I have a confession to make!! I don’t read to my kids everyday or at least I don’t these days. Somewhere along the lines I was told that one of the most important things I can do for my child is read to them 10 minutes a day at least. This somehow has been imprinted on my person.
So along pops child number one. I am pretty sure a few weeks into her little life I started reading to her 10 minutes a day because this is what you do right?? It wasn’t that difficult finding 10 minutes a day to read to her because I was a full-time stay at home mum looking for things to do. We even went to weekly story time at our local library so I could tick off the list of activities I was told by someone somewhere I needed to do to be a good mother.
When little miss was 18 months old she starting going to family day care as I started some part time work. I had also had a miscarriage which turned out to the a rare 1 in 10 thousand random diagnosis pregnancy which required weekly blood checks for a year. This threw things into a little chaos but daily reading for 10 minutes was still being ticked off the good mother check list. Then I fell pregnant with baby number 3 (after a year of tests and clearance to fall pregnant again). I got quite sick with morning sickness and did not have the energy every day to do the things I needed to do and often found myself on the couch drinking frozen coke and watching trashy TV.
Then along came our second beautiful daughter and to be honest from this moment forward the good mother checklist had left the building. When I could I would try and read to my first daughter but it certainly wasn’t every day. I can definitely say that I was not reading 10 minutes a day to my 3 week only daughter and I clearly remember when she was about 6 months old thinking ummmm I don’t know if I have ever read her a book. I thought I have probably stunted her development somehow and it was so unfair compared to the attention and reading time I had given my first daughter.
I did start to prioritise reading to daughter number 2 more regularly but I am not sure it has ever been day after day after day after day. You see, I was also working a bit from home with daughter number 2 in toe and trying to manage it all.
One day I stopped, sat down and started to think. I started to think about my mum and dad and being read to as a child. One problem was I actually had no memory of such things. As I tracked back through my childhood I could not pinpoint one time my parents read to me nor could I remember them reading themselves apart from the paper on the weekend. When I asked my mum she said that they did read to us but this wasn’t 10 minutes a day every day for the first five years of my life. To be honest it was probably more a treat to be read to by them.
Our parents didn’t have the good mother checklist being written up by a set of parenting experts. They just did what they had to do. My parents were awesome. I love my parents to bits. They did their best but it was basic.
Guess what??? I can read!! Guess what??? I can write!! Guess what?? I can add!!
Don’t get me wrong I think reading to my kids is really important for their language and general development BUT if I don’t do it 10 minutes a day every day my kids are not going to be ruined for life. Funnily enough my second daughter who has been read to significantly less than my first has much earlier counting and number development and word / picture identification, isn’t it ironic.
Read to your kids because that is a good thing to do but chuck the good mother checklist out, do your best, remember how often you were read to as a child, think about if you can read despite (for most of us) not being read to everyday, go turn on the jug, make yourself a cup of tea and breathe …. you are doing a good job!!
Written By: Sam Shazzam aka Aldi Mum / School Mum