A woman reading a book with her child

Tech & Media

In This House We Read Actual Books So Our Kids Don’t Become Screen Zombies

May 8, 2019

I am not a huge fan of screen time for kids. Especially young kids, and especially when it comes to being on iPads, computers or letting one show roll into another. And so, we read to our kids a lot in our house. Their books are well loved, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

But sometimes my take on things is a tad hypocritical. I do frequently use my OWN computer to make plans with friends, set up play dates, do my work, plan our families’ appointments (and manage our schedules), pay bills, buy household and kids’ stuff — the list goes on.

Fun Reads: 7 Kids’ Books Parents Love To Read Out Loud

I can set limits for my kids all I want, but they learn by example. My example. And I want the examples I set to reflect the values I want to instill in them. They see me doing a lot of different things in any given day, but one thing I make sure they always see is me reading.

There are a few great reasons why it’s important my kids see me (and their dad) reading books.

They see that tech isn’t the only way to be entertained as an adult

We live in a tech-obsessed world, and it definitely has some advantages. But I want my kids to grow up knowing that tech is a tool, not the be-all-end-all of entertainment. There are so many beautiful stories, and places and things to learn about — and books are a great way to do that. A recent study even found that brain connectivity in children is increased by the time they spend reading books and decreased by the length of exposure to screen-based media.

For The Parents: 10 Funny, Surprising And Poignant Comics About Being A Parent

They copy our behaviour

Knowing that their parents love books and reading makes my kids more interested in books too. Reading is a big deal in our house, and there’s nothing my kids love more than bringing home a giant stack of books from the library and going through them on the couch. I credit this to the constant flow of books into our home — not just for them, but for the grown-ups too.

They see that I’m a person with my own interests

This is a big one for me. As a stay-at-home parent, I need my kids to see that I also have interests (outside of just catering to their every need and running our household). When they see me reading, they like to ask what the book is about or to read some of it aloud and explain why I’m reading about a certain topic. It opens up a conversation and is a lovely way to connect to each other’s interests.

Librarian-Recommended: 15 Nonfiction Books For Kids

They learn the value of quiet time

My kids are still young (four and two) and our house is usually LOUD. A fresh stack of books for kids and adults alike brings the decibel level down considerably and creates a calm atmosphere. There’s nothing like sitting in comfortable silence together as a family — especially when I get to enjoy a grown-up book of my own, even if only for a few minutes.

Article Author Katharine Reid
Katharine Reid

Read more from Katharine here.

Katharine is a freelance writer and editor who loves libraries and nature. The former editor of a health website, she now spends her days with her three adorable young kiddos. A big believer in the power of unstructured free play, she can usually be found either going on outdoor adventures with her kids, setting up invitations to play and create, snuggling up to read or escaping the chaos to head to a yoga class.

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