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

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

Reading is a great hobby to help children develop literacy, vocabulary and imagination. We asked current foster, kinship and adoptive parents how they encourage their children to read in their free time instead of using screens. Here’s what they shared:

“Find books they actually enjoy. Also, try audiobooks!”

“I always encourage quiet time in the afternoon and before bed, and audiobooks are great too.”

“My kids both have a reading spot (that they made up) that has a crate of books they want to read. They have an hour each day of quiet time with them and their books. We go to the library often. I think it’s also important to find things they are interested in and pick them out together. Example, my kids are obsessed with sharks right now. What can we find at the library that involves sharks?”

“Put them to bed early and allow them to read until they’re tired. It works for us! Unfortunately, my daughter pushes 10:30 p.m. [or 11!] most nights because of it. But she’s a great reader and a great speller too! One leads to the other.”

“Take the screens away. Started reading them bedtime stories and get them interested in books. Comic books are a good start to have them read on their own because they have pictures and it isn’t a full page of words which overwhelmed my niece. She hated reading, but now she wants to read every night before bed.”

“Start out reading EVERY night as infants, making it a positive experience. Let them choose their books at bedtime, sometimes allowing an extra book for you to read to them. Allow them to choose new books from the library or bookstore, gradually moving on to reading a few pages from any volume of an Encyclopedia! They loved trivia facts from the encyclopedia because it’s FUN and not the tablet! Reading is fun if you make it a positive routine!”

“Schedule. Didn’t give them a choice. During the school year, bedtime was 9:30 p.m. 8:30-9 get ready for bed, and 9-9:30 read. She read in the living room out loud. Whatever book she wanted, but she was going to read. If she fought me or my husband on it, she owed us time the next day. She didn’t like it at first, but now that she can read a lot better, she doesn’t mind it. We go to the library together now, and she picks out books she likes now. It just took consistency and structure.”

“I take the kids to the library. They actually enjoy reading.”

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