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

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

Do you have a difficult time encouraging your children to read in their free time instead of using screens? We asked current foster, kinship and adoptive parents how they motivate their children to read. Here’s the advice they shared:

“I model reading, schedule reading (stories before bed, although I’ve had other times scheduled for various reasons with different kids), library trips, summer reading program, read together and limit screens.

I love to read and I’ve found most kids after enough fun exposure will also find joy in books. Another thing is if it’s a kiddo that is in elementary school or above and struggling with literacy skills, supporting them and helping them learn to read makes it more fun.”

“Do not make screens available and model reading. I would not relate the two for them or tell them that they have to read, both of these things discourage reading. Instead just set aside a time of the day (an hour before bed maybe) and say it is relaxing time or wind down time. Get out a book, sit on the couch yourself and read, let them see this as an experience people do to relax and enjoy. Don’t tell them they have to read but they have to pick a quiet activity. Eventually, they may pick up a book too! You can also offer to read to them, even older kids like to be read to, especially if it is something hard for them to do independently. Bring them to the library so they can pick out their own books and get excited about them.”

“My 9-year-old X-box addict gets to play the same amount of time that he reads. Read an hour, play an hour.”

“Our library gives a snack for reading for 20 minutes. I send them to the library for a snack. Yeah, they could have a snack at home for reading for 20 minutes, but I like the snacks at the library. When I worked, their parents actually gave snacks to the library because they would be there but not at home.”

“Mine are only allowed one hour a day of electronics – either TV or iPad time. We own one iPad and one TV. Kids don’t have phones. It’s a non-negotiable. They are all good readers, and do read, but spend most of their time playing outside.”

“‘Book It’ program with Pizza Hut. Who doesn’t like pizza?”

“We don’t have a TV and our kids love books!!”

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