Why You Should Become a Reader and How to Start

 

 

Why you should become a reader:

Picture waking up on a Sunday morning, drinking your coffee, and basking in the first morning rays of sun that are beaming through your window while you are immersed in your favorite book. That is my idea of a perfect morning. Peaceful, quiet, serene, and I’m lost in an entire other world or somebody else’s life in an amazing book. Are you convinced that you should start reading again yet? If you are skip down to the How to Start, if not, keep reading.

What is your favorite movie? I’m going to go with an easy one that is pretty common and most people know Pride and Prejudice, did you enjoy the 2 hours you spent watching that movie? Now imagine being able to stretch that experience out to a whole morning or a whole afternoon. You can stop and put the book down for a minute when you want to reflect on how Elizabeth is a much better sister than I am because I would rebuke Lydia much harsher than Elizabeth did. You can become part of the story as you are reading it more than just watching the movie and being shown exactly what each character looks like, sounds like, and moves. When you read, you create this images yourself. Convinced yet?

How about this, we are being bombarded by fake news, exaggerated news, or news that is 100% true but is obviously just trying to get a rise out of a certain group of people. Why do you think they are so successful at creating this absurd news using sound bites and memes that get thousands or millions of views and shares? We don’t read! As a society we seem to have fallen in love with the media, the television, and Hollywood. I firmly believe we would be in a much better state as a country if instead of the media, we fell in love with books! It is much more difficult to confuse a person on how the economy works who is familiar with the writings of Milton Friedman, Marx, Keynes, or Mill. If nothing else, they will know how to think critically on the current information they are given instead of letting the news reporter get them riled up about their latest prediction. Being an avid reader will help you to be a critical thinker and be able to decipher between fake news and real news. 

Children will do as you do, not as you say. This is one of the biggest motivators for me to read every night instead of watching TV or browsing Facebook (full disclosure, I sometimes indulge in those things when my kids aren’t watching). However, in the evenings, after the kids go to bed I try to make it appoint to read for another hour until they are asleep. I also read first thing in the morning (this is when I try to do my serious reading), so to my kids they see that reading is important and reading is fun. If you want to raise intelligent children, teach them to love reading, and be their example. ts8var4y570e402b6011d466172928

Reading will help you advance in your career. As you move up on the career ladder, you will inevitably need to read more and understand what you are reading. You may even need to explain it to your coworkers, an outside investor, or your boss. Perhaps Dr. Seuss explained this best: “The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”. 

 

How To Start

Turn Off the TV, I wrote a blog earlier on How to turn off the TVif you want some tips. If you make a conscious effort to keep the TV off, it will make it easier to fill the time with a good book.

Start SmallIf it has been a few years since you have done some serious reading, don’t start with with works of Aristotle. Save that for a few months or even a year down the road when you are used to reading the more advanced works of literature. 

Listen to Audible instead of the radio. This was actually a very simple change that I made that helped me fall in love with the written word again. I listen to Audible when I am in the car or at home doing mindless tasks. My husband has a long commute for work every day and he listens to the books as well. Then we get to discuss the books in the evening. 

Start with a genre you love.  Check out Goodreads for a list of recommended books in a genre that you find interesting.

Start or join a bookclub. Bookclub night with friends is an awesome bonding experience and it will help keep you on track to get a book finished. Gather up a group of your friends, coordinate with some wine and cheese and let the fun begin! You can also find local book clubs to join online!img_8594

If you don’t like the book, you don’t have to finish itwithin reason. I would be cautious not make a habit of getting 100 pages into a book and then moving onto the next one, the most exciting part might be yet to come, and often the best authors have a long build up. That being said, if you aren’t interested in a book, feel free to put it down and find a book you love, especially in the beginning.

Utilize your local library. Books can get expensive, my husband can attest to that, so it’s helpful to use your library, especially in the beginning when you are just learning what types of books you like. Also check out deals on used book sites or find a local used book store to get some great deals as well!

Just Start. Don’t try to make everything perfect, just start. It will be worth it!

 

 

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How to Turn Off the Television for Good!

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Any other millennial mothers out there tired of hearing that we need to take the tablets, phones, and electronics away from our children? Me too! Our children are going to grow up in a world surrounded by technology, why shouldn’t we let them start learning how to use it now? Well… Science, that’s why. Damn you Science!!!

Here is the reality, kids spend way too much time watching TV or playing Video games. Sadly, so do adults. The average adult watches 5 hours of TV per day. The average 2-11 year old watches 4 hours of TV a day. That is heartbreaking! Honestly, I thought the 2 hours of TV per day that was recommended was excessive. This includes time playing on tablets as well!

Children need time to be bored, to use their imagination, and to fall in love with books. In order to achieve this, they have to step away from the TV and put the tablets down! Easier said than done right? You are correct, it is NOT EASY to turn off the TV. Watching television is addicting and with Netflix and no commercials, it’s easier than ever to spend a few hours every evening binge watching your favorite show! Follow these steps to turn off the TV for good.

1. Get Active! Think Hiking, Local Rec Center or YMCA, Bike Riding, etc…

REDcoyote-08761Bike riding and hiking have become two of our favorite activities to do as a family when the weather is nice, and we have a local Recreational Center with a little rock wall for the kids and an indoor swimming pool to get out and get some endorphins flowing! Also, the trampoline is great during the summer and the local playground!

 

2. Find New Indoor Hobbies! Think Board games, Musical Instruments, and Crafts!

My 5-year-old daughter and my husband recently started learning how to play the ukuleleimg_8472 together. She has a soprano ukulele (which is the smallest one) and he has the mid-size, the concert ukulele. It is small enough that my daughter can play it comfortably and it is fun for my son and I to dance around or sing along as they are playing. We also have evenings where my son throw a tantrum because he wants to play but he will probably break the strings, it’s called balance. You will be surprised how fast an hour will go by playing a musical instrument instead of watching the latest drama on Netflix.

We have also started playing more board and card games. Most recently we had an evening where we played “Big Bang Theory Clue” so it wasn’t people getting murdered it was the friends from Big Bang Theory doing horrible things like dismantling the Shelbot, it was a lot of fun! My daughter who is 5-years-old (almost 6) got the hang of it pretty quickly and loved that she was playing a big kid game, and my son who just turned 3 was in charge of rolling the dice for everybody. He also re-arranged the characters on a regular basis. With younger children don’t expect board games to go smoothly, the rules are more of general guidelines.

3. Let Them BE BORED!! This is the most important step. 

This is probably also the hardest part, because in the first couple of weeks there will probably be a lot of complaining and depending on the age of your children possibly evenmaddie-running some tantrums of epic proportions. The first two weeks my son threw a fit every night and there were even a few times my daughter would throw a fit and declare “it was the worst day ever!” Stand firm Mama, they’ll get used to it.

The other day some of my daughter’s friends came over and one of them asked if they could watch TV and my daughter responded without any fanfare, “Oh we don’t watch TV at my house, but we can play with bubbles!” Just remember, the tantrums won’t last forever.

This will also probably lead to a messier household, especially when they are young and to entertain themselves they do things like decorate the house with toilet paper, cut up paper from their arts and crafts bin into copious amounts of confetti, and re-organize your fridge; my son had all three of those things done within two hours yesterday. It will be frustrating, your house will be messy, and you will want to turn on the TV, but take a deep breath and tell yourself, “it’s ok, they are learning.”

4. You Have to Quit Too! 

Maybe this is the hardest step. You can’t expect your kids to not watch TV or stay off the tablets while you are binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. I know you are tired, for crying out loud we have to go to work all day and then come home and take care of everything at home, you just want a quiet evening with the TV! I get it, I’ve been there too. Once your kids have broken the habit of watching TV, I think it can be re-introduced within moderation (personally I think 4-5 hours per week is plenty). Find new books that you love! Utilize your local library whenever possible! When your kids are young try and read paper books, they don’t understand that you are reading books on your tablet not playing games. They just see you on the tablet and think that it’s not fair!

You can get some friends together and start a book club or game night! Added bonus, your kids will be used to entertaining themselves better so you might actually be able to have some grown up conversations with your friends while the kids are playing in their room or the backyard!

5. Stand Firm. Commit. You Got This! 

There will be times when it won’t seem worth it, but when you see your kids fall in love with books, fall in love with the outdoors, start to build things and create, and most importantly make lasting memories, and it will all be worth it!

Comment below with your favorite alternative activities to watching TV!