I love noticing what gives rhythm to our days, not so much a rigid routine, but rhythms that ground both my kids and me. Much like we can trust that the tide will rise and fall, that the sun will set and rise, and that the moon will come out each evening to lighten the sky, rhythms are grounding.
Around our homes and daily lives we have rhythms too, rhythms that ground and connect us to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us. Rhythms are something that we can count on and trust, and rhythms hold us up and can help us breathe when other things might feel like they are falling apart. Rhythms can be as simple and mundane as saying good morning, making your bed, brushing your teeth, and nourishing your body, yet they are significant.
Reading can be one of those rhythms for both adults and kids alike.
I especially like to think about the daily rhythm of reading to children in the evening. Often, as parents, we are so tired, and sometimes it’s like there’s not much to give. However, even reading one short book can be a life-giving daily rhythm for a child.
Sitting down to read together may not be the most efficient path to bedtime, but it is good. We slow down, we set aside our work, we lay down our phones, and we give our child the gift of connection and presence.
Other gifts we give through reading:
- We give our children the gift of stories, of dreaming and imagination, of opening up possibilities, and of problem-solving.
- We give our children the gift of literacy, of seeing and hearing how letters connect to make words, and how words help us grow and develop as people.
- Perhaps we give our kids the gift of warm touch and affection if there is a special reading chair or a place you snuggle up together to read.
- Often, we give our kids the gift of choice if they are given the opportunity to choose the books that they want to read that night.
- We develop empathy in our kids as they learn of characters and what they are experiencing, which strengthens their ability to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Reading each evening does not have to be Pinterest worthy. It can be simple. It can be short. We keep board books and shorter books well past our kids’ chronological age as sometimes that’s all that there is the bandwidth for. Audio books are an option if as a parent you are especially exhausted or if you all simply enjoy listening together to get lost in a story.