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5 signs your child already loves reading

Tune into your own young children’s reading-related behaviors and give yourself a pat on the back.

5 signs your child already loves reading

My children don’t know how to read quite yet, but I constantly celebrate their developing literacy skills. Tune into your own young children’s reading-related behaviors and give yourself a pat on the back when you notice and support ones like these:


1. Your child enjoys reading with you.

Many parents look forward to reading to their kids, and rightfully so; it’s one of the most influential things you can do. My oldest son was hard to soothe as an infant, so I’ll never forget my joy—and relief—when he stopped fussing and tuned into my reading of a board book for the first time.

Reading aloud can feel strange if you aren’t used to it, so getting to a place where both you and your child enjoy sharing books together is a milestone for everyone.

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2. Your child uses books to learn.

When I took my second son for his 9-month checkup, I passed him a board book to keep him occupied as I desperately tried to keep his toddler brother from tearing apart the exam room. When the doctor came in, she calmly noticed him pointing at a picture and looking at us: “Oh look, he’s asking what’s in this picture! It’s a bunny, sweetie.”

Research from Cornell University demonstrates the enormous power of “object labeling” to help babies learn new words, when that labeling is timed just right with a baby’s attention. Books are such a valuable teaching tool, and I was grateful to our pediatrician for snapping me out of my harried, sleep-deprived state to point out how my baby was starting to use them to request information.

3. Your child brings you a book and asks you to read.

Parenting is perhaps the busiest job there is. There’s a mountain of laundry that needs to be folded, someone is whining for a snack—and wait, which kid is that climbing the stairs?

I wish that I could bottle up the memory of a toddler eagerly thrusting a book into my hands and wiggling into my lap for after this phase has passed. Asking to be read to shows that your child values books. Is saying, “yes” always convenient? No. Is it worth it? Definitely.

4. Your child enjoys books alone.

My third son is somewhat of a ninja baby. He quietly finds remote corners of the house, evoking panic in those responsible for keeping him safe. He’s also a book lover, though, and oftentimes when I’m racing around looking for him, I find him sitting in our little reading corner with a stack of books.

When children begin to interact independently with books, from holding the book and turning the pages the right way, to labeling and reacting to illustrations, to using language that mimics a “story,” they show us so much about their understanding of what readers do. Children learn through play, and playing “reader” is an important step towards actually becoming one.

5. Your child recognizes letters and words out in the world.

Driving home from the grocery store a few years ago, I overheard my toddler in the backseat calling excitedly, “For me! For me!” A quick glance in the mirror showed him pointing at the AAA building nearby. I realized with a smile that he recognized the letter “A” as the one that starts his name.

When children begin to notice letters and words around them, commonly referred to as “environmental print,” it’s an important precursor to making sense of print in books.

Of course, there are many other crucial milestones on your child’s path to reading, and they may look different on your children than they do on mine. Start paying attention, though. I guarantee you’ll notice an aspect of the journey worth celebrating.

This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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