It’s not always easy to squeeze in those extra few minutes into your schedule no matter how much you want to. To ensure that you have time at the end of each night to read bedtime stories to your child, you may need to put some measures in place.
* Make it a priority. It’s not enough if you think it–do whatever it takes to make it work. Put it down on your schedule. Set a cell phone reminder to go off 5 minutes before your child’s bedtime. Let your spouse, boss and others know that you won’t be available during that time. Put ‘Reading to my son’ in your status message if you have to.
* Set realistic expectations. Experts may recommend reading for 20 minutes each night. Your child may demand 45. Figure out how much time you can actually spare and what is right for you and your child.
* Delegate. Don’t let household tasks such as doing dishes, picking up toys and paying bills prevent you from keeping your reading date with your child. Share responsibilities with your spouse, older children and other family members so that it frees up a few minutes for you to read.
* Trade off. If it’s next to impossible to find those 20-30 minutes of time to read to your child, stop and take a look at your daily schedule. Make adjustments to other activities as needed. You may need to swap carpool or other duties with your spouse or another parent, leave work a little early, wake up 30 minutes earlier or stay up a few minutes late to make up.
* Maximize reading time. Given that finding the time to read bedtime stories to children is a challenge in itself for many of us, we should be making every minute count. Store books near the child’s bed or somewhere in her room where it’s super-easy to reach them. Decide what you and your child are going to read this week or month ahead of time so you don’t spend any more time than you have to each night pondering over titles and staring at the book shelf.
It may seem like a small thing, but the few minutes you spend reading to your child at bedtime often pave the way for a restful 8 hours that follow and have the potential to inspire a lifelong love of reading ahead.