One of the things I love the most about being home with my toddler every day is that I am in total control of his learning and reading. I respect that plenty of kids have really great preschool and daycare teachers and learn lots of different and innovative things. I am just really happy that I get to do that for my own kid. (One positive of Alzheimer's caregiving is essentially being forced to be a stay at home mom.) Every time we finish a "learning time" task or a puzzle, we do the "smartypants dance" and I laugh so much! It never gets old!
I also try to supplement his social activities with dance classes, gymnastics, swimming, and many trips to the library where he loves finding new friends to play with. Plus we are very lucky to have weekly standing playdates with our neighborhood friends. Over the last year and a half, it has been so incredible to watch the two boys learn with - and from - each other about friendship, sharing, co-playing, and to witness their language skills grow alongside each other. What a gift.
His dad and I have a new rule where we set the timer for 20 minutes every time he wants to play with his tablet, so that after 20 minutes we can distract him with a game, an activity, or a paper book to try to decrease his screen time. I read an article recently that emphasized that paper books and stories will actually win over tablet screen time every time. If a parent actually takes the time to read books, the child will choose that over their screen hands down. Sometimes we'll have an initial meltdown when we pry the screen away, but without fail, we sit down with a book and some quality time, and he's a very happy camper in the end.
The library introduced me to the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten app:
I love having this goal to share with him. The premise is that kids who read 1000 books by the time they are 5 or 6 will have a larger vocabulary, more quality reading time, and will learn to read more easily. When they read and tally those thousand books, they can read the same titles over and over again because repetition is a good thing when learning to read.
The overachiever in me has made our own Reading Challenge. We are doing One Thousand TITLES before kindergarten. I just know that we have it in us to achieve this, and so we are tackling it. I only count new titles in his goal and I don't tick the ticker even when we reread books...which OF COURSE we do because I have so many things memorized now...
On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of swiss cheese...
Good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere.
Hey dragon! Why do you guys love tacos so much?!
I love you little greenie... bon appetite!
That last one gets a giggle every time so if you haven't read I Love You, Stinky Face yet, then pick that one up from your local library STAT. We tend to get 10+ books from the library every week, and it becomes such an exciting joy for him each time. And for me, honestly. Trips to the library with my mom are some of my fondest memories from childhood.
In fact, I have my own reading challenge going through GoodReads because I am still trying to make up for the fact that I lost so much time reading when I was overworking at the theatre for 10 years. I read 35 books last year which was huge for me, so I've upped my goal to 40 this year. I still have some envy because I have friends who read 50+ books a year, but I'm a slow reader and I can't knit while I'm reading so I have to balance those hobbies!
THIS! - I didn't know until recently by the way (and you're welcome!) You can check out 100 books from the library at a time. ONE HUNDRED!!! A local mom who homeschools her two kids told me this, and I was completely blown away. Nerd alert! This is such a bonus for me. Sometimes it's hard to keep track. I still have anxiety about losing library books! I haven't braved the 100 amount yet. We usually have 20 to 30 at a time, but it's so nice to know that option is available to us.
In the meantime, I am just so thrilled that my kiddo shares his love of books with his mom, and I love how we listen to books in the car together every time we hit the road. I hope it's something we can share forever.
On that note, it's time to pull that tablet away from his pudgy little fingers and sit down with a new book! Make that 804 today...!