How To Read With Your Kids When You’re Not Around

Many of our first memories of books and reading go back to our parents. Many children read bedtime stories with mom or dad just before drifting off to sleep. Research has shown that reading with children or reading to children is integral in building a relationship with books, as well as the act of reading itself. Reading with your child is a heartwarming activity that can build memories and moments that you will cherish forever.

So what are you to do when you are not at home to read with them? If you are a parent with an occupation that requires that you travel often or if you happen to work nights, it may be difficult to keep up with this tradition but it is still important that you make time to read with your child. Sure, kids can read with others and will learn to read on their own, but studies have shown that the special relationship between kids and parents in regards to the act of reading itself is important. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do in order to make sure that you never miss a bedtime story.

Reading Books via Video Chat

1. Call them. The simplest thing you can do is to call your child around the time that they’re going to sleep and read to them over the phone. Not only is this something that you would normally do anyway, but by reading a story during your phone call, you can make your conversations even more special. Even though you would call them to say good night and to ask them about their day regardless, adding the story to your conversation will build even more memories even if you are not physically present.

2. Video chat with them. Thanks to smart phones, tablets, and laptops many parents can use video chatting or web chatting to see their child face-to-face as they talk, share thoughts about their day, and provide them with the opportunity to share a book visually as well as audibly. This way, your child can see your face and interact with you as closely as if you were right there with them. Alternatively, your child can read a book to you as well! No matter who’s reading, it’s the interaction that really counts.

3. Tape a video or a CD. Sometimes, time differences can make video chatting or calling in real-time difficult. This may be an issue for parents who are in the military or work overseas for other reasons. Taking the time to tape yourself reading a book can allow your child to access the story and your voice whenever they like. Even though you may not physically be interacting with them at the time that they are listening to or watching your recording, this gesture can still hold a lot of meaning for both you and your child. This means that your child can listen to or watch a recording whenever they want to read the story, and especially whenever they miss you, which can help with the distance a great deal. If you want to make sure that your child has watched or listened, make sure to ask them questions about the recording as well as the story when you get the chance to call or correspond with them. By doing this, you can incentivize them to read and make sure that they are getting that quality time with you while also building their reading and listening skills.

4. Write a book together! Get out the crayons and construction paper, it’s time to write your own story. Just as having recordings available provide you with some cherished keepsakes for the rest of your lives, making a book together can help you make memories more concrete. Sit down with your child and write! Come up with a creative story, each of you writing and illustrating your very own copies. This way, you can keep your books on you wherever you are and your child will never feel alone.