This is a great time for our children to begin applying wisdom and discernment.

Prepping our kids to tell us when subjects arise they don’t agree with, don’t understand, or make them feel uncomfortable, is a wonderful way to engage discussion and to help our children navigate the world. One day our kids will be in the real world – our job is to prepare them for it. There’s no better time to do that than when they’re in our homes.

6 Practical Ways to Instill a Love for Reading in Your Kids:

Having been an elementary and middle school teacher and being the mother of triplets, I’m passionate about instilling a love for reading in our kids. Expecting our kids to go directly from playing to sleeping could be compared to us trying to fall asleep right after exercising. Carving out time for bedtime reading calms them and helps them fall asleep more easily.

1. Create a cozy reading nook
When our children were three years old, we started creating cozy “reading nooks” in their beds. At bedtime, they chose a handful of books to look at in their nooks. I introduced the reading time by saying, “Now you’re older so you can stay up later reading in your room.”

We started off with about 15-minute reading times – the time wasn’t quite as long at this age since they weren’t actually reading, but were simply looking at books. however long they wanted to look at books. I would read a book to them and then they had their own winding down time to look at books. This time shouldn’t be forced, but enjoyable. We did our best to create a relaxing environment they looked forward to.

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2. Provide many book options

Having a plethora of book choices for our children, from picture books when they’re younger to chapter books when they’re older, is key. I often bring a huge bag to the library for books and fill it up – I have repeatedly hit my 100 maximum of check outs – they know me well! The library automatically sends notifications when books are due to renew them online.

I also let the kids request the books they want on the library website so when books are ready, we’re notified and we pick them up. They get so excited when we’re able to bring in another round of books.

If I have a late fine, it’s still cheaper than buying books. If I were to purchase the amount of library books I have on my shelf right now, it would be about $600. Instead, we spend a quarter on late fines every so often.

We have a specific shelf where we keep library books so we don’t lose them. When our children are reading a particular library book, they keep it on their nightstand. When they are finished with a book, they put it back on the shelf. When all three are finished with a book, it goes in a basket to be returned.

3. Finding books that engage your children is KEY

Whatever your children’s interests are, find a book about that topic. Involve them as much as possible with looking for books to request online so they’re more excited.

4. Take 15 minutes or more to read books TO your children.

Reading books to your kids promotes creative thinking, connection with you, and engagement in books. Read with expression and ask prediction questions throughout a book to keep their attention, such as “What do you think will happen next?” Whether you read a picture book or chapter book for 15 minutes or more, it is so beneficial. The Read Aloud Revival has a multitude of book suggestions and information on this topic.

When my triplets were babies, I started reading picture books to them. Even if your child is too young to understand the book, it is great for them to hear the rhythm of reading words.

If your children are different ages, your older children could also read to your younger children. Don’t worry about a picture book being too simple. Many times, older children enjoy the ease of picture books, and deeper themes and questions can be drawn from them.

You can read to your kids during the day instead of at bedtime if you’re too tired at night – it doesn’t have to be right before bed. They can simply have their own reading time at night before bed if that works better.

5. Make sure the books are simple enough for your children to read – the simpler, the better

Reading should build confidence, not frustration. It might take time to find that sweet spot. Once your children can read, tell them to let you know if a book is too difficult. Or you can find out for yourself by having them read to you for a few minutes. If the book is too challenging, point them to one that is more enjoyable and at their level.

6. What to do when they don’t feel like reading.

While our children love reading, there are some nights when one doesn’t feel like reading. If this happens, we read with them for a few minutes to get them into the book and then let them have their independent time. Next thing you know, they’re usually engrossed in the book. Or, we suggest reading a picture book or simpler book to take a rest from the longer chapter books.

On nights when we’re with friends or have later activities, we sometimes skip the reading. But, regardless of what’s happening, we try to at least squeeze in a short reading time to help them transition to sleep. We usually let them have one night they can choose to read, draw, or create things in their rooms during the “bedtime reading”. You have to figure out what works for your family, but the overall goal is to create a routine of reading so the habit becomes second nature.

I hope these practical tools will help build a love for reading in your children and assist you in finding great and age appropriate books. Adding bedtime reading to your children’s routine, not only offers them a tool to wind down, but also builds confidence, imagination, and a life-time love for reading.

*If this post has been helpful, please share it!*

Happy Reading!

Previously published by ForEveryMom.


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Happy Reading!

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9 Simple Ways to Find Great, Age-Appropriate Books for Your Children

1. Search online for “Award-Winning Books” or “Best books” for [your children’s age]. Then, request those books online at your library. The librarians put the books on a hold shelf for you so it’s quick and easy. When you go to the library, just pick up your books from the hold shelf and check them out. Then, create your own library shelf at home for your kids to choose a book to read. (The library also has a plethora of movies. If we’re traveling on a road trip, I request a bunch of movies and books for our trip.)

IMG_9864 2

2. Take advantage of children’s book catalogs. I use the Scholastic magazine my kids get from school to find great books. My kids circle books that look interesting to them. Then I request them at the library instead of purchasing them.

3. Find other books by the same author. If your children love a certain book, search for books by that author.

4. Search homeschool curriculums reading programs. They usually have examples of books to read based on age.

5. Suggested Books. When you search for books online that you love, there is usually a suggestions’ section for similar books. For example, if you search a book that your children enjoy on Amazon, at the bottom of the page, it usually says, “Customers who bought this book, also bought…”. Then, request those books online from the library. The library also usually has an “other suggestions” section when you search for a book online.

6. Try different books series to see what your children like. When your children read chapter books, you can check out one book from many different books’ series to see what they enjoy. If they don’t like a book from a series, return it. If they love one, jackpot – check out more! Then search online for similar book series that your kids might like.

7. Take a trip to the library with your kids! Bring your children to the library when they’re open again to choose a handful of books that interest them (bring a large bag to carry the books). When your children are beginning to read, the “I can read” section at your library has numerous books to check out based on your kids’ interests.

8. Ask a librarian. Librarians have a multitude of suggestions for your children of age appropriate books that will engage your child.

9. Tools such as Common Sense Media are helpful. As our children get older and the books are longer, it becomes difficult to keep up with which books are age appropriate and which ones aren’t. Common Sense Media is a good resource for reviews and warnings on books. You search the book on the website and they fill you in.

However, by age 6, 7, or 8, depending on the child, our goal shouldn’t necessarily be to protect them from every challenging topic, unless it’s clear that the topic is above their heads and not age appropriate. This is a great time for our children to begin applying wisdom and discernment.

Prepping our kids to tell us when subjects arise they don’t agree with, don’t understand, or make them feel uncomfortable, is a wonderful way to engage discussion and to help our children navigate the world. One day our kids will be in the real world – our job is to prepare them for it. There’s no better time to do that than when they’re in our homes.

Book Suggestions by Age

Picture Books (I just picked a few per age group)

(2 – 6) Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, Silly Sally, The Circus Ship, Dr. Seuss books
(4 – 8) The Berenstain Bears, Book with No Pictures, Stone Soup, If I Built a House
(6 – 10) You are Special, My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay, The Water Princess

Chapter Books

When my kids were almost 8, they loved The Magic Tree House, Capital Mysteries, and I Survived books. My kids just turned nine and some series of books they enjoy now are The Hidden Scrolls, Puppy Place, Mysterious Benedict Society, Chronicles of Narnia, and Boxcar Children, all of which can be found at the library.

Learning to Read

If your child is beginning to learn site words and short phrases, Dr. Seuss’, My Big Book of Beginner Books About Me is a wonderful book. The words are simple and the rhyming allows the child to guess words which gives them the confidence of reading, while having fun doing it. Picture association books are also great for beginner readers and can usually be found in a particular area of the library.

Books to Read To your Kids The Boxcar Children, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Wonder are a few chapter books that we have loved. Boxcar children is for younger kids (5 and up), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for 6 or 7 year olds and up, while Wonder and the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe are for kids about 8 or 9 and up. Indescribable is a wonderful devotional to do with kids 6 – 12 or older.

6 Practical Ways to Instill a Love for Reading in Your Kids:

Having been an elementary and middle school teacher and being the mother of triplets, I’m passionate about instilling a love for reading in our kids. Expecting our kids to go directly from playing to sleeping could be compared to us trying to fall asleep right after exercising. Carving out time for bedtime reading calms them and helps them fall asleep more easily.

1. Create a cozy reading nook
When our children were three years old, we started creating cozy “reading nooks” in their beds. At bedtime, they chose a handful of books to look at in their nooks. I introduced the reading time by saying, “Now you’re older so you can stay up later reading in your room.”

We started off with about 15-minute reading times – the time wasn’t quite as long at this age since they weren’t actually reading, but were simply looking at books. however long they wanted to look at books. I would read a book to them and then they had their own winding down time to look at books. This time shouldn’t be forced, but enjoyable. We did our best to create a relaxing environment they looked forward to.

109201866_1219040281768918_9103183700204326696_n

2. Provide many book options

Having a plethora of book choices for our children, from picture books when they’re younger to chapter books when they’re older, is key. I often bring a huge bag to the library for books and fill it up – I have repeatedly hit my 100 maximum of check outs – they know me well! The library automatically sends notifications when books are due to renew them online.

I also let the kids request the books they want on the library website so when books are ready, we’re notified and we pick them up. They get so excited when we’re able to bring in another round of books.

If I have a late fine, it’s still cheaper than buying books. If I were to purchase the amount of library books I have on my shelf right now, it would be about $600. Instead, we spend a quarter on late fines every so often.

We have a specific shelf where we keep library books so we don’t lose them. When our children are reading a particular library book, they keep it on their nightstand. When they are finished with a book, they put it back on the shelf. When all three are finished with a book, it goes in a basket to be returned.

3. Finding books that engage your children is KEY

Whatever your children’s interests are, find a book about that topic. Involve them as much as possible with looking for books to request online so they’re more excited.

4. Take 15 minutes or more to read books TO your children.

Reading books to your kids promotes creative thinking, connection with you, and engagement in books. Read with expression and ask prediction questions throughout a book to keep their attention, such as “What do you think will happen next?” Whether you read a picture book or chapter book for 15 minutes or more, it is so beneficial. The Read Aloud Revival has a multitude of book suggestions and information on this topic.

When my triplets were babies, I started reading picture books to them. Even if your child is too young to understand the book, it is great for them to hear the rhythm of reading words.

If your children are different ages, your older children could also read to your younger children. Don’t worry about a picture book being too simple. Many times, older children enjoy the ease of picture books, and deeper themes and questions can be drawn from them.

You can read to your kids during the day instead of at bedtime if you’re too tired at night – it doesn’t have to be right before bed. They can simply have their own reading time at night before bed if that works better.

5. Make sure the books are simple enough for your children to read – the simpler, the better

Reading should build confidence, not frustration. It might take time to find that sweet spot. Once your children can read, tell them to let you know if a book is too difficult. Or you can find out for yourself by having them read to you for a few minutes. If the book is too challenging, point them to one that is more enjoyable and at their level.

6. What to do when they don’t feel like reading.

While our children love reading, there are some nights when one doesn’t feel like reading. If this happens, we read with them for a few minutes to get them into the book and then let them have their independent time. Next thing you know, they’re usually engrossed in the book. Or, we suggest reading a picture book or simpler book to take a rest from the longer chapter books.

On nights when we’re with friends or have later activities, we sometimes skip the reading. But, regardless of what’s happening, we try to at least squeeze in a short reading time to help them transition to sleep. We usually let them have one night they can choose to read, draw, or create things in their rooms during the “bedtime reading”. You have to figure out what works for your family, but the overall goal is to create a routine of reading so the habit becomes second nature.

I hope these practical tools will help build a love for reading in your children and assist you in finding great and age appropriate books. Adding bedtime reading to your children’s routine, not only offers them a tool to wind down, but also builds confidence, imagination, and a life-time love for reading.

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Happy Reading!

Previously published by ForEveryMom.


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