Asked & Answered: Reading and Screen Time (Part One)

All responses taken from our Facebook groups: Foster Parenting Toolbox and Kinship Parenting Group.

Reading is one of the best ways for a child to develop their vocabulary and imagination, but many parents struggle to motivate their children to read instead of watch TV, play video games or scroll through social media. We asked current foster, kinship and adoptive parents how they encourage their children to read regularly. Here’s what they said:

“Don’t have TV or screens available except at certain times.”

“Have time limits for everything. Have rules that they have to read, do chores and take care of hygiene first before they get screens.”

“Time chart with reward. Create stories to incorporate writing. Read a short story and draw a picture about it. Muted TV with closed captions.”

“Read with them! Some kids like taking turns reading, some like being read to and I have a kiddo who likes to listen to the story and then ‘read’ it back to me. (She’s 5, almost 6. Not quite a fluent reader but enjoys following along and then tells me the story by following the pictures.) It helps build up that recollection skill and memory. Let them pick what they read, whether you frequent a library or go to the bookstore.

Side note: if you have kiddos ages birth-5, you can sign them up for the imagination library program and they’ll get a new book in the mail each month until their 5th birthday! We built a unique, little library thanks to that program!”

“I make sure they know when I am reading – I read ebooks on my phone, so I have to be more intentional. I’ll tell them about what I’m reading and ask them about their books.

I take them to the library at least every other week and let each kid get about 10 books (this varies, as my teens won’t get as many as my picture book readers). We do craft projects that relate to what they’re reading.

I never ever use books as punishment or frame it as such.”

Keep an eye out for part two of Reading and Screen Time.

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