Thursday, January 19, 2012

Twelve Daily Habits for 2012--Habit #6: Read Aloud to Your Kids

                                        Habit #6: Read Aloud to Your Kids

We have read aloud to our kids for years and years. When our older childen were little, they would get read to by me or Ray (through Bible, unit studies, devotions, and story time) three to five hours every day. Now neither of us has time to read aloud that much with the kids (and I admit I use talking books to substitute for me quite often!), but we still enjoy reading to and with the kids every day.

You have heard it all before--if you want to raise readers, you have to read to them. Children who are read to daily are x times more likely to become readers themselves, etc. etc. Guilt trip aside, we have found that reading has built a strong educational foundation--and tied heart strings at the same time. We have so many memories of "Jack, Max, and Axle at the Acme Painting Company" and "Morris learning to count," as well as inspiring devotional materials and awesome creation science books. And, yes, we have raised several readers. Even the ones who do not read lengthy pieces of literature love to read the Bible and inspirational materials. And we all still love gathering with a stack of Christmas books in December for long evenings of reading aloud.

Again, think baby steps. Just read from a Christian adventure chapter book every night towards the end of dinner. Or read two stories to the littles before naptime. Or stick a book of short stories in the van and read aloud while Dad drives. You don't have to read three to five hours a day. And you don't have to read certain books. Just enjoy reading and learning together.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Twelve Daily Habits for 2012--Habit #5: Get Completely Ready for the Day

Habit #5: Get Completely Ready for the Day (Even If You’re Not Going Anywhere!)

Years ago, when my older children were younger, I seldom "fancied up" unless I was going somewhere. I often put on sweats, took my walk, then showered and put another pair of sweats on. I figured that if nobody was going to see me except the kids and Ray, I may as well use that time for something else. I hated spending time getting “fixed up” when I could be getting something done off my list (efficiency expert gone wild here!).

Then I became good friends with some gals who always seemed “fixed up.” They always looked great no matter whether I dropped in unexpectedly or saw them at the skating rink. And I decided that my family deserved more than ponytails and sweatpants.

Flylady (a self-help, organizing, cleaning guru online who helps thousands of women get control of their daily lives) sends out a daily email reminder early each morning that reads, "Dress down to your shoes." Her premise is that if you get completely ready for the day (as though you are going somewhere), you will feel more professional and serious about what you do each day. Also, if you do it first thing (or at least right after reading or exercising), you will be more energized to attack the tasks at hand.

Now that Ray and I dance for exercise after work some days, I don't just have to get ready down to my shoes; I actually have to get "dressed up" (well, somewhat dressed up). The studio where we dance has an unwritten "no jeans and no sweats" policy. But you know what? I like it. I have come to enjoy not being dowdy all the time! I don't panic if someone pulls in the driveway. If I have to run a quick, unexpected errand, I don't have to make excuses for my appearance to everyone I see.

Whether you get "fancy" each day or simply get completely ready for your day and presentable, if you are a work-at-home mom, homeschooler, or housewife with littles, I think you will enjoy it too. I feel so much better coming out to teach the kids and manage the home with myself pulled together. Besides my family deserves to have a happy, glowing mommy--and wife! Smile….