August is "Back to School" Month at The Motherhood Collective. Over the next few weeks, our writers will be sharing their teaching moments, the ways they encourage learning, their thoughts on education or the things THEY are learning as a parent. Even if your child isn't heading back to the classroom in a few weeks, we hope that our thoughts on learning will inspire you. ~TMC ---
Not too long ago, I took Baby to his 6 month medical appointment. At our doctor's office, we leave the appointment with a printout of anything discussed/diagnosed, a list of potential milestones between now and the next appointment, and tips to promote physical and emotional development at this age.
I actually like this because it helps jog my memory on things like when I need to ask for the baby gates back from the couple who borrowed them so that we can start childproofing our home (Answer: Sooner than I'm prepared for!).
One of the items listed on my most recent sheet was, "Read to infant for 20 minutes each day."
I don't read to Baby 20 minutes every day.
At least, not officially. I have two degrees, one in elementary education, one in library science. I wholeheartedly support and believe in all the evidence that supports reading to children at an early age. What I don't have is time set aside, or a baby who is interested in anything other than chewing his toes for more than 10 seconds at a time.
But here's what DOES happen at our house. Constant, constant conversation. One-on-one interaction. Singing along to toddler tunes played from the computer, or in the car. Weekly visits to the library. Afternoons outside in good weather.
With each of these experiences, he's exposed to language. And this is in addition to the times he's sitting nearby, or even on my lap, while I read to his sister. And for now? I think that that is more than adequate. The books will most definitely come. In this household, it's a given. But in the meantime, if he's not sitting on my lap looking at a book for 20 minutes throughout the day (even if it's not 20 consecutive minutes) he's still listening and learning and growing.
My advice is to take this particular directive with a grain of salt. Broaden your definition of literacy. I bet you'll find you're doing more than you know.