Today, I want to share with you one of the best ways that I have found to connect with my children: through reading together.
Whether we are reading picture books, Bible stories, or chapter books, reading provides connection for my family like nothing else that I have found!
How Reading Helps Me to Connect with My Children
Reading provides physical connection. Part of connecting is being physically close. My children love to sit close by and even have "snuggle time" when I read to them.
Reading helps my children to listen to me. My children are hearing my voice as I read to them. I truly think that this helps them to listen to me when I speak to them about other things!
Reading opens up discussions. Just talking about what the characters do in a story creates some very good conversations in our family. There are also many discussions about life lessons that books can initiate.
Reading creates special play time. I honestly cannot tell you how many times there have been that my children engage in imaginative play because of books we have read (And they love it when I play along with them!) They love to pretending to be different characters! We have had adventures as the Boxcar Children, the Characters from Little House in the Big Woods, the Miller Family, and the Animals from the Burgess Books (to name a few).
WHY Connecting with Your Children Is So Important
A few years ago I read this amazing book called Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.
This book really inspired the way that I think about connecting with my children.
The main message of the book is this:
As children grow, they begin to spend more time with other children and less time with parents. This changes their natural attachment to parents and instead attaches children to peers.
(This is due to the way our society is now set up and not the natural dynamic!)
The problem with this shift in attachment causes children to become "peer-oriented," valuing the thoughts and opinions of their peers more than those of their parents.
And this begins young (think preschool and kindergarten), but really manifests in the teen years.
The authors (A Ph.D. in child development and an M.D.) see this trend in our society as problematic. And I completely agree!
I want my children to remain attached to me and not transfer that attachment to peers because I believe that an attachment to parents is truly what's best for children.
So I encourage you to find ways to connect with your children. Reading helps me to connect with my children, but you may find something else that works better for your family. 🙂
I would love to hear from you!
Does your family enjoy reading together, too? What ways have you found to connect with your children?