Do y’all have any idea what time it is as I write this? It’s super early…or super late, I suppose, depending on if you’re a night person or a morning person. I’ve been asleep for a while but I just woke up because my brain thought now would be a good time to worry about stuff.
I worry that the families that I take meals to at church after they have a baby won’t like what I make. I worry that my kids will learn bad words from the kids we have stay with us. I worry that the ladybugs who have decided to make our light fixtures their home this spring will never leave. I worry that the world will soon plunge into WW3.
You know, little stuff like that.
However, one thing I am not worrying about is the fact that I did not read aloud to my kids today.
I don’t worry if I miss some days reading to my kids
This may surprise you since I write here constantly about reading to my kids. I do think that reading to your kids is one of the best ways to bond with them. It can be a wonderful way to learn about your kids and share your values with them.
Also, research shows that reading out loud is LITERALLY THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR THEM. Don’t cite me on that fact, I’m just quoting a pamphlet they gave me at the library. This same pamphlet said if you don’t read 1,000 books to your child before kindergarten they will live in your basement forever, or something like that. I don’t think it was a super scholarly article, but it made me feel motivated to read aloud.
Yet even with all of this information telling me I should be reading and my passion for reading, I don’t worry one bit when I don’t read to them on a day. I don’t even worry when I don’t read to them for days or weeks in a row.
Do you want to know why? I want to read to them, but life is not always exactly how I would like it to be. Sometimes crap rains down on us (figuratively and literally) and when those days come I don’t read to my kids.
I want to do things that nourish my kids’ souls. I want to do things that make them sure of my unconditional love. I want to do things that make it impossible for them to forget that I think they are strong and capable.
Frequently, spending time with my kids and our current read aloud book can do those things that I want to do. But sometimes we get busy, or tired, or hormonal, or really bad things happen to people we love, and I’m just not up to it.
Some days, you may not be up to reading, either. That’s ok. Let’s not worry about it. We’ll just find other ways to nourish our children.
Here are 10 things you could do when you can’t read aloud to your kids:
- Make cookies together. Give them little bits of brown sugar to eat and beam at them like they’re the best bakers in the world.
- Lay out towels as yoga mats and do a yoga flow together. Plan on no one liking their towel color. Smile at them when they want to share yours and let them.
- Sing children’s songs in an opera voice. Act out a dramatic, operatic death scene while singing. My kids are obsessed with death scenes.
- Break out the nice coloring book you’ve been saving. While they color go around the table and bury your head in their hair and smell them until they say, “Mom…Mom…MOM!”
- Chase your kids while making fish lips and yelling, “THE KISSY FISH IS COMING!”
- Lie on your back on the floor with your eyes closed. As they trickle over to you and rest their little heads on you, tell them how happy you are that they are there. Say, “Thank you,” and mean it when they say you are so squishy and comfortable to rest on.
- Give everyone flashlights and shine them under all of the furniture together. Be happy that your kids are so blessed they didn’t even miss the toys under the couch.
- Put out all of your brushes and combs and giant hair clips and tell them to play hairdresser. Lay down on the couch with your head where they can reach it and occasionally ask them what color they are dying it. Do not fall asleep, lest they pull over a stool to climb up and get the scissors and take the hairdresser play time to the next level.
- Teach your children how to make microwave popcorn. Eat microwave popcorn. Delegate that task to them from now on.
- Use towels to wrap them up tight and call them “eggrolls.” Have eggroll races into your arms. Catch them as they waddle across the floor.
None of these activities are literary. They do not involve increasing vocabulary or marking the next box off of the summer reading chart. But I’m telling you, as a mama who is crazy about reading, that it’s fine. Really. Y’all are going to be fine if you don’t read today.
So, fellow mom, if you’re up late reading this site because you have been worried about how much more you should be reading to your kids, go to bed.
Don’t worry if you didn’t read aloud to your children today. If you want something to worry about, I can share some of my list.
We’ll read aloud to them again, and it will be wonderful. Hopefully tomorrow, but if it doesn’t happen then, that’s ok, too. There are other ways to let our kids know they are loved and strong.
Reading is a wonderful gift you can give your child, but it isn’t worth losing sleep over.