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Maurice Sendak, the children’s book author most famous for authoring ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ passed away recently at the age of 84. While my main roles in life are as wife and mother, pediatrician, and community health educator, I am also an author.  If you have ever been to my office you can see that reading to children is high on my priority list.  This month’s blog post is about the healthy habit of reading to your kids.

I have valued children’s books for a long time, ever since I shared so many of them with my own children. Reading to them was a nightly tradition in our house, and many wonderful memories in our family revolve around reading certain books together. In fact, I even have my audience of first time expectant parents who come to the class “Getting Ready for Baby” join me as we read a story to their unborn child! Do you have a reading routine with your children? Are you instilling in them the invaluable habit of reading? If not, this is a great month to start. If you are, take this post as inspiration to beef up your kids’ reading routine with these tips:

1. Read away from the computer

OK, coming from a blog post, this advice may seem a bit hypocritical. But for kids, time spent learning through reading away from the computer – not to mention away from Kindles and iPads – is essential. Encourage them to read the real thing! Take them to book stores, the library, a friend’s house, and give them a physical book to hold, feel, to smell to fall in love with.

2. Read together

This one’s pretty straightforward. Whether you both read the same book simultaneously and then chat about what happened in each chapter, or if you sit down together before bedtime and read aloud to each other, this experience is an essentially valuable way to bond with your kids.

3. Talk about what you read

What book is your child reading in English class? What do they like about it? How about for pleasure? What happened in the latest chapter? Start a dialogue about reading and increase your kid’s brain power.

4. Read outside of your comfort zone

Try a new genre! Try a new author! There are myriad books being written on and offline these days, and changing up how, when, and what your read can keep things interesting and keep your child engaged.

5. Read for pleasure

This is supposed to be fun! Take the time to find an author or series your child truly, truly enjoys.  Give books as gifts is even better, start your manuscript and plant the seed of becoming a published author.

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Reading this May!

Dr. de Freitas

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