It’s here…the end of the school year is upon us and students, teachers and parents are feeling the stress of all the activities, testing, assignments and celebrations that happen during the months of May and June. It is such a busy time of year that the YouTube Parenting Duo: The Holderness Family coined the term MAYcember to describe the overwhelming busyness that many families feel during this time of year. (If you can find a few moments of downtime, you should check out their YouTube video: https://youtu.be/K5ceQJLRp6w). Of course, although most of these events are fun and meaningful such as graduations, dances, recitals, sports banquets, confirmations, etc, the endless running around and checking off of the To-Do list can leave even the best of parents feeling tired and cranky with little energy to enjoy the present moment. In fact, instead of savoring the special occasions, you may find yourself wanting it all to be over and summer to arrive.
While we can’t physically add more time to the day or take anything off the calendar, we can suggest a way to help slow down, reset and enjoy the present moment. How you may ask?
Sound simple? Well, it is. Take 5, 10 or 15 minutes out of your day and read a book. Don’t let the daily routine of reading with your child go by the wayside. All it takes is a few minutes and a little creativity. The easiest way to make time for reading is the quiet time right before bed. Not only will it help settle everyone down after a busy day of festivities, but it will also help bring you back to the present moment with your child. If you make it a priority to set aside that time together, it will also help provide a smooth transition to the summer that will make the routine of reading easier to keep. Obviously, there will be nights where you will not be able to fit in that time together because of late night events, but think outside of the box and work reading time into other parts of the day. Maybe you are able to sit outside for a few minutes after school together while you read a book to the kids and they have a snack. Or perhaps you leave the dishes alone for a few minutes after dinner and read together on the couch instead. If you are running from place to place, try a book on tape or get to your location a few minutes early and read to them in the car while you wait for the event to start.
Every minute counts so even if you can only swing 5-10 minutes a day, do it. By doing so, you are not only modeling the importance of reading, but you are helping your children form the mindset and habit that reading can be a perfect way to unwind, relax and escape from the everyday.