How to find little pockets of time to fill with family reading

Published on: 21 September 2017

Having two young daughters and a busy life, mum Claire knows all too well that it can difficult to find the time to read together. However, over the years, she's developed some easy peasy ways to squeeze in fun story times – even on the go...

I’m a strong believer in the importance of taking time to read with children. Some say the most beneficial thing you can do to help your child’s education is read to them regularly. Through reading books to them from an early age they learn basic literacy skills, are exposed to a wide range of words and ideas, they learn listening and concentration skills and they can develop a lifelong love of reading.

Bedtime stories can help to relax your child and reading to them is a lovely bonding experience at any time of day.

How to fit reading into the day

But I know how hard it can be to fit reading into a busy family life. I’m a mum to two young girls (15 months and four years), I work outside the home three days a week, and I choose to write a blog in my spare time.

However, I started reading to both my girls when they were babies.

Here is how we fit reading in, plus some ideas to help you do the same:

  • I make books accessible to my children. We have lots of board books, bath books, fabric books and picture books. We have bookshelves in both their bedrooms and in our living room. You’ll also no doubt find books on the kitchen table and in our bedroom too. This allows the girls to pick up a book to read, whenever they want – or for us parents to pick one up when we have a little bit of time to read with them.

  • We always make time for a bedtime story. Some nights, my eldest will have up to three books, but even when time is short, we make sure we read one or two short stories to her. My toddler either sits in on her big sister's story or has one of her own. Reading with my daughters is my favourite part of their bedtime routine and I know that they enjoy it, too.

  • We take books on the school run, on the days we go by car. This allows us to read a story in the car and use the time between getting there (nice and early to get a parking spot) and school starting.

  • Look for gaps in your daily or weekly routine that you could use to share a book with your child. Snuggled on the sofa with a snack after school? After breakfast on a lazy Sunday morning? The gaps don’t need to be big; even five spare minutes is an opportunity.

  • Take a trip to the library. Our local library is fantastic for children. Just a short 15-minute visit whilst you are in town doing the shopping can include reading a story and picking some more books to take home and enjoy. Using the library means you can change the books you read based on your child’s current interests. If they choose books themselves or you choose ones that match their current interests, they will enjoy reading more.

  • Make reading fun. Put on voices for different characters, read books based on your child’s interests, make story sacks & read books with flaps or sound books. If your child enjoys reading, they’ll ask to read more often.

I hope – like me – you manage to find some little pockets of time that you can fill with reading!

Time to Read

Time sharing stories is time well spent. We want parents and carers to keep reading to their child, even once they've reached primary school or started to read on their own.

If you read books together, it's a great way to bond, talk about the day, and have a lot of fun!

Find out more