bedtime stories · OBSERVATIONS · picture books · reading conveys love

The Act of Reading Books to Children Shows How Much You Love Them

It’s almost 3 a.m. I’ve been up for about two hours listening to my daughter cough through the baby monitor. I’m tempted to go into her room to soothe her, but I know picking her up out of her crib, in which she is sleeping, is not the solution. Therefore, I listen and wait. Wait for her to wake up so I can do my motherly duty of comforting my sick baby.

Nancy’s post, “Kiss, Love, and Go,” got me thinking about the way we show our kids we love them.  Read it if you haven’t already.  At the end of her post I left a comment:

We must, must, must tell our children that we love them often (more than once a day).

My daughter isn’t speaking yet, but yesterday I asked her, “Do you know Mommy loves you?” She smiled and nodded with her head and her entire toddler body. I enveloped her in a bear hug and said some other sweet words (I don’t recall what they were.). She might not be able to tell me that she loves me back, but, by golly, she knows I love her. To me, that is everything right now. I’ve said it enough to get my point across, which means I will KEEP ON SAYING IT so she knows.

One of the many ways we can express our love for our children is through reading.  The simple act of taking time to read aloud to kids shows them we love them. It means spending time focusing on them, rather than on e-mails, phone calls, or television shows. If reading is one of the ways I can show my daughter I love her, then she must know that she’s adored because she’s surrounded by books!

night-you-were-bornWhat we read is important too.  For instance, last night before bedtime, I brought my daughter into my bedroom to read aloud to her.  She wasn’t feeling well, so I figured I’d treat her to a read aloud in our bed surrounded by her stuffed animals (who were brought in earlier in the afternoon when she needed to chill after her nap).  I selected a few picture books and let her choose the one she wanted to hear.  She choose On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman — twice.  (If you haven’t read this gem, then you’ll love it. It conveys one of the deepest messages of love in print.  It tells a child how special they are, which is why I’ve started buying it for my friends’ oldest children when they add another baby into their family. ) I think she choose this book not just because she loves the moon illustrations on each page, but because she can sense how adored she is when I read it to her.

awesomebkloveThere’s a new book, An Awesome Book of Love by Dallas Clayton, that came out last month.  I shared this one with Isabelle yesterday morning when we were snuggled up together in her play room.  I read it aloud for the first time and she loved it.  Clayton’s book has things she seems to adore in picture books these days: vivid illustrations and rhyme.  I like the irresistible message it conveys: our love binds us together forever. While the book can easily be for a significant other, it is yet another worthwhile read for a parent-child to experience together. After just one reading, I am confident this book is going to become a favorite just as On the Night You Were Born.

Valentine’s Day is a few weeks away. While I think it’s important to tell our loved ones how we feel all year long, I think I’ll devote a few more posts to “reading conveys love” in the next few weeks.  Therefore, more lovey-dovey titles Isabelle and I love will follow!

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4 thoughts on “The Act of Reading Books to Children Shows How Much You Love Them

  1. I loved the hours we spent reading books together. Nothing is better than snuggling into bed with a book and a child. Even though my children are 26 and 28, I still pick up picture books at the library. I’m not familiar with either of these titles, so I’m requesting them today. Can’t wait for future lovey-dovey titles!

  2. Sarah, my daughter tells me a story that Ingrid & she were going to do a little cuddle & read some books before bed. They read some together, then Sarah told Ingrid she could read her book, while Momma read hers. Ingrid says: Momma, I can’t read, so I just think I’ll look at the pictures! You are so right about reading, a very special time! Thanks for the ‘new’ book recommendation.

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