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Monday, September 7, 2009

Don't Take a Vacation From Books!

Photo by kerryvaughan

It seems like we have gone directly from one travel trip to another in our family this past month or so. (I'm actually writing this post from my brother and sister-in-law's house.) All our trips have just been visits to family, but even so, they can be quite stressful. From the packing and preparing, to the upset in routine while on the trip, to the re-adjustment everyone has to make to normal life upon returning home. (Not that we don't totally enjoy being with our family!)

In the midst of the chaos (the good and bad kind), what part do books and reading play? When your family goes on vacation, do they go on a vacation from reading too?

There's no right or wrong answer. No judgement here. I'm just curious... and looking for some inspiration, because I'm not real good with maintaining the reading routine while on vacation. Sometimes books are helpful in a stressful vacation situation. Other times, trying to read with tired and cranky kiddos while on vacation creates extra stress.

Tonight, I was putting my son, Isaac, to bed here at my in-laws' house. His pack 'n' play is set up in his uncle's office/music studio, which is full of musical instruments and fun knobs to look at and try to touch. So my attempts at having some quiet reading time with him in there before bed were pretty futile. He would not sit still. And since I couldn't read and chase him around and keep him from breaking something, he went to bed with no bedtime story. In fact, we didn't read together at all today. *Gasp!*

Now that I'm writing this post, I realize I should have done the bedtime story thing in a less distracting room. Something to remember for next time. (We're heading home tomorrow.)

In the future I would like to be much more intentional in making books a part of our vacations, just like they are a part of our normal, everyday life at home. How do I do that? Here are some ideas I've been brainstorming:

- Be intentional about creating a quiet space somewhere, somehow, no matter where you're staying, so it's easier to make reading happen.

- Buy or borrow a few books that are new and enticing to Isaac. Think about his interests and attention span.

- Use down time in the car/plane/airport to read. Take advantage of those opportunities where you have a captive audience.

- Read aloud while Isaac's playing during the day. Even if he's not giving me his full attention, he's likely to wander over to catch snippets of the story here and there. And a read-aloud is better background noise than nothing... or the TV.

Please add to my list! I need ideas!

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