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

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

Children who read at home often develop better vocabularies and literacy than those who don’t. We asked current foster, kinship and adoptive parents for their best tips to support reading as a hobby. Here’s what they told us:

“We buy books any time they want. They make wish lists on Amazon for books and we buy them often. Every book sale and book fair at school we buy a lot. We also do frequent library trips. Whenever we go somewhere, they cannot bring technology, but they can bring books. We have a lot of therapy and doctor’s appointments so they are constantly reading in public rather than on tablets. We model reading in waiting rooms. I never use my phone in public either unless it’s a phone call. We want them to associate boredom with grabbing a book, not turning to technology.”

“I always give reading time in bed before lights out. They can choose a bunch of books and look at pictures, or continue reading one they like. It seems like a treat that they get to stay up later reading, so they enjoy it. I also read to them before bed, and I play audiobooks in the car. Then they can enjoy the series and want to look at the books they’ve heard as an audiobook for the pictures.”

“We have ‘no WiFi’ days three times a week. They protested the first day, but now they are used to it.”

“Mine have to read first and then later that day they can watch. Also, it’s the first part of any restriction to lose the TV for a day. Honestly, and oddly enough, we started listening to books on audible. It made my youngest want to read more and, somehow, helped improve his reading skills. His diction, flow and cadence vastly improved. I was both shocked and pleased.”

“We only allow TV and ipads after everyone is bathed, teeth brushed at the end of the day for about an hour. We have our “lazy days” where we relent and allow them to splurge on crappy youtube shows so we can relax and not have to actively entertain and engage, but for the most part, the fact that this is a solid rule has them looking for other things to do. We went from being almost totally screened out during covid to this, cold turkey. The change was not easy for anyone, but so worth it in the long run.”

“TV and screens aren’t available. If you don’t have them, they can’t watch them.”

“Earn screen time by reading or doing outdoor physical activity. One minute of physical activity or reading equals one minute of screen time.”

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