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Part Two: Helpful Tips to Make Time to Read as a Parent

1. Figure out how to maximize the relaxation feeling of reading by homing in on your preferred mode.

  • Is that on your phone, an e-reader, listening to an audiobook, or making a ritual of buying a hardcopy from a bookstore?

2. Work towards a ‘deadline’. I loved hearing that my monthly virtual literary salons were a good motivator to read. Since the schedule is up six or so months at a time, there is room to plan—and take your time—reading (also there is never any pressure to finish the book!).

  • “Le Salons Reads was (and still is) a good motivator, too. I wanted to get back into reading, but sometimes I need that extra push to start a new book. It keeps me accountable because I knew if I signed up for a discussion, I had to get reading!”

  • “Joining Le Salon is what got me started! The mix of accountability + support whether I finished the book or not helped me find a groove. Enough pressure to start, not so much to make me avoid it and back out.”

3. After tucking your kid into bed, use a clip-on book lamp to reduce light stimulation at bed time.

  • This allows you to read a hardcopy book while your little one falls asleep.

4. Build it into your workday—lunch hour or a 15-minute coffee break.

  • “My solace to fill my reading bucket was actually over lunchtime at the office. I had a book at work, and I’d take my lunch outside or to a bench or to a food court and I’d eat and read. It calmed my introverted nervous system and filled my fiction bucket."

5. Pick up things you want to read: romance, fiction, graphic novel, magazine, etc. Or reach for something you read before and enjoyed.

  • “My advice would be to lean into mood reading and/or start small. Non-fiction, or a previously favourite read can be a great kick-off to finding the right pace to bring reading back as a pastime. It's low-pressure to read non-fiction, or if there's something you've read before it can be easier to fill in the blanks for when you get interrupted, fall asleep, or forget what you read the day before.”

5. Audio books played in the car while running errands or using headphones to multitask.

  • “I get distracted easily from hard copies and I try to put my foot down to listen to a book instead. Listening helps me get tasks done, and with more focus than without listening to anything. Reading/listening sometimes feels like a tool, but it's a big win-win in that case. Re-grout the shower? Perfect for A Long Petal of the Sea. Five loads of laundry? Continue a Bridgerton book. Long day of driving and don't think your 4-year-old is listening? The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (She, in fact, was listening and would like answers as to Huntingdon's death, oops).”

6. Give yourself permission to read during independent play time.

  • “At this point, I refuse to feel guilt. You want to relax and watch YouTube videos? Cool, I will relax next to you, snuggle you, and read my New Yorker magazine while casually watching with you. And I will outright say, I am going to read and watch so he knows ahead of time. Reading has always been really integral to my identity, and it brings me joy. It took me three years of parenting before I really felt like I could take and make the space for myself."

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