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7 Ways to Sneak in More Story Time with Your Kids

A man with a little girl on his lap looking at a book.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Finding time daily to read aloud to your kids can be a challenge—especially for working parents. Here’s how you can sneak in a quick story here and there, even amidst the chaos of your busy life.

Don’t stress about making story time a long, drawn-out event. Kids don’t need hours of reading to get excited about books. You can use different formats, like audio- and ebooks, or even a recorded track of your own voice, to sprinkle in stories throughout the day,

Most parents read stories to their kids at bedtime, which is a soothing component of a child’s nighttime routine (definitely keep it up!). These seven tips can help you add even more reading time.

Reading is all about exploring new worlds; it doesn’t matter when it happens, as long as it happens.

In the Bath

Incorporating books into bath time might seem like a bad idea, what with all the water. However, it’s a great way to read whatever you want, while your kiddos are occupied with their bath toys. Just make sure you sit up high to protect your books.

Encourage your kids to keep playing but glance up at the pictures from time to time. Stories are about exposure to language; they don’t always have to stare at pictures to know what’s happening.

You can also get some bath books your kids can submerge without ruining.

In the Car

Obviously, you can’t read while you drive. If you’re a passenger, though, go for it! Or, put on an audiobook for everyone to enjoy. Another idea is to record yourself reading books to your children, and then play them in the car.

This is also a great opportunity for your kids to practice reading aloud to one another or to expose them to more challenging books. Since you’re all in the car, you’ll have more time to listen and talk about what you hear.

During Mealtime

It’s nice to discuss everyone’s day during mealtime. However, a story is also a great way to bond. You can rotate who picks the story and keep it under five minutes.

You can also make it a special ending to the meal, like story and dessert: enjoy a fun tale and something sweet.

While You Wait

There are plenty of situations in life where we waste time waiting: at the doctor’s office, in line at the supermarket, or during one of your kid’s extracurricular activities.

Try to carry a few small books with you or download some ebooks. You’ll be surprised how quickly the time flies when you’re all engrossed in an entertaining story.

While You Nurse

It’s never too early to expose your baby to books. You can settle her on a nursing pillow, and read books aloud. When they’re that young, it’s not so much about the pictures, but more about the rhythm and sound of your voice.

If you have older children, you can read to them, too, while you nurse your little one.

During Potty Time

If you’re potty training your child, there’s bound to be lots of sitting around, waiting for something to happen. You can use those opportunities to tear through some books.

If your kids are too old for you to read to them while they’re in the bathroom, you can still encourage them to take a book with them. And try to give them real books, rather than a phone, as the games and apps will likely distract them.

While Brushing Teeth

If your kids rush through brushing their teeth, try reading to them during that time. Tell them they have to keep brushing during the entire story.

You can also have them take a turn and read to you while you brush. If they can’t read yet, ask them to describe what’s happening in the pictures.

No matter how busy life gets, there are always opportunities to slip in a quick story. Focus on the little moments, rather than saving it all up for a dedicated story time. Keep a few books with you and some ebooks on your phone.

You’ll be surprised how many books you can squeeze in when you grab every opportunity.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »
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