How to Connect with Children by Reading Mindlessly
Ever picked up a book and just read it to your child without having a clue what you’ve just said because you’ve got so much else on your mind and you were distracted?
Reading together is a wonderful way to spend time together and to connect as a parent whatever the child’s age. Yet not always easy to do when we are busy running around, shuttling school runs, working, shopping, cleaning etc.
Below I share a simple way we can connect to ourselves, slow down and become more present to ourselves before reading.
Disconnect to Reconnect – Connection to Self
A simple breathing exercise to help you centre in less than 2 minutes. First, switch off your phone, TV and other distractions and park the housework.
Sit up straight or even better stand – take 3 nice deep belly breaths – put your hands on your belly to feel them – they will be a continuous in and out. Notice now how you feel and what state this has created in you, if you need more then there is no rule! Model what you are doing to your family, it’s up to them if they want to join in you are just sharing a relaxation technique with them.
Hopefully you feel calmer, more present, grounded and connected to yourself, and in this state you are in a great space to connect with your child – so how about now reading a book together?
Again choose a quiet place to do this with no distractions for either of you. Use a steady, understandable pace where you notice each word and are aware of the whole experience and being with them. If they are reading too, listen and notice the spoken words, their voice, the spaces between the words, the pauses, be present with your child.
As a teacher I so often speak to parents about teaching children to read. Reading is expressive, fun, playful and connecting, if your child doesn’t know the words they don’t need to struggle, it needn’t be a chore. Read it with them, enjoy the story together. They are far more likely to want to read with you if they aren’t feeling stressed or pressured to do so and it’s a playful and enjoyable time. Let them work out the unfamiliar words, help them to relax no need to pounce impatiently. If every word is a struggle then read it together first of all and choose an easier book!
See how they respond to this experience, notice the effect it has on them.
If you are reading with a fluent independent reader, it’s still great for them to share what they are reading, or you can simply just read alongside them with your own book and enjoy this reading time together.
Make it even more playful!
To make this a really playful experience with younger children, why not read the book back to front, upside down, and find other playful ways to connect when you are in this space together. Enjoy reading together, make it fun.