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Mom's Time Out

Reading to your kids

Abigail Shiyer

(11/09) All you parents out there know how important it is to read to your children. But, did you know that the U.S. Department of Education recommends beginning to read to your baby daily as early as 6 months? They contend that hearing words over and over helps the baby become familiar with them and that reading to your baby is one of the best ways to help them learn.

I have always read to both of my kids from a very early age. Not because it was recommended or because it is instrumental in their development - but, because I had such a horrible time getting my first child to go to sleep at night, that we were forced into a lengthy bedtime routine and reading just happened to be one thing that she would sit through and fall asleep to… Anyway - I guess we got lucky with that one.

Another thing that we are lucky for around here is our local libraries and the wonderful children's programs that they offer. We have had the pleasure of attending the programs at both the Thurmont Library with Miss Lisa and the Emmitsburg Library with Miss Cheryl. Both the Thurmont and Emmitsburg branch libraries offer wonderful programs for children of all ages. Babies with Books, Time for Two's, Tales for Toddlers, Pre-School Story Time, Family Story Time and the list goes on. It really is amazing that these programs are free, the library staff is so professional and the children absolutely love it. We go as many times a week as we can to both libraries because they are both so close and the programs are exceptional. You should all take comfort in the fact that those tax dollars are being well spent!

My daughter had a birthday not too long ago and she has one special aunt who knows how much she loves books and always gives her a great book along with her birthday present. Not just a cute little story book - I'm talking a nice hard back book that has a matching jacket and has a special note that is hand written to her on the inside. It is something that she will be able to keep forever and in the future when she looks at the books, she can read the hand written message and know that she was so special to her "Aunt Susie". But - this last book that she received was a little rough on Mommy.

The title of the book is 'Let Me Hold You Longer' and is written by Karen Kingsbury. - and oh my goodness… Moms and Dads - if you haven't read it yet - you need to.

It is a book that reminds us how short our time with our little ones really is. It is about the lasts instead of the firsts. And - if we are not careful - we might miss the lasts. I tend to think and analyze things a little too much anyway, but this book has really made me stop and think even more about how important my children are and how important this time with them is.

As parents we tend to celebrate the firsts - first teeth, first words, first smiles, first steps, first day of school, etc.. But, what about the lasts? You don't know when it is going to be or worse yet - when it was. When was the last time that you fed your baby from a bottle? When was the last time that you rocked your child in a rocking chair? When was the last time your child asked you for help with tying their shoes or doing their homework? When was the last time your child reached up to hold your hand? When was the last time you made your child a sandwich or pushed them on the swing? Have these lasts come yet? Or are they still to come?

Lucky for me, my children are still very young and there are lots of lasts ahead of us. I am certainly going to keep the message of this book in the back of my mind the next time my daughter asks me to color with her and I don't feel like it. Or the next time my son runs to me and wants me to hold him. I am going to hold on just a little longer next time - because it just might be the last. One day he will be too big to pick up and hold in my arms and I will long for these days again.

I hope you will all take a "time-out" and think about how precious these lasts are. You will be glad you did. And read to your children - it is a great activity for the whole family. Especially when a great book like this one comes along and really makes you think.

Read other articles by Abigail Shiyer