With schools officially closed in Massachusetts, parents & teachers are thinking about the best ways to use the time that would have been in schools to support kids.
At TLA, we want to encourage you with this simple message. Less is more.
A few focused times throughout the day with your children means more for their emotional (and academic) selves than jamming their schedules full of worksheets and mindless activities to "fill the time".
We can't think of anything more appropriate than time spent together with a shared book. So we wanted to share with you a simple three step process to make the most of that time together. If you want to know what this looks like in action, we've got another short video explaining similar tips here.
- Remember that this is not a performance. Your kids don't want a broadway production, they want you and your attention. Snuggling up together alone is going to raise their endorphins and yours!
- Remember a time when you had a story read aloud to you. Recall your own childhood and a time that you shared with an adult and a good story. I bet you can't remember the specific details from the book, but you do remember what it felt like to have that experience. By reflecting on your own experiences as a child, it will help you to reframe and relax into the experience you are going to have with your own children.
- A good story has the power to transform the way we see ourselves, others and the world at large. If you have a good book, you don't have to "do" much else than read the words that are given and allow your child's imagination do the rest.
- Go slower than feels natural. The goal is not to get "done" with the book; The goal is to get "into" the book. If you are reading a picture book, before reading the words take time to really look at the pictures. If you are reading a chapter book pause when you get to a word you think might be new for your kid and talk about its meaning. Pause after a page or two and summarize what's been going on, and what you think might happen nest.
- Don't re-invent the wheel! Kids love (and thrive off of) repetition. So read the same book five nights in a row! You might get tired of it, but we promise your child will get more out of this than you think! In fact, research shows that repeated reading of the same book is more beneficial for your child!
- Once you've read a story just for sheer enjoyment, then maybe you can ask a question or two. The first time they hear a story, they are focused on the plot, what is happening. But after that they can do deeper thinking about the character and his/her motivations. You could ask questions about the lesson you think the author is trying to teach the reader. Don't overthink your questions. Remember - less is more.
We are here to support you!