Finding Time to Read as a Parent
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Finding time to read as a parent seems like a difficult task. Below are a few of the tricks I use to help me get in a few pages throughout the day.
Reading is one of my favorite ways to unwind during the day. In the evening before bed, in the morning before work, or during a hard workout. It may seem like there's no time to read when all you're doing is playing with your kids, making meals, or cleaning and changing diapers. For me, however, as with most things being a parent, it's about prioritizing. Beyond that, I would say it's actually easier than you may think - it's certainly easier than something like watching TV or movies. Below are a few times when I find time to read each day.
Some people may prefer music, but I'm always listening to an audiobook while I workout (I wouldn't recommend trying to read your book while running or otherwise). Get yourself a decent pair of headphones. I went through a lot of headphones before I found these Plantronics that work really well for me - they don't fall out easily and they don't die every month, which were the two main problems I had with other headphones.
Audible and the local library have become my sources for books. Your local library will have a good selection of audiobooks that you don't have to show up to the library for - you can download them directly from home and get them right on your device. It's really easy and straightforward, and while you may not be able to the latest new release, you'll generally have a nice large selection of quality content to choose from.
During my Commute
I used to take the bus to work. That was great as I had about 30 minutes both ways where I could read, uninterrupted. If you have this luxury, you should take it to read a book instead of playing games on your phone or otherwise. A lot of people aren't that lucky though, and after we moved to our new house, the bus route that ran right next to my house was no more.
As such, I've moved to audiobooks. Now, my car doesn't have bluetooth in it, and my phone doesn't have an audio jack on it. Fortunately, they make a device to solve this problem - it works flawlessly for me. You just plug your audio jack into it, connect it to your bluetooth device, and you're good to go.
With my Kids
No, I'm not referring to reading your favorite Dr. Seuss books with your kids. You'll get plenty of that just playing and interacting with your kids. However, when your kids are old enough to start reading on their own without a lot of your help, it's a perfect time for you to sit down and read with them. I'd definitely recommend it over looking at your phone.
My oldest son is old enough to have to read for 20 minutes each day. There are times where I'm reading to my younger son, but he doesn't always want to sit and listen to me read a book to him. I'll set him with a bunch of books to look at the pictures, and grab my Kindle to read a few pages.
At the Park
I'm not a helicopter parent at the park. I'd recommend you not be either. Obviously, some kids are too young to play on the playground by themselves, and you need to watch them and help them. However, there's an age where kids can play by themselves. I love to bring my book to the park so that I can sit and read while the kids play. We head to the park almost every evening for the kids to run around in the summer.
One of the added benefits of this, that I've found, is that my kids interact a lot more with the other kids at the playground. If my kids are the only ones at the playground (which happens fairly often), I like to get up there and play with them. However, when there are other kids, I find that they will walk up, and figure out how they can play together, usually even with a large age difference.
Once you've finally survived the bed time routine for the kids, and you're headed to bed, I find that reading a few pages from my book help me to decompress and my eyes to relax. I don't read on my phone or tablet though as it hurts my eyes - reading an actual book, or Kindle really help me to relax before drifting off to sleep.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you find time to read, and if any of these tips have helped you to get through a few more words each day.