Around the holidays, you tend to look for ways to slow down a little and spend quality time connecting with your kids. Reading with your children is a fun, easy and truly special way to accomplish this. There are so many benefits of cozying up and reading with your young ones during this joyful season. Here’s a few!

Reading with Your Kids Deepens Relationships

When you and your kids read together, you sit close to each other. Your children feel safe snuggling near you. They feel important with the focus just on them in that moment. No phone, no job, no chores are distracting you while you are reading together. It’s just 10 to 15 minutes with you and your children sharing a good story.

Reading with Your Kids Shares Your Values

Reading stories and then talking about them with your children shows them what your family values. You can discuss decisions that characters made and show what your family believes. These discussions could be about how to treat others, how to share and give or how to react when someone hurts you. You can share religious books to discuss what you believe and talk about your faith. Your kids can ask questions of you to learn what you believe and why. You can share how you would like them to behave. These are teachable moments establishing the roots that make up your family.

Reading with Your Kids Develops a Love of Reading

Improving reading skills starts with the love of reading. Children learn to love reading when they associate it with good feelings and memories. When a parent models enjoyment of reading–and I mean reading an actual book, not on a phone or computer–children emulate that. When children love to read, they naturally improve their reading skills. They talk about what they have read, they picture what is going on in a text like a mental movie, they predict what could happen next and they think about what a character might be feeling. These are critical foundations for comprehension; all just from a simple and enjoyable experience with a book.

Reading with Your Kids Slows You Down

Unfortunately, no matter what you do, the holidays are a hectic time. We want to focus on others and family, but we fill our schedules and “to-do” lists with so much that there seems to be little time to just enjoy. When you read with your child, time slows down. You relax, your child relaxes, you breathe more easily and deeply and you just get to be together. You get to read a story for pure enjoyment. This brings a calming effect to the entire season. It can truly be a “silent night” when “all is calm.”

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, make time to read great books with your children. Let them pick a few and you share some of your favorites as a child. Surprise them with a new book at the start of each week to enjoy together. Let reading become your holiday tradition.