Dear Parents, The secret to get through the holidays? Read.

Dear Parents,

Can you feel it in the air?

It’s that time of year. When life gets a little hectic, unpredictable, off-schedule. One night, you’re in sweat pants, enjoying a simple home cooked meal with your family and the next you’re headed off to a holiday party, which means you’re home late and dragging to work the next morning.

Or maybe you’re a teensy bit anxious about an upcoming family gathering, filled with talk of politics, some drinking, and a handful of folk whom you love but intentionally see just once a year, ifyouknowwhatimean.

I grew up in a 3-bedroom 2-bathroom ranch-style home, perfect for a family of 4. When the grandparents visited from New Jersey, it meant moving into my sister’s bedroom and sharing our bathroom with our grandparents for the duration of their stay. While I generally enjoyed their visits, I did not love the sense of feeling displaced in my own home, especially during an already busy time of year.

End-of-semester projects and exams, shopping, cooking, preparing, cleaning, entertaining . . . it can be oh so very exhausting.

And so as I sip my morning coffee (yes, on my front porch), I’m being bold – a little crazy, even — and adding something to your list.

And you already know what it is.

Reading.

It’s the time of year when your kids get a little squirrely. Things can feel off-kilter. You might require a little flexibility out of your peeps. You might be out late or preoccupied with pulling off an epic holiday party. Maybe you have houseguests. Maybe you are the houseguests, sleeping in unfamiliar beds in homes with their unfamiliar noises. Whatever the circumstances are, it’s pretty dang rare to hear of families this time of year yawning and saying how ordinary their days are.

And while – it’s true – there is so much going on and so much you don’t have perfect control over during these holidays, one consistent thing you can do for your kiddos is read.

Busy days, full houses, long drives, new faces, irregular meals, time changes, it can all throw a tot for a loop. And while you may not be able to slow the holiday train, you can take a little time out of every day (before bedtime, perhaps?) and read.

It’ll slow things down.

It’ll give you time to check in with your child – and she with you.

It’ll show him that you still, in the midst of all the caroling and eating and decorating, are still connected.tappleton

It’ll provide some much-needed consistency.

brobinsonWhat to read? A picture book! (Maybe a seasonal one?)

Or, read a chapter in a chapter book every night!

Grab some Douglas Florian or Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky and savor a few poems together before bedtime!shel

Your child won’t notice the dust bunnies that didn’t get vacuumed up, but she will perceive your care if you . . .

Keep Reading,

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