Beyond Bedtime: How to Integrate Reading Throughout the Day

by Janssen Bradshaw

Photo credit: Tetra Images/Jessica Peterson, Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

The term “bedtime stories” gets tossed around a lot in parenting, but that doesn’t mean bedtime is the only time to fit in reading with your children.

In fact, most nights, I don’t read a bedtime story to my children. By the end of the day, I’m worn out and ready to have them down for the evening, and I’m definitely not in my best and most enthusiastic reading mode.

If squeezing in a book amidst the teeth brushing and bathing is just too much for you, not to worry. Here are some other ways to incorporate reading together into your day.

Morning Pages
If your babies are anything like mine, they get up a little earlier than you’d really prefer. Instead of leaping out of bed and jumping right into the day, I like to bring them into my bed and snuggle in for a few more minutes with a few good books. Not only do I get to enjoy my warm pillow for an extra ten minutes, it also starts the day out on a nice note.

Backseat Reading
I like to check out books with CDs from the library and let my girls look at the books while the CD narrates for them. They get a chance to listen to other voices read besides mine, and I can drive without shouting from the backseat. Definitely a win-win, and a great way to pass the time while commuting or running errands.

While You Wait
I usually try to keep a small paperback picture book or board book in my purse, so if we get stuck in a waiting room or somewhere else we can sneak in a little reading together. It’s the perfect time to be able to point out little details, re-read several times, or just read without rushing through.

Settling Down for Siesta
Before nap time is similar to bedtime reading, but with a little less of the end-of-day frenzy. A book or two helps settle my babies down after a busy morning and gets us all ready for a few quiet hours.

An After Dinner Read
No reason to wait until right before bed to start winding down with a book. My husband usually does the dishes, so after dinner is a great time for me to sit down on the couch with a book or two and read before we actually get the girls off to bed (or, if I’ve had enough of the children for the day, I take over the dishes and send him off to read).