Finding Time To Read When You've Got Young Kids

Friday, 15 November 2019

Having small kids is a challenge in itself; they're snotty and loud and demanding and whilst you love them with every fibre in your body and want to scream from the rooftops just HOW much they make your heart burst, there's no denying that they take up a fair chunk of what free time you once had before their tiny little fingertips came along.

Reading has always been a huge passion of mine, and before having my daughter, I would read on average of maybe 2 books a week whilst holding down a full time job, and even then, I would think I wAsN't ReAdInG eNoUgH.

Let's all take a moment to laugh at past Caroline because HELLO I'm lucky if I average 3 books a month now. I'd love to read more, of course I would, but I simply just don't have as much time as I used to, which is perfectly okay, because time spent with my daughter is precious and I obviously wouldn't change it for the world. Instead, I've simply learned to use my time more effectively to still fit in this life-long reading hobby of mine, and I've complied a little list on how fellow parents can keep on top of their TBR piles too!

1. Go electronic

Carrying around a physical book everywhere you go isn't ideal, especially when you're carrying around a bag full of nappies, wipes, juice, toys and goodness knows how many snacks (seriously, little people can EAT goddamit). I've had a Kindle for years, but only over the past 18 months have I really put it to good use. It's lighter, slimmer and doesn't take up much additional space in my bag full of half eaten packets of crisps! And hey, if you don't have a Kindle, you can always download the Kindle app on your phone - it's 2019, people!

2. Play time for your child = reading time for you

I've really cut down on the amount of TV time I allow my daughter to watch. She now has 30 minutes of TV time before having her evening bath, and I use this time to squeeze in a chapter or two! Whilst her eyes are glued to some questionable multi-coloured cartoon, my brain is getting lost in pages of imaginary monsters and worlds far away from ours!

3. Make use of short, unproductive time

This is something I've really gotten into the swing of lately. I now use my 20 minute each way commute to work every day to pick up my Kindle (I get the train, don't drive and read, peeps!) I also use whatever time I have remaining on my lunch hour, and you'd be surprised at how much reading you can get done whilst waiting for a doctors appointment! Making use of time that would otherwise be used browsing aimlessly on Instagram that you've already checked 17 times this morning could be put to much better use in terms of powering through your TBR list!

4. Strike a deal with the dad

My partner loves his xBox and I love reading, but we have a kid to look after - this doesn't necessarily mean we can't have hobbies too. Every now and again, I'll say to him "I'll take Rosie out to the park for an hour so you can go on your xBox and you do the same tomorrow?" - trust me, no man is ever going to turn down precious xBox time. Having that hour every now and again completely to yourself is not only great for your mental health, but also handy to get in some much needed reading time!

5. Read before bed for 30 minutes

I find it difficult to switch off on a night if I don't spend 30 minutes or so reading a book. Setting aside just 30 minutes every night doesn't sound like much, but that's 3.5 extra hours every week and that amounts to a LOT over the year - think of how many extra books you would get through every year just by simply setting aside 30 minutes to yourself on an evening!

6. Pick books with shorter chapters
There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING more annoying than unnecessarily long chapters when you're strapped for time. I'm one of THOSE people who can't put a book down until I've finished the chapter, so having a 30+ page long chapter is a huge no-no from me. I even find that I read more in one sitting if the chapters are shorter, because JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER syndrome is a real thing!

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